This most interesting genus contains many hardy species, and collections should be seen in our gardens more commonly than they are. Most of them are of easy culture, provided they are not excessively watered or planted in a too adhesive soil. They all prefer a warm dry sunny situation and a light sandy soil well drained; the soil should also contain a small percentage of lime; mixing a quantity of lime-rubbish with the soil not only gives the soil the necessary amount of lime but also serves as a drainage medium.
The Cereus type contains many of the most gorgeously-colored and largest-sized flowers of the genus.
The Echinocactus, with its prickly oval or round-shaped ribbed grotesque form makes excellent specimens for the rockery or desert garden.
The Mammillarias with their beautiful forms, their rosy, yellow or white flowers and their delicate designs are indispensable in all collections.
The Opuntia, or Indian Fig, or Prickly Pear, is the most common and also the easiest to grow of all the Cactus family. It is well known throughout the State both as an ornamental and a hedge plant for which purpose it is exceedingly useful, as no animal, however hardy, will attempt to break through it on account of the strong sharp spines which the plant sends out in all directions.
The Phyllocactus is known by its flat leaves, its long calyx tubes and large gorgeously-colored or white flowers.
Several of the genus are natives of California, among which may be mentioned Mammillaria Goodrichii, Mammillaria Gra-hamiana, Echinocactus viridescens, Echinocactus polycephalus, Cereus Emoryii, Cereus giganteus, Opuntia littoralis, Opuntia ficus indica, Opuntia prolifera, etc.
The Cactus is propagated most commonly by cuttings late in Spring. The cuttings should be removed with a sharp knife, and laid in a dry place until bleeding stops and the wounds are dried. They should then be inserted in sand until they emit roots when they may be planted in their permanent places.