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How I Got Started

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My first exposure to the world of cacti and succulents came when my family got an Opuntia robustus from some place, but I didn't really caught the bug until I was about 15 years old, when my parents bought me a Mammillaria spinosissima plant at a market. Unfortunately, the trader wasn't familiar with caring for cacti, so I transplanted it into nice black soil and kept it outdoors. Not surprisingly, it succumbed after a couple of months .

Trouble is, in Malaysia, many people who sell these plants are more of a trader than a genuine nursery person. If your plants die, they'd be more than happy to sell you another one - more business, you see . These guys are not interested in customer service, they've absolutely no notion of that.

In a city like KL, there isn't much of a community spirit (everyone's too busy making money) so there are no enthusiast groups to be found. Too bad...

We also had a large Euphorbia triangularis, but Opuntias and Euphorbias are not really my cup of tea. The picture at left is a descendant of the original Euphorbia. It's real easy to grow, but the flowers are somewhat disappointing.

I wouldn't have continued to grow them if it were not for an Echinopsis offset that my father got for me. They are pretty much indestructible, perfect for the beginner that I was back then. However, the one thing that really sparked my interest was a packet of mixed cactus seeds that I bought about the same time. I got to really like watching cactus seeds germinate and grow, although I wasn't very successful then.

The final stage in my development as a serious cactus and succulent enthusiast is the phase where I started to borrow books on the subject from the library and buying the books which I could afford back then. My first book was The Cactus Handbook by Erik Haustein. I started to grow more seeds and also started buy mature plants. After that it was a matter of building a collection of plants and books and fine-tuning my techniques, but it did not happen without bouts of disease and neglect along the way.

Along the way, I got to meet or correspond with a lot of people who share the same interest. With them, I managed to considerably increase the size of my collection by sharing plants and cuttings. I wouldn't have such a varied collection if not for everyone's generosity.

About | Cacti | Succulents | Flowers | Growing | Seeds | Graft | Hydroponics | Problems | Books | Links
  Last modified: 2002-08-26  Copyright © 1997-2002.  Kein-Hong Man.  all rights reserved