National Arboretum, Canberra - Succulent Garden


The Society also works with the National Arboretum to promote the use of cacti and succulents in Canberra.  


In 2016, the National Arboretum, Canberra (NAC) and the Society agreed to develop a cactus and succulent bed in NAC's Discovery Garden, near the Visitor’s Centre. Members of the Society donated some wonderful examples of plants that do well in this area, and maintain and improve the bed still.  Growing succulents and cacti in an area where temperatures drop well below zero in winter, but can get higher than 40 degrees over summer, can be challenging.  But success starts with choosing plants that can manage the conditions.  


(plant lists to come) 


Each month, members tend to the Discovery Garden for a couple of hours, proving it is a low-maintenance garden. 

National Arboretum, Canberra - Discovery Garden


We usually meet at 10.30 am on the third Sunday of each month.

Our winter meetings are indoors, at 70 Maclaurin Crescent, Chifley, ACT.

In other months, we meet outdoors - members only events.

Visitors and non-members are always welcome at indoor meetings. If you wish, email us beforehand for details.

Meetings include talks and demonstrations. Members share their knowledge, ideas and experience of growing cacti and succulents in the Canberra climate. Refreshments are provided and members may borrow books and journals from the library. Books, plants and pots are often available for sale at meetings.  We have lucky door prizes, and show-and-tell.  Bring your flowering succulent, we'd love to see it.  

 CSSACT meeting room at 70 MacLaurin Crescent, Chifley

Miniature Succulent Garden Competition

The Society has held this competition several times. It has been a chance to show off our favourite potted succulent or cactus - or even pot.  Many members showed decorated pots, some with miniature garden tools.  One even had a miniature cactus magazine.


  1. This is a friendly, informal, open competition for fun.
  2. Judging will be based mostly on aesthetics and creativity (ie what looks good to the judges on the day; and of course our judge's decisions are final).
  3. Plants in the garden need to have succulent qualities although non-succulent plants can be included for effect.
  4. Containers (pots, bowls) for the garden need to be easily transportable to the meeting room. (ie not too heavy nor too large). 
  5. Containers (pots, bowls) for the garden can be of any material (plastic, terracotta, metal etc).
  6. Plants need to be established in their containers, be free of pests and diseases, and not be watered for 48 hours prior to judging. (This makes them easier to move and less likely to wet the floor.)
  7. Members can enter as many gardens as they wish.
  8. A short description needs to be written by the grower about their garden talking about their inspiration, types of plants used, anything special about the garden etc. 
  9. Remember rule one.

Photo Competition

The society held a photo competition for it members in 2013, 2015 & 2018.

Entries covered a range of pictures of single and group cacti and succulent plants in habitat or cultivation, as well as creative photos and of people with cacti and other succulents. All these entries help build up our local photo library, and are a valuable resource for us. A special thanks to Frank for organising this event, and to others who helped him.


Other Activities

Activities members enjoy include visits to collections of local members, interstate societies and public cactus and succulent gardens and nurseries. Over the years we have participated in community days at Civic and Floriade and other venues around Canberra, offering cactus and succulent plants for sale and giving cultural advice.

In 2011, the ACT society hosted a Get-Together conference, which was attended by members of Cactus and Succulent Societies over Australia. The Get-Together included presentations, plant sales and tours of Canberra gardens. Proceedings of the event were compiled and provide a record for participants and others interested in it.

Members of the society continually look for plants which grow well in this region. Here are links to short lists of Cacti and Succulents which are recommended for Canberra, but there are many others. We plan to supplement these lists with samples of photos of plants grown by members.



Soil Mixing Day

Once a year, we order a cubic metre of sand and another of good quality potting mix, and, using two cement mixers, we create wonderful growing media.  Our expert mixers 'tune' the mix to match the type of plants we grow.  Succulents can use one mix, and cacti the other.  All this for very little money and with a lot of joy.