In March, 1963, forty-two enthusiasts met to form the Houston Cactus and Succulent Society (HCSS). Their stated purpose for the Society was to promote interest, study, propagation, and conservation of cacti and other succulent plants. To accomplish this goal, an agenda for the monthly membership meetings was established. It included a cactus of the month and a succulent of the month presentation by the members; a guest speaker and/or slide program; and a lending-library of succulent literature. This meeting agenda is still used today. At the same time, Herman Kropp laid out the format for a monthly newsletter called "Kaktos Komments" (KK). The first KK was published in July, 1963 and contained eight pages. Today, the KK has twelve 8.5 x 11 pages and is published bimonthly.
In 1967, HCSS members took their first field trip to see the habitat of South Texas cacti and succulents. Since then, the field trips have included not only visits to private ranches but also trips to nurseries, Moody Gardens, and the Big Bend area. All field trips are scheduled on weekends to accommodate as many members as possible. Other HCSS weekend activities include visits to members greenhouses/yards and plant potting parties.
1980 was a year of change for HCSS. The fiscal year was changed to coincide with the calendar year; the Holiday Dinner in December became the Installation Dinner; the first annual Yearbook was published; and the first HCSS judged show and sale was held at the Memorial Park Arboretum. In recent years the Show and Sale has been held at either the Houston Garden Center in Hermann Park or the Houston Arboretum and Nature Center.
HCSS makes annual donations to worthy organizations or individuals to aid in the study and/or dissemination of knowledge of cacti and other succulents. Recipients of this donation have included: member Richard May for his research on Sclerocactus; the Chihuahuan Desert Research Institute; the Fort Bend County Library System for the purchase of succulent literature; and the Desert Botanical Garden in Phoenix, AZ for the endowment of research on Coryphantha minima. Recently donations were also made to the Center for Plant Conservation in St. Louis to study Epithelantha bokei and Peckerwood Gardens in Hempstead.
HCSS is an affiliate member of CSSA and TACSS. HCSS has hosted TACSS meetings, TACSS seminars, and, in 1991, the Texas State Show and Sale.