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Succulents and cacti are among the fanciest plants you’ll see. They come in unique forms, interesting shapes, and various colors. They have thorns, modified leaves and stems, and beautiful flowers.
Most cacti and succulents require minimal effort in terms of care and maintenance. Thus, they’re perfect for tending indoors, especially for busy bees who don’t have much time to water their plants daily!
So, here are some interesting facts to know about cacti and succulents.
What are succulent plants?
Succulent is a broad term that refers to a category of plants with fleshy stems, leaves, or roots that serve as their water storage organs. These types of plants can withstand arid climates because they have a way of conserving water.
They’re known to be drought-tolerant and would survive long periods without water.
Some of the major genera of succulents and their sample species and varieties are listed below:
Euphorbia: Crown of thorns, African milk tree, Poinsettia, Cypress Spurge
Echeveria: Painted Echeveria, Black Hens and Chicks, Topsy Turvy, Dusty Rose, Mexican Snowball
Crassula: Jade plant, Crassula ‘Buddha’s Temple’, Crassula dubia
Kalanchoe: Christmas cactus, Flower Dust Plant, Chandelier Plant, Calandiva
Hoya: Porcelain Flower, Sweetheart Hoya, Cinnamon Hoya, Wax vine
Haworthia: Bristle Haworthia, Zebra Plant, File Leafed Haworthia, Horse’s Teeth
Adenium: Desert rose, Socotra rose
Aloe: Aloe vera, Stone aloe, Coral aloe, Lace aloe
Agave: Banana yucca, Soapweed yucca
Lithops: Living stones such as Lithops bromfieldii, Lithops aucampiae, and Lithops marmorata
The difference between cactus and succulent plants
Cacti plants technically belong to the succulent plant category. The Cactaceae (Cactus) family has about 2,000 species of plants. They contribute a considerable number of species to the succulent group.
Like most succulents, cacti are also characterized by having thick and fleshy stems or leaves. What sets cacti apart is that they have unique areoles. These structures are nodes in the cacti’s body where spines, branches, and flowers arise.
Other succulent species also produce spines, but they don’t grow out of these areoles.
Additionally, the spines of cacti are very prominent. These spines come in unique shapes and patterns. Its functions include protecting the plant from grazing animals, trapping moisture, reducing water loss, and providing shade to the plant.
Advantages of growing succulents and cacti at home
Growing cacti and succulents at home is an enjoyable hobby. Some indoor gardeners even have a collection of various species and varieties of these plants. We cannot blame them because numerous reasons are making them ideal houseplants.
They are good houseplants. There’s no doubt that succulent and cacti plants are fancy and unique. Their appearance brings a whole new vibe to any indoor space.
They are tolerant of harsh conditions. They don’t mind being left for a long time without water and will tolerate dry conditions well. They don’t mind the higher temperatures and extra heat. And dry air wouldn’t affect them negatively.
They are low-maintenance. They are the easiest plants to tend to because they generally require minimal effort when it comes to care and maintenance. They’re not very fussy. As long as you don’t overwater them, they’re fine.
They are slow-growers. If you have limited space, go with cacti and succulents. Most of them are small in size and are slow-growers. They won’t crowd your place for sure. They’re also perfect container plants.
They clean the air. Adding several cacti and succulents to grow indoors will help clean the air. Remember, plants turn carbon dioxide into glucose (sugar) through photosynthesis. In return, they give off oxygen that you can enjoy in the form of fresh air, one of the health benefits of growing plants.
They are great gifts. Because of their small size and fancy appearance, succulents and cacti are popular plants for gifting and souvenirs.
Succulents and Cactus Care
Although plants like succulents and cacti require very little attention, it’s essential to give them proper care. There are a few things to remember so they’ll remain happy and healthy.
Unlike most plants, a cactus or a succulent prefers to grow in a poor potting mix. They don’t need a lot of organic matter. What’s important is that you give it well-draining soil as a substrate. This allows them to drain excess water well, preventing the occurrence of root rot.
A simple mixture including one part potting soil and one part coarse sand is usually enough. You can add perlite or vermiculite to make it more porous and airy. Sterilize the mix before using them on planting to kill some disease-causing bacteria.
Bright light is a good friend of most cacti. They can tolerate full sun if you choose to grow them indoors, better to place them near a window sill where they can receive adequate sunlight.
On the other hand, some succulents couldn’t stand intense light. A good example is the snake plant which can thrive in low-light conditions. Snake plants can tolerate direct sunlight for about 5 to 6 hours daily but not for an entire day.
The most important thing to remember when watering your succulents or cacti is always to drain excess water. Good drainage is key to preventing root rot from happening. Another technique is to wait for the soil to completely dry before watering again.
During Spring and summer, once-a-week watering is ideal. But during winter months, when cool conditions are more prevalent, less frequent watering is more applicable.
Underwatering can also be a problem if you tend to neglect your plants for a very long time. Make sure to check their condition from time to time.
Temperature and Humidity
A warm temperature is best for growing various species of cacti and succulents. They prefer low humidity and will do well even in dry places. They can survive the extreme conditions in the desert because that is their natural growing condition. No need to do occasional misting.
Cacti and succulents would still need all essential nutrients to live. But relative to other plants, they require less amount of fertilizer. You would need to fertilize your cacti about twice a year during their growing season.
For succulents, three or four times application of fertilizer will do.
When to repot
Because they’re slow growers and have a shallow root system, they prefer to be pot-bound. This means that you won’t need to repot them frequently, especially those species that are small in size.
Once they’ve grown sufficiently bigger than their pot, you may repot them in a slightly bigger container.
Vegetative propagation is the most efficient method of growing most cacti and succulents. Some succulents like snake plants, jade plants, kalanchoe, and begonia can be propagated using leaf cuttings from the mother plant. The same method also works for bunny ear cacti.
Using stem cuttings is another method to propagate species like Christmas cactus, hoya, aloe vera, and euphorbia. Other cacti and succulents like old lady cactus and star cactus can produce a new plant in the form of offset. You can cut them off and plant them separately.
Succulents like cacti are one of the best indoor plants to invest in. Apart from offering unique beauty, they also make life easier for gardeners with their low maintenance requirements.
Frequently Asked Questions
Based on Feng Shui, one way to place your cactus is by following the commanding position. This position should be diagonal from the entrance, not directly in line with it.
Cacti plants add beauty to your house, attract good luck when placed in the right position, and freshen the air together with other plants
Yes. Cactus belongs to the succulent plant category. They’re characterized by having fleshy leaves or stems that store water, hence they can withstand drought.
Plantly offers a wide variety of options for cacti and succulent plants. We also have the best deals, so check them out now.
Whether you want to buy, sell or simply reach out to other plant enthusiasts, Plantly is the right place to be!