Cacti and Succulents

March 21, 2012

succulentI think cacti and succulents are a great group of plants, with their unusual curious growth forms and textures, they can create a stunning display indoors, in a conservatory or greenhouse.

Planted up in colourful pots and dressed with small coloured stone chippings, they can look really fun and exotic. If planted up in a decorative glass bowl or container with decorative stones and small rocks they can look quite stylish indeed.

Children always find cacti and succulents fascinating and it’s a great way to introduce children to the world of plants.

Buy children a small group of small plants and let them create their own little mini desert scene in a container. If they want, they could even put some small dinosaur figures in among the plants for fun.

Do remember to handle spiny cacti with care, as the small fine spins are tricky to remove from skin. Handle them with thick gardening gloves or wrap an old cloth or newspaper around them when potting up.

The sharp spiny needles on a cactus are in fact modified leaves; nature has evolved these to stop the “leaves” from evaporating moisture from a larger surface area.

Cacti and succulents store water in their thick stems as they naturally grow in hot the climates of deserts or tropical jungles and the flowers that some cacti produce can be really stunningly, beautiful and bold.

Good light is essential for most cacti and succulents, so if grown indoors, do remember to place them on a sunny windowsill. You’ll also need to remember to turn your plants so that they get even light all around them.

Also, if you’re growing these plants in a conservatory or greenhouse then just be aware that these plants could get scorched in full sun, so ensure that you provide good ventilation to prevent this.

Succulents have thick fleshy parts to store water in order to survive during periods of drought, so both cacti and succulents need little watering and attention, which makes them relatively easy to grow and so require little attention.

Do make sure however that the compost you plant them in is free draining with plenty of grit, as these plants don’t like to be waterlogged in any way.

With established plants feed them every other month from April to October, as they will have used up the nutrients in their compost.

So, whether you’re designing your own mini Jurassic park, or simply looking for plants to fill an empty windowsill, give cacti and succulents a try and you’re bound to get hooked on these prehistoric plants.



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