Succulents and cacti are the easiest plants to care for. Abundant in the desert and hot climates, they can grow in bad soil conditions with plenty of sunlight. Even the most ill-equipped plant caretaker can keep up with the low-level demands of succulents and cacti. While they may be very simple to tend to, there are a few things you should know when caring for your succulents and cacti.
Succulent vs Cactus
All cacti are succulents but not all succulents are cacti. Cacti are a sub-group within the group of plants known as succulents. If a succulent has areoles than they are a cactus. An areole is a small and round fleshy part where spines, hair, leaves, flowers or other growths stem from the cactus. Both succulents and cacti are resilient plants that store their water supplies themselves. Break open a succulent leaf or a cacti plant to find a juicy layer inside. Although they differ in some ways, caring for them is very similar.
Succulents and cacti do not need much water. However, succulents do need more water than cacti. Water sparingly. Weekly watering during their prominent growing season is best. This is usually during the spring and early summer months. Find out when your specific succulent or cacti plants growing season is. Scale back to monthly watering after these months are over.
Dry and sandy soil is best for succulents and cacti. There is potting soil specifically for these type of plants. They can survive and thrive in some of the poorest soil conditions. You can mix the soil with gravel and rocks. Keep the rocks and gravel on the top layer of the soil to prevent it from drying out too quickly.
Opt for pots or grow bags with drainage holes. This allows for excess water to drain out from the bottom. Being that succulents and cacti are highly susceptible to root rot and mold, drainage holes are necessary especially if they are kept indoors. Be sure there is a hard surface such as a dish, bricks or stone slab underneath the pot or bag to ensure excess run-off.
Succulents need air circulation to thrive. No need to worry if they are outdoors. However, indoor succulents require air flow from a ceiling fan or a nearby open window.
Succulents and cacti love sunlight. Succulents may have some trouble in direct sunlight. Move them near a window or provide shading when outside. However, some types of cacti thrive in direct sunlight. It is difficult to dry or burn a cacti and succulent from sunlight.
Do not use fertilizer meant for regular houseplants. There are specific fertilizers made for maintaining the health of your succulents and cacti.
Besides being easy to maintain, they are easy to grow and make extremely attractive house and garden plants. They come in a variety of colors, shapes and sizes. Furry, spikey, thick, skinny, tall, short, round and amorphic, these beautiful plants are versatile and aesthetically pleasing!