Have You Hugged Your Cacti Today?

Have You Hugged Your Cacti Today?

Enjoy easy-care cacti and succulents in your home.
Cacti and succulents are excellent plants in the home because they require little attention.

They naturally store and conserve water and do not need quite as much care as plants in the home. As houseplants, they offer a variety of unusual, often awe-inspiring shapes, some of nature’s most colorful flowers and lasting durability and reliability.

“They are some of the most rewarding houseplants, as long as you have adequate light,” says Costa Farms Cacti and Succulent grower Alfredo Bergolla. “Few flowers can compare in color, size or beauty.”

Prickly & Misunderstood
Cacti and succulents add beauty, form and ease of care to your home; they are versatile and when, like all plants, get what they need to they will pay you back for many years.

Both cacti and succulents come in a wide and diverse range of shapes and sizes and there are many to choose from. Additionally, all cacti are succulents; however, not all succulents are cacti. The word succulent simply means juicy and fleshy and all succulents have the ability to store water in their flesh.

“That statement alone will make people wonder if maybe you’ve been reading too many gardening magazines,” says Bergolla. “But there is a difference. While both cacti and succulents have the ability to store moisture for use when times are tough, that is where the similarity ends.

“A true cactus has something called an areole. It looks like a patch of cotton from which spines, flowers, and roots grow. While some succulents may have spines, they will not have areoles.”

Most cacti and succulents need as much light as possible, and a south or south-east facing windowsill, conservatory, or greenhouse is ideal. Lots of sunshine is essential to prevent plants from becoming drawn and to promote flowering. Although cacti and succulents often grow naturally in intense sunlight, they can become adapted to the lower light intensities. Therefore, beware of scorching during the first sunny days of spring after a long winter.

While growing, cacti and succulents cannot go for prolonged periods without water. During the summer, when it is very hot outside, cacti and succulents require weekly watering, giving the soil a good soaking. Cacti and succulents are dormant during the winter months and watering levels should be reduced accordingly. Never leave cacti and succulents standing in water for prolonged periods, as this is the most certain way to kill your plants.

“Cacti and succulents can be the almost perfect houseplants -- asking little, but offering much in way of interest,” says Bergolla.