Gardening can be a forte of many pleasures. What is beauty to one is another’s nightmare. This is where personal preference and creativity come into play. It takes a special gift to become a masterful green thumb especially when dealing with specific plants. Cacti and succulents are one of the neediest in the skillful nature of gardening.
Now, there are some people that just have a natural knack for growing and maintaining a cacti and succulent garden, but for the rest of you, this article may prove to be a bit useful.
What are Cacti and Succulents?
The cacti family is a part of another group (or family/ species) of plants called succulents. So, what are they and how are they different from other plants? Well, the cactus or succulent plants are able to do many things that other plants can not. For instance, they have the ability to store water in their leaves so they can survive without water in extreme conditions such as heat which is why so many are found in the desert.
But, the desert is not the only places the cacti and succulent grow. Jungles and rainforests also have some succulents because of the extreme heat and humidity where other plants would die. These are perhaps the toughest family of plants known to man.
So, you might ask yourself how they can be killed off easily by a person with no experience. Well, the answer is quite simple. Over-watering has to be one of the most common ways to kill the cacti and succulent plants. But, there are other ways to be sure. If you assume that they need little or no care and maintenance then you would be wrong. These little plants will go into a dormant state which is also very unhealthy and can lead to them withering away.
Beginning a Cacti and Succulent Garden
A healthy cactus should have no brown leaves. Don’t let the seller fool you into thinking that it is ‘natural’. Usually a brown and dying branch and leaves means that it has a type of disease. Another clear cut sign is when the stem/trunk is limp or leans. This signifies a damaged and dying plant. If the spikes or spines on these plants are easily movable lop-sided or limp this will speak volumes, they are obviously not receiving good care. It is important to buy healthy plants or they will give the gardener a very bad experience. When gardening this is usually something that will irritate the gardener into thinking that all of the ‘specific’ plants that they are growing are bad news. There is no room for discouragement in gardening.
The cacti and succulents should be full and firm. The leaves will be many and hard or full of water. There should be no soft areas or an obvious lack of portions. Many cacti and succulents will have flowers and blossoms that shouldn’t be wilted or withered. Making sure that you buy plants like these will ensure the success of your garden.
Tips You Should Know About Your Cacti and Succulents
There is one thing to always remember when dealing with the cacti and succulent plants, make sure that you know what is required for each and everyone you buy. From lighting to water be certain you can provide it with enough essential properties for it to survive.
Always remove dead flowers, leaves, shoots, etc. By leaving them attached to you cactus or succulent you run the risk of allowing many diseases that come with this type of decomposition to enter the main trunk of your plant which poisons it.
Prune your cacti and succulents. Anything that looks weak cut it off. Deadheading is another way to maintain the healthy nature of your plants. This is when you remove the dead flowers after the blossom begins to wither away.
To dust your plants you need to take a hairdryer and on a light, warm speed blow the plant. Dust can settle between the spines and make it very difficult to keep dust free. By using this technique you will be simulating a natural wind that is found outdoors. It will keep your plants healthy and happy.