These plants—of which cacti form probably the best- known group are able to store water very efficiently, so they are well adapted to dry conditions. They usually have fleshy leaves or stems, or both: cacti are those plants that have fleshy stems and small leaves or no leaves.
Succulents are generally easy to grow and tolerant of neglect, but they can easily be killed by overwatering. Unlike most houseplants, the majority are happy on the brightest of sunny windowsills.
They will withstand very hot conditions, while some can survive in temperatures as low as 45°F/7°C. They prefer cool conditions at night and thrive in widely varying night and daytime temperatures.
There are two types of cacti, desert, and jungle, but all are distinguished from other succulents by areoles, bumps, or indentations on the stems that bear spines, bristles, or hairs, and from which trumpet or bell-shaped flowers arise.
Desert cacti have tiny leaves or no leaves. Their thick green stems conserve water and do the job of photosynthesis. Jungle cacti are mostly epiphytes; they grow in niches in trees and rocks that are often dry; hence their need for stems that can store water.
The plants known as succulents are not so easy to define. They do not all belong to a single family. Many families have some more or less succulent members, which store water in their leaves or have no leaves and store water in their stems.
Others, such as several of the aloes, have little capacity to store water at all. The plants and their flowers differ widely in habit, shape, and size.
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Crassula/a muscosa is a succulent with woody branches, hidden by a sheath of flat, pointed, grav- green leaves. It bears clusters of yellow-green flowers in summer.
Rhipsalis Cereuscula originates in South America. It is a curious epiphytic cactus with two types of stem: long and cylindrical, and short, with branching clusters at the end. These clusters also branch and spread from the apex.
Schlumbergera truncata, crab cactus, is a forest cactus, so it likes shade and high humidity. The segmented stems have 2 forward-pointing “claws,” and pink and white flowers are borne on the tips in winter.
Echinocactusgrusonii, golden barrel cactus, is a desert plant. The strongly ribbed stem is covered with spines up to 2in/5cm long. In summer it bears yellow flowers.
Gymnocalycium mihanovichii ‘Red Cap’ is a cultivar. The colored stem, which can be red, pink, or yellow, lacks chlorophyll and cannot survive on its own, so it is grafted onto a green cactus stock.
FACT FILE SUCCULENTS PLANTS
ORIGIN Cacti: the Americas. Succulents: mainly arid regions worldwide.
HEIGHT Varies according to species; Opuntia microdasys will grow to about 18in/46cm indoors.
POTTING MIX Cacti and succulents:
soil-based with sharp sand or perlite added for good drainage, or special cactus medium.
REPOTTING In spring, when the soil is filled with roots, move the plant to a pot one size larger.
SUCCULENTS PLANTS PROPAGATION Some cacti and succulents produce offsets around the base of the plant. In others, single segments can be removed for use as cuttings.
Let the base of the cutting dry out for a day or two before inserting it into a sandy potting mix. Almost all can be raised from seed fairly easily.
KEEPING PLANTS Most cacti and succulents appreciate a spell outdoors in a sheltered but sunny location during summer.
SUCCULENTS PLANTS PLANT CARE INFORMATION
- Bright light to full sun (except jungle cacti in summer).
- Normal room temperature, with a minimum of 50°F/10°C for succulents and jungle cacti; desert cacti need a cool winter rest.
- O Water all types fairly freely in the growing season, allowing the top V2in/13mm of soil to dry out between waterings.
- In winter give just enough water to prevent plants from shriveling.
- Feed established plants with a balanced liquid fertilizer (20-20-20) every 2-3 weeks in the growing season.
SUCCULENTS PLANTS PESTS & DISEASES
Succulents and cacti do not suffer from many pests. Mealybugs and root mealybugs are the most troublesome, although red spider mites may be a nuisance if the air becomes too dry.
Many species are, however, susceptible to infection by fungi and bacteria— often as a result of overwatering— which causes the stems to rot.
TAKE CARE OF YOUR SUCCULENTS PLANTS RECOMMEND TIPS
- Cacti spines and bristles irritate when lodged in the skin. Keep plants out of the reach of children.
- Black marks at the base of the stem, followed by rotting and the top growth toppling over, are caused by overwatering.
- Slugs and some caterpillars, which seem impervious to the bristles, eat the stems, causing large holes.
- Brown, shriveled patches on the pads often follow physical damage. Affected parts can be cut out and the exposed tissue treated with fungicidal powder to prevent the problem from spreading.
- Mealybugs can be seen as patches of white, waxy wool on the surface of the pads. Remove them carefully with a cotton swab.
- Root mealybugs, a common pest of cacti, are difficult to control. Remove the plant from its pot and check for white, wooly bugs in the roots; if found, drench the roots with an appropriate insecticide.
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Sarcocornia - halophytes
Suaeda - halophytes
Apiaceae Syn. Umbelliferae
Orbea / Stapelia
Chamaerops - monotypic genus
Jubaea - monotypic genus
Nypa - monotypic genus
Begoniaceae - Begonias
Brassicaceae - Cabbages & Mustards
Bromeliaceae - Bromeliads
Burseraceae - Torchwood Trees
Crassulaceae - Stonecrops, Plakkies
Hylotelephium, Phedimus, Rhodiola
Dioscoreaceae - Wild Yams
Doryanthaceae - Spear Lily Family
Doryanthes - Spear Lillies
Dracaenaceae - Dragon's Blood Trees
Cordyline - Cabbage Palms
Dracaena - Dragon's Blood Trees
Sansevieria - Mother in Laws' Tongues
Euphorbiaceae - Spurges
Fabaceae (Leguminaceae) - Bean Family
Fouquieriaceae - Ocotillos
Geraniaceae - Geranium Family
Gesneriaceae - Gesneriad Family
Hyacinthaceae - Bluebell Family
Moraceae - Figs & Mulberries
Nolinaceae - Beargrasses
Oxalidaceae - Oxalis Family
Passifloraceae - Passion Flowers
Pedaliaceae - Sesame Family
Piperaceae - Peppers
Portulacaceae - Purslanes
Rubiaceae - Madderworts, Coffee Family, Ant Plants
Saxifragaceae - Saxifrages
Urticaceae - Nettles
Vitaceae - Grape Vines