How to recognize a cactus from a succulent plant

How to recognize a succulent plant from a cactacea

Recognize a cactacea, that is to say a succulent plant belonging to the family of Cactaceae from an ordinary succulent plant belonging to another family, it is very easy. In fact, while in families other than cactaceae the thorns develop directly on the tissues of the leaves or stems, in the Cactaceae they are formed within particular formations called areoles, in practice small whitish pads scattered on the stem from which they originate: the down, the thorns, the ramifications, the leaves and the flowers. Also if you try to remove a plug from one Cactacea no injury is caused to the plant as the thorns are not connected with the underlying tissues, unlike what happens in other succulents such as Aloe or Agave where if you try to remove a thorn, the underlying tissues are affected.

Succulents: the easiest cactus and succulent plant species to grow (PHOTO)

The fat plants, cacti and succulents really are easy to grow and beautiful to look at. They are resistant to drought, last a long time, need little water and a lot of light.

The little ones cactus and mini succulent plants they are convenient to grow at home as ornamental plants with which you can create your own little succulent garden from a nice pot.

The varieties of succulents in the world are truly numerous. Many of these plants are native to Mexico and South Africa. Let's find out which are the most beautiful and resistant species, easy to grow.

Succulents: complete guide

The fat plants they are increasingly present in apartments, terraces and gardens. Their success is certainly linked to the ease of maintenance and the curious and extravagant forms that these specimens can take.

The fat plants are scientifically known under the name "succulent plants": This name derives from particular fabrics that make up these specimens, more precisely the succulents or aquifer parenchyma. The peculiarity of these fabrics, as the name suggests, lies in being able to store all the excess water in order to use it when the plant needs it most.

This is why we are used to imagining cacti in the desert or in particularly arid areas: succulent plants are able to keep themselves healthy by using the stores of water accumulated inside the succulent tissues. Even the rather unusual shape of these specimens derives from the quantity of stored water: the tissues, filling with water, tend to widen and take on a fleshy and swollen shape.

But, despite the autonomy of succulents, when you decide to grow one, you need to take better care of the plant, paying due attention to the entire growth and maintenance process.

Here is everything you need to know about succulents and their cultivation and maintenance.

Types of succulents: specimens and botanical families

There are hundreds of species of succulent plants. Let's find out together which are the main botanical families in which they are divided:

  • Cactacae

This family is one of the best known when it comes to succulents. In fact, the Cactacae are the succulents with thorns that we are used to imagine in the desert. These plants have particularly long roots because, in order to survive in the arid environments in which they live, they search for underground water. Precisely for this reason, the trunk of the Cactacea takes on particularly enlarged forms. The name cactus comes from the Greek "Kaktos", literally "thorny plant". The thorns are nothing more than leaves: they take on those appearances to protect the plant from predators and to keep the stored water safe by limiting evaporation. These plants have the ability to shrink by hiding underground to protect themselves. Photosynthesis occurs at night thanks to the thorns and the trunk of the plant. Flowering is very particular: the flowers remain on the plant for a very short time, even if only for a day. Pollination occurs thanks to nocturnal butterflies and hummingbirds. The fruits of these plants are juicy and can be of various sizes. Among the best known specimens we find the genus Cereus, an elongated perennial plant, theEchinopsis, known for its rounded shape and long spines, andOpuntia (better known as prickly pear).

  • Agavaceae

This family includes hundreds of species of succulent and non-succulent plants. Typically, all Agavaceae plants grow in the warm and tropical areas of Mexico and the Caribbean. Agavaceae are stemless plants, characterized by large and resistant rosettes of leaves that culminate with a thorny tip. The flowering of these plants is particularly slow and is characterized by the shape of a spike or panicle within the rosette of leaves. Among the best known succulents of this family there are certainly the Agave, very large bushy plants with thorny leaves and panicle inflorescences.

  • Aizoaceae

Aizoaceae are plants that are particularly widespread in the coastal and arid tropical areas of southern Africa. They are small plants, characterized by succulent leaves. Among these plants, the genus Lithops is one of the best known. In fact, Lithops perennial succulents are known to take the form of small stones: they are also known as “perennial stones”. These plants are able to blend in perfectly with the surrounding environment.

  • Asphodelaceae

This family includes succulent and non-succulent plants, particularly common in the arid areas of southern Africa. One of the best known species is theAloe, whose cultivation has now been imported to different areas of the world (such as the Mediterranean area). Aloe is a succulent plant very similar to Agave, characterized by long and pungent spiked leaves. It is grown outdoors, also due to its particularly large size. It blooms in spring and summer and the flowers grow along a stem with colors tending to red-orange. The best known feature of Aloe is certainly the presence of an aromatic juice with therapeutic properties inside the leaves.

  • Apocynaceae

Apocynaceae are plants native to tropical and subtropical regions: they include plants of different genus, both succulent and not (the well-known Oleander is part of this family). All these plants have toxic and poisonous properties: in fact, the ingestion of leaves or seeds can lead to health problems. These include shrubs, climbing plants and herbs. One of the best known Apocynaceae succulent species is the Ceropegia: this genus includes plants with tuberous roots, intertwined and light stems and characteristic leaves particularly appreciated for decorating interiors.

  • Crassulaceae

This family includes more than 3,000 species of succulents spread worldwide. Many of the most popular ornamental succulents are part of this genus. All the species of this family live in very different environments: coasts, deserts or rocky environments. All Crassulaceae have a very colorful bloom, often with a star-like shape. These plants are among the simplest to grow. Among all, one of the best known genres is the Sedum, which includes pot succulents that are particularly appreciated from an aesthetic point of view for their bright green leaves and star-shaped flowers.

  • Euphorbiaceae

That of the Euphorbiaceae is another large botanical family including some of the best known succulents. All Euphorbiaceae are poisonous. The shape of these specimens is varied: from the swollen ones similar to cacti to the arboreal and long-limbed ones. Among all the succulents of this family, the best known is the Castor because of the well-known oil extracted from its flowers. This plant is also widely used as an ornamental for the beauty of its foliage: in fact, the leaves are loin and have a shape very similar to a star.

All the useful tips to cultivate them and keep them healthy

It is generally said that in order to properly care for a succulent plant it is not necessary to "have a green thumb". What does it mean? That these plants are particularly easy to grow and, for this reason, they are perfect for any environment and for those who are new to gardening.

Here is some essential information to perfectly take care of a succulent plant:

  • What should the terrain be like?

Succulents are plants that have adapted and modified to withstand the particularly harsh climatic conditions of the arid pre-desert areas in which they grow. For this reason, in order to cultivate them correctly, it is essential to use an ultra-draining soil, inside which the water cannot stagnate. In fact, these plants grow in rocky and not very humid areas. The special land can be purchased directly or recreated. How you do it? Just add to del universal soil of the river sand - known for its draining properties - and of the fine gravel or perlite. The quantities must be the same: 1/3 for each material. In this way the soil created will be draining and will allow the roots of succulents to avoid possible rot.

  • What should the vase be like?

Succulents are often found on balconies or in apartments in pots. The choice of the vase is fundamental: in fact, the vase must be small to prevent moisture from settling in the ground. For this, the pots used for succulents often seem too small: in reality they are perfect because part of the roots of these plants has developed in the trunk. For this reason the roots are not particularly long and the small pots are ideal.

The best material is the terracotta. When you buy a plant it is often sold inside small plastic pots: it is necessary to immediately repot it inside a more suitable container.

  • How to proceed with repotting?

As we have already said, the first repotting of the succulent must be done immediately after purchase. Following the repotting for the smaller plants will be carried out once a year, while for the larger ones one once every two years. The ideal period for repotting is spring. How to do? Just gently pull the plant out of the pot and make sure the roots are not damaged. At this point it is necessary to cut the roots damaged by parasites and those that are too dry and dehydrated. The plant will be inserted inside the new pot, surrounded by the prepared draining soil. It is important to always place expanded clay on the bottom of the pot, under the soil, to promote the draining action. Below, you have to make sure that the stems and leaves do not touch the ground (to avoid possible rot) and compact the soil well around the plant. At this point it is advisable to cover the soil with gravel to reduce the evaporation of the soil and facilitate the settlement of the plant.

  • Where to put them

Succulents can be kept in the garden, on the balcony or in the house. However, there are some ideal conditions for their maintenance. In fact, succulents prefer bright and warm environments: for this reason, the best exposure is generally to the south.

Succulents need light and should be kept in environments where the temperature does not drop below 13 ° (even if they can resist even up to 5 °): in fact, too cold temperatures do not reflect their natural habitat. Additionally, these plants require good aeration, but the wind should never be too strong.

  • How and when to water them

One of the most common causes of succulent death is excessive watering. There is no precise rule to understand when to water a succulent plant: it depends from species to species. Certainly the succulents planted in the garden do not need water: in fact, they will store water independently from the soil moisture. The speech is different for succulents in pots: these specimens need water periodically. The general rule is: water them rarely, but with good quantities of water. In fact, the soil is particularly draining and will get wet with difficulty. Generally, succulents are watered during the vegetative period, then in summer: the soil is moistened and, before doing it again, it must be dried almost completely. In winter it is not necessary to give water to succulents as they already absorb the humidity from the air. It may happen that the soil around the plant is particularly hardened and dry: in these situations a good idea could be immerse the vase in a basin full of water, so that the soil, like a sponge, absorbs the right amount of hydration.

  • Winter and summer: how to adapt plant care to the season

As we have already said, succulent plants cannot be exposed to too cold temperatures. For this, in winter it is always recommended to take them inside a greenhouse or keep them indoors (especially if temperatures drop below 7 °). On the contrary, in summer succulents have no problem and can withstand temperatures above 30 °. A tip: if they are exposed to the sun for the first time, it is always better to cover them initially with a cloth to filter the light.

  • Flowering

Flowering of succulents generally occurs once a year in the spring-summer period from May to November. Not all succulents with flowers bloom once every year: in fact, some specimens, such as the aforementioned Agave, bloom much less frequently.

In addition, particularly young plants struggle to flower in the first few years. Flowering occurs only in cases in which the living conditions of the plant are not modified: for example, succulents kept in an apartment, with the same temperature in every season, will hardly bloom.

  • How to cure succulent plant diseases?

Succulents are not particularly prone to disease, but can sometimes be affected by pests. The most frequent are i red spider mites, parasites that occur when the plant is subjected to excessive light and dry air. In this case it will simply be necessary to make the soil more moist. Another rather common parasite for succulents is the cochineal, especially for succulent plants: in this case we intervene with specific insecticides. Finally, a pathology that mainly affects cacti is the black rot: deforms the plant due to too much water and nitrogen in the soil.

  • How to make succulents reproduce?

Succulents can reproduce:

  1. From seed: drainage soil consisting of universal loam, river sand and fine gravel should be used. At this point the fresh compote will be scattered in the jar. Next, add the seeds evenly to the surface of the compote, tapping gently with your hands. The seeds should be covered with sand and fine gravel, then watered in a small dose. The compote will be stored at a minimum temperature of 20 ° in a semi-shady area
  2. From cutting of foliage or stem: just cut a leaf or a piece of stem from the plant. Then insert them into the draining soil up to the base, cover with fine gravel and wait for the new growth to take place
  3. For grafting: this technique allows you to join two or more plants to form a new one. It is mainly used to make plants reproduce with difficulty or to save diseased succulents.

Outdoor succulents: 3 tips for keeping them in the garden

Here are 3 useful tips to keep outdoor succulents healthy:

  1. Integrate your soil with draining elements: as we have already said, even for succulents planted in the garden it is essential that the soil is draining at the right point. Normal soil is not enough: you will have to supplement it with draining elements such as silt, river sand and fine gravel
  2. Always place them in a sunny and warm place, protected from frost: in fact, it is better for succulents to be in very bright areas in summer. In winter it would be ideal to shelter them from frosts and harsh cold. For this reason, choosing a protected place, but at the same bright is fundamental
  3. Position raised from the ground: just like those in pots, succulent plants in the garden must also be placed in a particularly draining soil. For this it is essential to store them at least 20 cm from the ground.

Find out what the outdoor succulents which remain green all year round

Indoor succulents: 3 tips to keep them indoors

Here are 3 useful tips to keep indoor succulents healthy:

  1. Always use pots with a drainage hole in the bottom: Plants need draining soil and the drainage hole at the bottom of the pot is essential to ensure the right growing conditions. The hole will be covered with gravel or expanded clay and then with soil
  2. Store the pots in the south, near balconies or windows: succulents love to be in the sun and warm. Natural light is essential and therefore it is essential to store them near balconies or windows
  3. Remove dust and dried flowers from the vase: in fact, these elements could damage the plant and prevent its correct photosynthesis process.

Find out which ones are the best succulents for houseplants

Christmas cactus: how to take care of it to have many flowers

The Christmas cactus it is a plant species native to tropical America, precisely from Brazil, easily cultivable. At the botanical level it belongs to the family of Cactaceae and is called schlumbergera.

The peculiarity of this succulent plant in pot is to have excellent winter flowering . A quality that will brighten up your parties and make it a perfect one Christmas plant to keep at home or as a gift. If well cared for, the schlumbergera it can live up to 30 years.

The flowering of the Christmas cactus, as the name implies, takes place close to the winter holidays. Its flowers can be admired between December and January. Sometimes the schlumbergera it does not bloom and this is because it is often not given the proper care.

The colors of the winter flowers Christmas cactus they range from pink to red, from purple to purplish red. Discover all the berries that will give a Christmas touch to your garden HERE >>

Don't give it too much water. One of the most frequent mistakes, in fact, is to water it in the wrong way. The Christmas cactus it needs a humid climate and therefore to be watered regularly, but little by little and in the evening. Avoid water stagnating in the saucer, but at the same time check that the soil is always moist. In summer, also spray a little water on the leaves with a nebulizer. And when will you be on vacation? Here is a bit of tricks to not forget to water the plants even if you are away! >>

The ideal location for this plant is the inner window sill. The Christmas cactus, in fact, it needs light, but not direct sunlight. Among other things, it prefers a temperate climate, around 20 ° C, away from sudden changes in temperature or extreme temperatures. Keep it away from heaters and, if you decide to put it in the garden or on the balcony, place it in a shaded area.

The best time to repot the Christmas cactus it is between February and April. Repotting should be done about every three years and without using an excessively large pot. The plant loves soils with an acidic pH in which there is peat. The soil must be well drained and ventilated and can be obtained by mixing one part of potting soil, two parts of compost moss and one part of sand or perlite.

If you water the plant too much, some parts can rot. In a short time, the plant that has rotten parts can also die, due to some types of fungi that stick to the damaged parts.
At the same time, too much drought can also be a problem for the Christmas cactus, especially if prolonged. Therefore, make sure that its soil is always slightly moist. In spring, aphids may nest on the flowers. To remove them, either expect the natural action of ladybugs, or you can opt for a natural insecticide based on Marseille soap. See how to do it HERE >>

Discover all the Christmas flowers by clicking on Christmas Plants or find out how to make your gifts unique by clicking on DIY Christmas Gifts.

Common name: Porcelain
Botanical name: Portulaca grandiflora
Family: Portulacaceae

Purslane, also known as porcelain or porcacchia, actually it is not a real succulent plant, even if it is assimilated to succulents due to its fleshy leaves. In summer it blooms with delicious yellow flowers that close at night.

Cut off the rotten part of the plant

Take a clean and sharp knife and make a clean cut to the plant, to cut at least 1 cm. Above the rotten part, I recommend, eliminate all the rotten area and be careful to leave only the healthy part of the succulent plant. To verify this, look at the internal tissues: if you still notice soft and dark areas you will have to cut further. Once you have obtained a healthy part (ie a cutting) place it on absorbent paper in a dry and airy place and let it rest for a week.

Succulent Plant Echinopsis Chamaecereus or Chamaecereus Silvestrii, vase in Basket you can find it in the Categories:

Plants sale online on Mondo Piante: Nursery specialized in the online sale of Mediterranean plants for repotting for the home and plants for the garden. We have all the items offered in the catalog ready for delivery, even within 24 hours from the order. Our online plant shop (e-commerce) offers enthusiasts a wide choice of plants without neglecting a telephone and in-store assistance service to help you in your choice.

In our shop you will also find a section dedicated to beautiful ceramics handmade by skilled local master craftsmen, all fully customizable in the headings. Great gift ideas that we wanted to complement with beautiful artificial flower arrangements.

The Vivaio Mondo Piante is located in Terlizzi (Bari), also known as the City of Flowers, customers from the neighboring areas can visit us in the shop and collect them on site, saving on shipping costs. However, we recommend that you consult our online catalog, comfortably and in complete freedom, being able to make the purchase directly from your home, also paying by credit card, in complete safety.

Video: Succulent and Cactus care + tips whyhow to re-pot plants

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