13 Things To know About Cactus Plants

Cactus Plants

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13 Things About Cactus Plants

Are all cacti prickly?

A cactus is a great addition to the home, thanks to its shape, size, and showy flowers. Since no cactus is the same, this houseplant is a unique and decorative way to add interest to your living space, whether it's perched on a window sill or decorated on a shelf.

The name of cactus (official name Cactaceae) comes from the Greek word "Kaktus", which means "pointed plant". Native to America (a vast territory in North and South America with a high concentration in Mexico) and generally found in areas prone to drought, cacti or cacti are perfectly adapted to live in an environment of intense heat and desert, which means they can definitely survive the hot, dry conditions of a centrally heated home.

For plant lovers, a cactus is perfect for the less green, since all that is needed is moderate watering; in fact, it is better underwater than in excess.

Although it grows slowly, a cactus is quite self-sufficient as it stores moisture in its roots, leaves, and stems, and therefore largely regulates its food intake. A cactus likes a light, airy and warm place, but not too hot, around 18 ° C is ideal, and it can withstand direct sunlight well.

Find out why these amazing houseplants aren't limited to their thorns!

Are cactus plants indestructible?

No, if you ever killed a cactus, you are not alone. The easiest way is to overwater, drain poorly, and use the wrong compost.

Common potting compost holds water well, which is a great advantage for most plants, but not for cacti, as they need excellent drainage. If you want to keep them alive, it is better to use specialized cactus soil.

Cactus Plants

What's the best spot in the home to place a cactus?

A cactus can tolerate a warm, sunny spot in the summer, even outside on the patio or balcony. But in winter the placement should be cooler and lighter.

Does a cactus flower?

All cacti are flowering plants, but some have more prominent flowers and some, like Mammillaria, Gymnocalycium, and Parodia, will easily bloom with colorful and impressive displays.

How do you get a cactus to flower?

Cacti bloom in fresh growth, so if your plant is firm, unchanged from year to year, it is highly unlikely to bloom. What you need to do is get the plant through its natural growth cycle. You must fall asleep in winter and then wake up in spring. Therefore, put it in a dry, cold, but not dark place during the winter and stop watering completely. In spring, give it as much sun as possible and start watering it.

Cactus Plants

So how often should you water a cactus?

It is better to give more water in spring/summer and less in winter. Remember to avoid overwatering. It's best to let the soil dry out for a while before watering the plant again.

Types of cactus: what are the most common species?

The species that are most commonly sold are EchinocactusFerocactusGymnocalyciumOpuntia, and Mamillaria.

And what are the best varieties for beginners?

The moon cactus (Gymnocalycium) has very colorful buds, usually red or yellow. They are not flowers, so the color is there all year round.

The rabbit-eared cactus (Opuntia), also known as the polka dot cactus, has specks of golden bristles on a green background, making them modern and geometric. And the spiny pincushion cactus (Mammillaria) is easy to grow and has beautiful pink flowers.

Cactus Plants

How to look after a cactus: what's the best way to handle them?

Carefully! Either with extra thick gloves or with folded newspaper to roll up the top. If you get stuck with one end, you can remove the larger ones with tweezers. Remove your little toes by taping over them and then peeling them off, or by rolling old pantyhose into a ball and quickly rubbing it over the stain.

Cactus Plants

What pests do you need to look out for?

Make sure your cactus is free of scale insects on the plant itself (the body) and in the root system. With its woolly white wax coating containing oval insects, it is one of the most common and difficult to eliminate cactus pests.

In addition, red mites (eight-legged insects that weave a dense and delicate web on the plant), aphids, mealybugs, and thrips can also appear. Also, check for damage and that the root system is intact.

If cacti are kept too wet for too long, they can rot "out of the pot", which can also be caused by fungi and bacteria. Therefore, the green part, the current stem, can be smooth.

Are all cacti prickly?

No. What we usually call cacti are desert cacti, but there are also hairless forest cacti, however, remember that the variety available as indoor plants is very small.

Cactus Plants

How long does a cactus plant live?

In nature, cacti can live for hundreds of years. Indoors, they can survive for 10 years or more. The problem with older people is that the bumps, scratches, or blemishes they receive stay with them, so they tend to look less attractive as they get older.

 Is a cactus the same as a succulent?

All cacti are succulents, but not all succulents are cacti. Like many other succulents, cacti have succulent properties: the ability to store moisture in their trunk and thick, fleshy stems.

These reservoirs are used to overcome periods of drought. However, one difference is that cacti are defined by the presence of areolas (specialized places where spines form), while succulents are not.

What is a Christmas cactus? And how is it different?

A Christmas cactus is a popular Christmas plant during the Christmas season. The Brazilian coastal plant, known as an epiphyte, grows on other plants, trees, or rocks and there are two species: Schlumbergera truncata and S. × buckleyi.

A Christmas cactus blooms for about two months from late November to late January, with many small flower buds, in red, white, yellow, pink, and purple, appearing during the Christmas season. Find more tips on caring for and growing Christmas cacti here.

Cactus Plants

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Cactus Plants

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