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Growing Cacti and Succulents as Houseplants

Updated on March 31, 2011

cacti and succulents

We often hear about curb appeal when a discussion about selling or buying a new home is underway but often the discussion stops at the front door. If you truly want to impress a potential buyer you will see that the wow factor created by the landscaping in your front yard is carried on when the door is opened and the potential buyer sets foot inside.

Houseplants are ideal way to keep the enthusiasm alive and offer diverse, inexpensive and relatively easy to care for ways to engage your buyer or for that matter your guests.

Houseplants can distract, attract and enhance the visitor’s attention and help create a warm and welcoming ambience to any home.

A houseplant is not something you buy and stick simply anywhere but an important element in your overall décor. 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, before you buy know what conditions the plant will be living in and talk with the people from whom you purchase the plant. Get all the information you can first.

If you get one as a gift or inherit one in some way but do not know its name, do your best to find out, the information you discover can make all the difference in the plant’s ability to thrive. It may hang on forever but fail to blossom and why would you wish that on any plant?

So what is the difference between cacti and succulents, well the accompanying video gives a good explanation but basically;

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.

Cacti are succulents that have spine cushions called areoles and have the ability to bear spines and/or flowers while the plants do not have branches or leaves.

On the other hand, succulents do not have areoles and can have branches and leaves.

When it comes to the care and feeding of succulents, it is important to get to know your plant’s needs. The problems begin with the facts that some succulents like very arid conditions with consequent low levels of fungi present in the atmosphere, and others make their natural homes in steamy jungles. To complicate matters further, a lot of succulents have certain times of the year when they prefer to be dormant.

Now this is a good rule, in general, but with succulents, especially, it is the only way to make sure that the plant will have a chance to show you what it can do. Remember plants want to thrive and look their best so give them the opportunity to put on a show for you and you will be richly rewarded.

Take watering for example.

The most common household garden mistake is improper watering, either too little or too much. For succulents, only water when the growing medium is dry, and water then only if temperatures are not low. (Less than 15C during daytime as a very rough guide).

Always remember right plant and right place and you cannot go wrong.

interesting container

in a cracked bowl photo courtesy flickr/daxiang stef
in a cracked bowl photo courtesy flickr/daxiang stef

making a terrarium

The difference


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  • Bob Ewing profile image

    Bob Ewing 6 years ago from New Brunswick

    i am nurturing an aloe vera back to health, a friend gave it to me recently. happy growing

  • The Dirt Farmer profile image

    Jill Spencer 6 years ago from United States

    Thanks for the info, Bob. Very helpful! I'm planting an indoor mixed container of succulents... well, now & following your advice.

  • Bob Ewing profile image

    Bob Ewing 8 years ago from New Brunswick

    different climates make it all interesting, thanks for dropping by.

  • profile image

    ObiaMan 8 years ago from Deep South Louisiana

    Another good hub. Long ago and far away we started with a number of cacti and other succulents but got away from it. Almost!! Many, many years ago my grandparents went to Mexico and brought back some Century plants and I acquired some from my grand dad when we bought his house before he died 37 years ago. Now I have bunches of them. They've only shot up shoots and flowered 3 times in all these years. I have about a thousand little plants in my wheel barrow right now from 2 that flowered recently. After those 2 plants died, another on started sending up a shoot and it's about 8' tall now and covered with buds. They get as tall as the house and take about a year and a half to go through the whole process.

  • Bob Ewing profile image

    Bob Ewing 10 years ago from New Brunswick

    The GC you are welcome and thanks ponnu.

  • ponnu profile image

    Sreethi 10 years ago from Mumbai

    great one .i am also interested in this topic and i learn more about xerophytes in my post graduation class.and i have a few collection of cacti in my house.thanks for such a good hub .thumbs up

  • The Good Cook profile image

    The Good Cook 10 years ago

    These are my favorite plants - inside or outside! Thanks.

  • Bob Ewing profile image

    Bob Ewing 10 years ago from New Brunswick

    Thanks all, xerophyte Any plant that evolved to survive in dry conditions, in areas subject to drought, or in physiologically dry areas (such as salt marshes and acid bogs) where saline or acid conditions make the uptake of water difficult.

  • profile image

    bogey047 10 years ago

    Great Job Bob, it got my interest

  • Uma Shankari profile image

    Uma Shankari 10 years ago from Bangalore

    Hi Bob, enjoyed reading this hub. I love cacti too. They are colorful. The rough thorny exterior and a cushy, soft interior; the ability to bloom in a desert -- all add to their appeal.

    Thanks for all the info.

    Uma Shankari

  • profile image

    Abhinaya 10 years ago

    WOW Bob!This is one of your best hubs.Can we call them xerophytes?Thanks for the awareness.I loved it when you said plants can either attract or distract visitors.