So, you've probably noticed that succulents and cacti have become quite popular as houseplants. From home decor magazines to Instagram and Pinterest, these desert beauties are popping up everywhere. You may be wondering why that is. What is it about succulents and cacti that draw people to them?
That answer probably has a couple of parts. First, succulents and cacti are very cute. Their desert adaptations have given them thick stems and leaves that store extra water. These plump features are plainly adorable. Also, succulents and cacti grow in a wide array of unusual shapes and colors. Stout, tall, vibrant, muted, you'll find it all in the world of succulents. Additionally, these plants are pretty low maintenance. Just give these plants nice bright light, and they won't ask too much from you by way of water or feeding. That said, I should break down some care specifics that will keep your succulents and cacti alive and happy for as long as possible.
When I say that these plants need bright light, I really mean it! Succulents and cacti can tolerate bright, indirect light, but in that kind of light, they become more like long term decor. To really thrive, these plants need six or more hours of direct sun. If keeping them indoors, situate them in a Western facing window where they get strong afternoon light. In terms of water, succulents and cacti are botanically prepared to survive without much water. When keeping them in the house, check their soil for water every day or so. When it's completely dry to the touch, really soak the soil. The amount of time it takes for the soil to completely dry between watering will vary depending on the humidity in your home. It may be every few days, or it may be every week or two. One never really knows.
When planting, soil type and watering needs always go hand in hand. Succulents and Cacti should be planted in a cactus mix. We sell it at our shop, but generally, look for potting soil blends that have high drainage. Often these blends will include perlite, sand, and even bark. In a pinch, you can also create homespun succulent soil by mixing play sand into potting soil. When in doubt, though, consult an expert. If succulents or cacti sit in soil that retains too much water, they'll rot quickly.
If you're thinking to yourself "maybe I can put them outside on warm days," you're half right. It can be done! However, if they have spent their whole lives inside, they need to be acclimated to outdoor weather. This means bringing them out for only an hour at a time, and slowly increasing the amount of time they spent out of doors over a month or more. I have a friend whose succulents were living indoors, in the A/C, and she brought them out on a ninety degree day. Unfortunately, her poor plants literally fell apart.
Let me also highlight some of the succulent and cactus creations that we offer at McArdle's! I'll talk you through some options, but you can also click here to see the creations we've posted to our website. The images to the right and the one above show some custom cactus gardens that we made for our greenhouse. Our designers have used various cacti species to play with height and texture in these arrangements, and situated these prickly beauties in a sleek white pot. White decorative stone finishes the look, and gives the whole creation a modern finish.
You could order a beautiful garden like this by calling the shop, stopping in to chose the cacti or succulents that speak to you, or by clicking here to order a custom indoor container garden through our website. Our designers can tailor make a garden to fit your decor,or create a bespoke gift for a friend. Be it a certain style of pot, or size requirements we can help you create something great!
I should also mention that cacti and succulents can be floor plants too! To the left is a pencil cactus in a decorative ceramic pot. Altogether, this composition sits about four feet tall in its pot. Technically, these plants are Euphorbia and are more closely related to poinsettias than true cacti, but this is a cactus post so anything called a cactus is fair game. Plus, these plants do resist drought like cacti, and they have a very similar shape as well. My only caution would be to use caution around kids and pets, anyone who might be tempted to chew on this plant. It's poisonous when ingested. Otherwise, it's perfectly safe to have in the house, and to handle.
So, I hope you've been inspired by this post! There's something noble and elegant about the determination of succulents and cacti to survive in harsh climates, so bring that feeling into your home! Look over at your beautiful cactus garden every day, and be reminded that it's possible to survive almost anything. If you've got any questions about succulents and cacti, about our supply, how to care for them, &c. just give us a shout. We'll be happy to help. Thanks for reading!
Justin Lievano works in the flower shop at McArdle's, and he knows that sometimes there's beauty underneath a thorny exterior.