Hey, do you know the difference between a succulent and a cactus? This question is a pretty common one among our customers at Establish. So we thought we’d take a moment to let you know what are some of the similarities and what are some of the difference. Knowing some of these will definitely help green your thumb!
First off, all cacti are succulents, but not all succulents are cacti (say that 10 times fast)!
Succulents are known to be moisture packed due to storage of water. Succulents store water in their leaves, stems or roots and the arms - thus they can survive quite a while without being watered. Cacti have small, round, cushion-like structures called areoles in which flowers and hair can grow. Areoles usually look like small, fluffy, cotton like lumps on the body of the cactus. It is where the pricks grow out to get ya! Cacti usually have a tough, thick skin and seldom have leaves. If a succulent does not have any of these noticeable features, then it is not considered a cacti.
Planting is a key ingredient to the success of whether a succulent or cacti can survive. A clay pot is recommended with a hole in the bottom that is covered with rocks or broken clay pieces. The pot should be ½ the width of the height of the plant that is to be potted. Make sure you use a soil that is meant for cacti or succulents. You can mix your own, but you need to mix sand with soil. This can be tricky, so make sure you follow some key instructions from a nursery. When you first buy your plant, do not water immediately – wait a week and then just dampen the soil, do not soak it. *Stay tuned for our next posting about watering tips for cacti and succulents. One quick hint: when planting cacti, wear leather gloves to protect yourself from the pricks!
When taking care of cacti or succulent, remember they are water-filled plants so when looking at your plant it should look plump and filled with water. If not and it looks puckered, then water it but remove any standing water that has developed in bottom of the cactus stalk.
And don't forget - if you still have questions or need advice on what to plant or where to put your new buddy - we are here to help. Just ask and we will help you create your perfect desert oasis.