Cacti: Houseplant of the Month August 2020

The story of Cacti
Whether it’s the trendy geometric shapes or the air of unapproachability, Cactus is an exciting houseplant that has a big impact on an interior and often lives alongside its owners for generations. This classic plant’s comeback is particularly due to the fact that it’s a very easy houseplant with an unusual look.

Origin of Cacti
The spiky creations that we call cactuses (official name: Cactaceae) are native to a large territory in North and South America, with a strong concentration in Mexico. The plants mainly grow in dry desert regions where they have adapted brilliantly to the extremely dry conditions and also manage to reproduce whilst surviving.

The name cactus is derived from the Greek word 'kaktos', which means ‘spiky plant’. Every cactus is a succulent, but not all succulents are cacti. Like many other succulents, cacti have succulent properties - the ability to store moisture in their thick fleshy trunk and stems. These reservoirs are used to bridge periods of drought. Cactus roots are strongly developed and are usually just below the surface in order to slurp up as much water as possible during rainy periods.

The stems feature areolae, the place where the leaves should actually be. On the Cactus these had developed into thorns, spikes, glochids (barbed bristles) and bundles of long hairs. The cactus’ outer skin has a layer of wax to minimise evaporation. Cacti have been cultivated for centuries, usually by real enthusiasts.

Care tips for customers

  • It’s easy to look after cacti. To get the plants to flower every year, it’s best to give more water in the summer and less in winter. This partly dependent on the species and size of the plant.
  • Too much water is never good. It’s better to allow the soil to dry out a bit before watering the plant again.
  • A cactus can tolerate a warm and sunny spot in the summer, even outdoors on the patio or balcony. The placement should be cooler and light in the winter. This hibernation period in the winter helps the cactus to flower in the spring.
  • If the plant needs repotting, use a fairly nutrient-poor soil. Special cactus soil is available for this.
  • Place the plants in a safe place if there are children or pets around.