CHOOSING THE RIGHT CACTUS
Cacti and succulents are virtually the ideal plants for both indoor potting and outdoor landscaping. Not only do they look great as decorations in any home or on any lawn, as each cactus is almost a work of art in itself, but they are one of only a few plants that can almost completely be ignored once in the soil. If you are looking for a landscaping plant that looks great but requires the least amount of maintenance as possible, then consider a cactus for your lawn or garden.
Succulents are a type of plant that are known for their water storage abilities, and usually have some sort of thickened and fleshy areas that aid them in this retention. While every cactus is a succulent, there are plenty of succulents that are not cacti, though cacti might be the most well known variety.
They are usually found in climates with high temperatures and little rainfall, and can thrive in areas so dry that other plants would never stand a chance. They are tough plants, and have been known to handle more than a little neglect on the part of their owners’.
However, just because cacti can oftentimes be ignored does not mean that they should be or that this is the best environment for them. Furthermore, cacti come in almost endless varieties, and some are certainly more hardy than others. Before purchasing any cactus or succulent, make sure you do some research on the specific varietal and their individual growing requirements, and determine whether or not you can meet these requirements satisfactorily. While it is in the very nature of a cactus to thrive in virtually any environment in which its placed, its chances of success are far greater if it is placed where it is most comfortable.
Choosing the right cactus for your lawn or garden is truly a matter of personal preference, as nearly all types will require the same level of minimal maintenance. However, there are some aesthetic considerations to take into account:
- Size – cacti can be tiny enough to fit in pots no more than a couple of ounces, and tall enough to resemble some types of trees. Fortunately, no species of cacti are really capable of outgrowing a yard, as most of the larger types tend to grow upwards instead of outwards.
- Shape – do you want a cactus that is short and fat or one that is tall and skinny? With cacti, you’ll find both of these, along with every imaginable shape in between. For the best results, add a few cacti in different shapes and sizes to create an interesting variety.
- Color – some types of cacti will periodically sprout beautiful flowers in every color of the rainbow, while others never flower at all. Furthermore, of those that do flower, some will only produce a single flower, while others will grow colorful clusters.
- Sharpness – instead of leaves, cacti have what are called “spines,” and many of these spines contain needles or thorns. Some cacti will have silky needles that you can run your hand safely across, others are razor sharp and would cut you if you performed the same action.
If you’d like to learn more about cacti and other succulents by browsing one of the largest selections in South Florida, visit Shell Lumber & Hardware in Miami or give us a call at (305) 856-6401. Our highly trained staff members are experts in all things lawn and garden, and are always happy to help residents of Florida get the most out of their outdoor spaces.