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Succulents or succulents

Posted by Raffaele Pagano on

With the term 'fat plants'Or' succulent plants' refers to plants originating from areas where there is often a shortage of water: their stems or leaves are therefore transformed into storage organs for the little water available. There is often confusion between cacti and succulents: cacti belong exclusively to the Cactaceae family, have a green and fleshy stem and leaves transformed into thorns: the chlorophyll function is therefore carried out by the stem, which also acts as a reserve of water. Generally the succulents, which belong to other families, such as the Crassulaceae, the Euphorbiaceae, the Aloacea or the Agavaceae, maintain the chlorophyll function in the leaves, which are fleshy and store water inside them. However, there are some succulents that have a very similar appearance to that of cacti: simplifying as much as possible, we can therefore say that all cacti are succulent plants, while not all succulents are cacti.

Generally these plants are rather easy to care for, indeed, sometimes they prefer to be a little neglected: the only condition is to give them very little water compared to other plants, especially when they are in their rest period, which usually (also if there are some exceptions) coincides with the winter period. The greatest danger is precisely that of getting them too wet, since you risk making them rot. For the most part, they can't stand low temperatures, but there are some that can withstand the cold even in winter outdoors.

For the rest, they do not give problems: in optimal conditions they resist diseases and parasites well, and many give really surprising, colorful and brilliant blooms. Not having a very large root system, they do not require very large pots: they need little space and this is important considering the size of modern houses. They can also be grown in terrariums or large glass bowls which, however, do not have holes for draining the water: in this case, a drainage layer must be placed on the bottom, consisting of gravel or stones. Hanging baskets are also very popular. They also lend themselves to compositions: just try to bring together plants with very similar needs.

They prefer bright locations, even in full sun, only some prefer partial shade.

They should be repotted when they tend to occupy all the space available in the pot or, in the case of succulents developed in height, when they no longer stand in balance. Suitable substrates are used for cacti and succulents, with a high percentage of sand and with the addition of inert substances, such as perlite, pumice or lapillus. If the operation involves thorny plants, remember to use sturdy gloves.

Fertilization should also not be exaggerated: for species that bloom (mostly in late spring / summer), a fertilizer with a high phosphorus value is welcome.

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