Although I have mixed feelings about arid landscapes such as the southwestern region of the US, I do really like cacti and succulents. There is just something about the uniqueness of their forms, their ways of adapting to their environment, and their prickly way of saying “don’t mess with me!” IDK, maybe it’s also because I have such a prickly personality!
Anyway, I used to have quite a few cacti when I was in college, but I lost many of them to an outbreak of black rot, and I haven’t messed with them since.
I’ve recently been working on putting some landscaping info together for my condo HOA, and that has reignited my interest in growing cacti and succulents.
I’ve recently bought four (these are not my photos, just examples I found online):
A Clothed Opuntia – Opuntia vestita
A Kalanchoe Panda Plant – Kalanchoe tomentosa
A Zanzibar Aloe – Aloe zanzibarica
A Split Rock – Pleiospilos neii
Is there anyone here who loves cacti and succulents, too?
Cacti and succulents are very cool! I tried growing opuntia for nopales and fruit, but growing them in Washington State is a challenge due to the constant rain. As they say on some websites, I was in zone denial.
Succulents do well for "green roofs". I have a small section of roof that I planted with a layer of varieties of sedums and sempervivums. It's no-maintenance, survives long periods with no water, survives the winter freeze, and looks great. Also some "strawberry jars" with similar plants.
Yeah, I can imagine they'd be hard to grow in Washington, but probably not impossible for some. Apparently, native succulents occur from Canada to S. America, so there has to be some species that will survive.
Funny you mentioned succelents on roofs. I just got a book last night from the library, and they had photos of succulent roofs. Never heard of that, but it is a great idea. Our roofs are flat (mansarts), so this might work up there. I wonder how much it cools the area?
Here are some pics I found online.
Even on a dog house.
My partner and I are looking at a place with a little more acreage. The doghouse would be the perfect project. Here you can buy "pavers" that contain succulents preplanted, but they grow so fast and start so easy, it's very easy to just take starts from other ones and plant them, or buy starts and split them up for wider coverage. They only need a few inches of a well draining soil mix.
It's not totally new - centuries ago, Europeans used to plant sempervivum on thatch roofs. The species name, "tectorum" refers to roof.
Cool, I did not know that.
I imagine succulents would do well up there. Most people don't realize that in their natural environments, these plants are actually exposed to great shifts in temperature, as it gets quite cold in those arid regions at night.
In Texas, of course, we have a lot of native cacti and succulents, but not so much in my area. Opuntias are pretty common in landscaping and in some areas of the woodlands, but you'll see more of them in East Texas as opposed to North Texas.
One of the problems with some of the ones I bought might be that it will end up being too hot and humid here in Texas. The ones from Peru and such places grow up in the mountains, where it is cold and dry.
I bought some more today (against my better judgment).
Aptenia cordifolia variegata
And one other one that wasn't identified, and I haven't been able to find it yet in the books, but looks very similar to this one, except that the areoles are red and not white. This one is a Caringiea gigantea.
Douglas, I thought that I had read that all cacti and succlents were new world plants, but later realized I must have read or remembered that wrong, since Africa has some succulents -- the books even ID them as African. Maybe only cacti are new world, but now I'm not sure.
What kind of native succulents do you guys have in Oz?
Dallas, you are right, fwiw, cacti are new world. Cacti are a particular group of succulents, that almost never have leaves. Some have been exported to other places, and some are even invasive in other places.
There are succulents from all over the world. Africa has a lot of them. All cacti are succulent but not all succulents are cacti.