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Grow a cactus and succulent garden

Last Updated Jan 12, 2017 · Written by Rob Schneider

Are you looking for an easy to maintain and beautiful garden? Look into cacti and succulents. There are some tricks to planting them, but once they're established, they require little maintenance. You can create a stunning garden by choosing a variety of cacti and succulents. Here's what you need to know.

A Few Facts About Cacti

If you're looking for a cactus that is native to Australia, you're out of luck. It may sound surprising, but all cacti in Australia are imported. That doesn't mean they don't grow well in Australia, though. In fact, if you plant them in a sunny location and they have plenty of drainage, most species can thrive even in poor soil.


To state the obvious, cacti grow naturally in deserts where the soil is poor and the sun is hot. However, cacti can thrive in most temperate climates if you take care to put them in a sunny position. They are slow growing, so if you want a large cactus you can enjoy now, buy a fully grown cactus rather than a small one.


Cacti come in all shapes and sizes. Some are bulbous and some spread out. Some produce flowers and some produce "fruit" of a different colour. When you choose a cactus for your garden, choose a variety that appeals to you and will flatter your garden.

While cacti require little water, they do require some maintenance. They can be attacked by mealybugs and scale insects. While they don't require good soil, a yearly dose of dolomite can help them stay healthy.

What You Need to Know About Succulents

"Succulent" literally refers to a plant's ability to store water. Succulents have "fat" leaves that are filled with water. This helps them endure dry conditions. Unlike cacti, many species of succulents are native to Australia. In fact, Australia boasts over 400 varieties of succulents.


The beauty of having a succulent garden is in the sculptural appearance of succulents. They come in a variety of shapes and colours. Instead of having a flowering garden, a succulent garden can be made up of a variety of plants of different shapes and colours. You can plant them near other plants or make a succulent garden.

Growing a Cactus and Succulent Garden

A cactus and succulent garden is as much a sculpture as it is a garden. You can grow both in pots or in the ground, but you can also grow succulents in a vertical garden. To make the display interesting and beautiful, choose cacti and succulents of different shapes and colours. They look fabulous in colourful pots and some species of succulents will pour over the sides of the pots.


While larger cacti and succulents can make a stunning statement in your garden, don't overlook the possibilities with a smaller cactus or succulent. They can look great in small pots and you can create a fascinating garden out of small succulents and cacti. Since many succulents require little soil, they can be perfect in a rock garden, adding colour and vibrancy to your garden.


When choosing succulents for your garden, be aware that not all succulents thrive in similar conditions. There are two types of succulents:

  1. Succulents that stand up to cold conditions include Agave, Mesembryanthemum and Stonecrop.
  2. "Soft" or "tender" succulents do not tolerate cold conditions. A few of these include Aeonium, Aloe, Crassula, Echeveria, Jade Plants, Kalanchoe, Portulacaria and Senecio.

To be sure you're buying cacti and succulents that will thrive in your environment, get a local landscaper or garden designer to help you choose them. Cacti and succulents are trendy garden plants today and landscapers and garden designers are well-informed about varieties that thrive in local conditions.

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