Once upon a time, the cactus was a novelty item passed around at Christmas. It had fallen hard from its 1970s hey-day and was consigned to the bargain bin by the trendsetters along with vinyl, MINI cars, and the bushy beard. But cacti are not just back, they’re having a bit of a moment.
Prada has taken the cactus and made it their unofficial logo, plastering it on purses, men’s suit shirts, and sashaying catwalk dresses.
Associations with the painfully hip US festivals Coachella and Burning Man mean cacti are the symbol of long fun summer events.
The four-story Topshop store in Oxford Street, London, has its own cactus shop. Urban Outfitters sell their own ‘grow your own’ cactus mix.
The ‘shelfie’ craze on Instagram is dominated by people taking photos of cacti studding their shelves.
Cacti and succulents are some of the most popular and charismatic plants appearing in private collections the world over; perhaps even as part of your own. Their unexpectedly beautiful blooms and quirky, characterful shapes and textures have made them a firm horticultural favourite.
Succulents are found across the globe in nearly all types of habitat, but most often in arid or semi-arid parts of the world. They’re specially adapted to deal with dry, desert-like conditions, and able to store water in one or more of their organs; their leaves, stems, or roots are often filled with water-storing tissue, and are thus unusually fleshy and enlarged. Succulent families include aloe, agave, and, most famously, cacti (the Cactaceae family). While most all cacti are succulents, not all succulents are cacti; cacti are distinct because of the small round nodules seen speckled across the plant (known as areoles) from which they grow and produce flowers and spines.
Storing moisture the way they do is what defines cacti as succulents. What makes a cactus a cactus is that they grow growths, known as areoles. These are cushioned growing points that are technically compressed branches. Spines, “wool” flowers and offsets all grow from the areoles. A lot of succulents resemble cacti in every way except they don’t grow spines. This is what makes a succulent a succulent and not a cactus. In all but one genus of cactus, the Pereskia, the plants do not have leaves.
We have a huge range of cacti and succulents available now and can have them in the post for you within days.
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