Any plant that has fleshy, thick tissues that can store water is considered succulent. Some succulents, like cacti, only store water in the stem and have no or few leaves, but other succulents, like agaves, primarily store water in the leaves. The majority of succulents are endemic to deserts or areas with a semiarid season and have deep or wide root systems. More than 60 plant families have succulent species, with the Aizoaceae, Cactaceae, and Crassulaceae having the highest proportions. Aloe, Echeveria, Kalanchoe, and other plants are among those that are grown as ornamentals and indoor plants.
The timing of the opening of stomata, which are tiny mouthlike structures on the surface of plant leaves and stems, is one adaptation shared by many succulents. Stomata enable the exchange of water and oxygen with the environment as well as the uptake of carbon dioxide from the environment. The stomata of many succulent plants are closed during the day and open at night, in contrast to those of most plants. As a result, less water loss (transpiration) happens during the hot, dry daylight hours, while carbon dioxide (CO2) uptake takes place at night. As a result, these succulent plants display crassulacean acid metabolism, a modified form of CO2 fixation and photosynthesis.
The meaning of the name “succulent”
To say that succulents are now popular would be an understatement. However, we believe their popularity is long overdue given how adorable they are, how simple they are to care for, and how many different colors there are. Here’s what you need to know before buying your next stonecrop or agave plant:
Due of their ability to store water in their leaves, succulents first appeared in regions that had extended dry spells (like Africa).
Sucus, which meaning juice or sap in Latin, is the root of the English word succulent. It also honors the nutritious leaves that enable these plants to endure in the sweltering heat (aka you only have to water yours once a week, since they thrive in sunlight and dry air).
Green hues are a certainty.
However, you can also find blue, purple, pink, orange, and red succulents!
Another benefit of these plants’ ease of maintenance. (If your succulent is outside and you do suffer problems, you might be dealing with scale or aphids. If it’s indoors, the issue can be caused by mealybugs, woolly aphids, spider mites, or fungus gnats.
“Propagating” is the term for it. Cut off a succulent leaf, allow it to dry in the sun, then put it in soil with water to accomplish this.
Although not all succulents are cacti, cacti are succulents. What distinguishes a cactus as such: Its thorns, which are essentially its leaves.
They have a very festive name because they bloom right before Christmas.
You may flaunt your green thumb on your wrist, ears, or fingers for weeks at a time because these plants require such little care.
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What are some uses for succulent plants?
For those who enjoy a few pots of greenery on the desk at work or dispersed throughout sunny parts of the home, this ease of care is unquestionably beneficial. You’ve probably heard that succulents can enhance humidity in your dry house or office and assist remove harmful toxins from the air. This additional moisture relieves dry, irritated skin. Additionally, it can shield you from the common cold, dry cough, and sore throats.
Succulents can help with a variety of other medical conditions. The majority of us are aware that aloe vera juice and gel are marketed for reducing inflammation, particularly in the digestive tract. Parts of the yucca plant are also said to help with inflammation in other areas of the body. These plants’ saponins and other antioxidants are used to treat arthritis pain. To produce a tea for this use, boil yucca roots.
Sometimes succulents can help ease the uncomfortable symptoms of eczema. Due to the skin’s inability to fight bacterial infections, adult cases of childhood eczema frequently result in rash and itching. Succulents serve a dual purpose in helping to treat eczema because low humidity can occasionally bring on the symptoms.
Agave juice lessens pain from a number of diseases while accelerating the healing process. In addition to being used to make tequila, it is also used to treat toothache pain, stomach disorders, and other conditions that benefit from its antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, and vitamin-rich characteristics. Everyone should minimize their oral agave consumption, especially pregnant ladies.
From whence comes succulent?
Succulents are native to many regions of the planet, but they are most common in South Africa, Central America, and Africa. These locations provide various environments for their development and give rise to various species.
is a succulent or cactus?
What distinguishes a succulent from a cactus? The only plant that can survive in a hot south window, where the light shines through the glass intensified, is a cactus. Any plant that stores water in juicy leaves, stems, or roots to resist recurring droughts is considered a succulent. Some people accept non-fleshy desert plants while others exclude plants with flesh, such as epiphytic orchids (yuccas, puyas).
Cactus is merely a type of succulent that can hold moisture and is classified separately from other succulents (cacti is the plural form of cactus in Latin) (Cactaceae). On the other hand, not every succulent is a cactus. In addition to being close relatives of the pointsetta, geranium, lily, grape, amaryllis, crassula, daisy, and milkweed, succulents are members of approximately 40 botanical families that are distributed throughout the world.
The name “cactus” derives from the Greek word “kaktos,” which means “spiny plant.” The ancient Greeks used this word to describe a species that was actually an artichoke variety rather than a cactus. 2000 years later, Linnaeus, who classified plants, gave a family of plants with distinctive characteristics like thick stems that served as water reservoirs, prickly or hairy coverings, and few, if any, leaves the name Cactaceae.
Cacti are simple to spot. They rarely have leaves because they have to work so hard to stay alive. They have stems that have been altered into cylinders, pads, or joints that store water during dry spells. Skin thickness lowers evaporation. For defense against browsing animals, the majority of species have bristles or spines, but some lack them, and others have long hair or a woolly covering. Large and vibrant flowers are the norm. Fruit may be both edible and colorful.
Every cactus has leaves when it is still a seedling. Additionally, some plants briefly produce tiny leaves on their new growth each spring. The majority of cactus progressively lost their leaves as shifting climatic patterns transformed native environments into deserts, evaporating too much limited water into the dry air. They switched to storing the water that was available in their stems. To adapt the size of their evaporation surfaces to changing conditions, many may modify their shape. When moisture is abundant, ribs that resemble an accordion can extend; when there is a drought, they can contract.
The majority of succulents, such as aloes, hawthorias, crassulas, and echeveria, originated in environments with less harsh conditions than cactus, such as those with rainy seasons followed by protracted dry seasons. They all have leaves. Their leaves gradually grew fattened by water-storing tissues and covered in a waxy or horny substance that lessens evaporation from the surface to help them get through the dry spells.
From Canada, through Central America, the West Indies, and south to the chilly regions of Chile and Patagonia, the cactus (Cactaceae) family can be found (southern end of South America). The largest collection may be in Mexico, but there are also a large number in the western deserts of the United States and at higher elevations in the Cordilleras of Peru, Bolivia, and Argentina.
The majority of succulents are native to milder, semi-desert regions of the planet (Mexico, South Africa). Some (such as sedums and sempervivums) are native to cooler regions where they thrive on sunny, rocky ledges and slopes. Although there are many succulents around the world, not all succulents are desert plants. They can be found on mountains, in jungles, and next to bodies of water. Succulents can be found in semi-arid parts of North and South America, Asia, and Africa, but many also live in rain forests. Succulents can be found in the mountains where they can survive inclement weather, strong winds, and poor soil. Aeonium is a succulent native to Africa, the Canary and Madeira Islands; Agave is a succulent native to the Americas; Aloe is a succulent native to Africa, the Mediterranean, and Atlantic islands; Cotyledon is a succulent native to semi-arid regions of Africa; Crassula is a succulent native to mostly Africa; Dudleya is a succulent native to coastal California and Mexico; Faucaria is a succulent native to South Africa; Sempervivum: North Africa, Asia Minor, and Central and Southern Europe.
Some succulent species grow more quickly than others, giving them the appearance of being larger than other succulents.
One of the fastest-growing succulents, the Kalanchoe, can grow exponentially large in comparison to other succulents. Within a few weeks, they can develop from cuttings into fully rooted plants.
The Kalanchoe is sometimes regarded as invasive due to the way it spreads. With very little to no work on your side, they can quickly produce additional plants (or pups). In just a few months, a single two-inch Kalanchoe plant can yield dozens of pups and become very large.
The methods a succulent can expand are numerous. Some succulents, like the Haworthia, grow large by making pups, or replicas of themselves. If given ample room, they will continue to spread.
Some succulents develop on their own into enormous plants. One succulent that appears quite small when purchased but can grow into a significantly large plant is the jade plant, or Crassula ovata.
Another large-growing succulent that is better suited to being planted outdoors as a landscape plant is the agave.
Succulents: suitable indoor plants?
Because of their special ability to retain water, succulents tend to thrive in warm, dry climates and don’t mind a little neglect. They are therefore ideally suited to growing indoors and are the perfect choice for anyone looking for low-maintenance houseplants. Follow these instructions for successful plant care if you’re choosing succulents for the first time.
Select a succulent that will thrive in your indoor environment.
The majority of succulents need direct sunshine, however if your home only has a shady area, choose low light-tolerant plants like mother-in-tongue. law’s A trailing variety, like string of bananas, is an excellent option if you intend to grow your succulent in a hanging planter. To learn about your succulents’ requirements for sunlight, size, and spread, always read the plant labels.
Give the plants a good draining potting material.
You should repot your succulent as soon as you get it home since nurseries always plant their succulents in soil that is overly rich and holds too much moisture. A coarse potting mix with sufficient drainage and aeration is a good place to start. You can use an African violet mix or unique cactus and succulent mixtures that you can purchase at the nursery. Add perlite or pumice to the cactus or African violet mix (up to 50% of the total potting mix, depending on your particular succulent’s moisture requirements) to further increase drainage and prevent compaction. To make sure the mixture is moist throughout, always moisten it before using.
Decide on a container.
When repotting, use a container that is at least 1 to 2 inches bigger than the nursery container and has a drainage hole. Avoid using glass containers (such mason jars or terrariums) for long-term potting since they prevent roots from breathing and over time may result in root rot. Place your plant inside the container and backfill with extra pre-moistened potting mix after filling the bottom one-third of the container with pre-moistened potting mix.
Put the succulent plant in a pot somewhere sunny.
Try to arrange your succulents close to a south or east-facing window because most succulents need at least six hours of sun each day. Insufficient sunlight may cause your succulents to become spindly or to extend toward the light.
Between waterings, allow the potting mix to dry out.
Overwatering succulents is the most common error people make with them. Watering more deeply but less frequently is preferable. Before the next watering, completely saturate the potting mix (while making sure the water drains out of the drainage hole properly). The plant can finally perish if the potting soil is left moist every day.
Succulents should be fertilized at least once a year.
Fertilizer works best for plants in the spring (when the days lengthen and new growth starts) and again in the late summer. Use a water-soluble, balanced fertilizer (such as 8-8-8 or 10-10-10) that has been diluted to half the strength indicated on the container. Since succulents are semi-dormant in the winter, there is no need to nourish them. Because they are not actively growing, they do not require the nutrient boost.
Succulents purify the air, right?
- They aid in breathing – While plants emit oxygen during the process of photosynthesis, most plants respire at night, generating carbon dioxide. Other plants, such as orchids and areca palms, in addition to succulents, continue to produce oxygen throughout the night. Keep these plants in your bedroom to get a better night’s sleep by breathing in more fresh air as you sleep.
- Succulents, such as snake plants and aloe vera, are great in purifying the air and removing toxins. According to NASA studies, 87 percent of volatile organic molecules can be eliminated (VOC). Because VOCs like benzene and formaldehyde are present in rugs, cigarette smoke, grocery bags, books, and ink, these plants are especially useful in libraries and study spaces.
- They aid in illness prevention. Plant water released into the sky accounts for roughly 10% of the moisture in the air. In your home, the same rule holds true: the more plants you have, especially in groups, the better your ability to increase the humidity and so reduce the likelihood of dry skin, colds, sore throats, and dry coughs. According to a research by Norway’s Agricultural University, offices with plants had sickness rates that were 60% lower. Environmental psychologist Tina Bringslimark explained to The Telegraph: “We looked into how many people reported taking self-reported sick days and contrasted that with how many plants they could see from their desk. There was less self-reported sick leave the more plants they could observe “.
- They aid in concentration – Numerous research on both students and workers have discovered that having plants around while studying or working improves concentration, attentiveness, and cognitive capacities. According to a University of Michigan research, the presence of plants increased memory retention by as much as 20%. Small plants like succulents, which don’t take up much space on your desk, are particularly helpful at the office.
- They promote faster healing – Succulents can help to lessen coughs, fevers, headaches, and flu-like symptoms. Hospital patients who had plants in their rooms needed less pain medication, had lower blood pressure and heart rates, and were less worn out and anxious, according to Kansas State University researchers.