Looking for a plant with a number of qualities that can help it survive indoor conditions, like temperature, lots of brightness and nobody to take care of it at times? There are hundreds of cacti and succulents that are suitable. The variety of sizes and shapes suit individual taste and décor. The varieties of cacti available easily today are not only easy to maintain, but also enhance the ambience of the home as well. They can be placed indoors or outdoors, as per preference.
Succulent plants store water in their leaves and hence their leaves are fleshier than other plants. Many succulent plants come from the Tropics and Subtropics such as semi deserts and desert highs. High temperature and very low evaporation forces these plants to collect and store water, to survive longer in the dry conditions. This makes them easily adaptable to the severe conditions, both water and soil. They also grow along seacoasts and saltpans that are over exposed to a very high level of dissolved minerals. The best known or more commonly known succulent plant is cactus of the family Cactaceae. Virtually all cacti are succulent plants, but there are exceptions.
Succulents need plenty of light. A window greenhouse is an ideal place to accommodate the plants because a succulent plant survives in less soil. Large pots can make controlling moisture very difficult and this will result in a decline in the health of the succulent plant. They do not demand much attention, but add to the ambience of the home. These plants are easy to maintain and even when the family is away on vacation, you can be rest assured to return to a healthy garden.
Three most common house succulents are aloe, jade plant and ponytail palm
Aloe – Aloe Vera is one of the most famous ingredients used by many cosmetic industries to make hair and skin care products. It is medicinally very useful and a very effective remedy for treating burns. It is a handy plant to be grown in the kitchen garden. Many sunburn lotions contain aloe. Aloe, which is derived from a Greek word ‘allal’ and the Arabic ‘alloch’, means bitter. It usually has red or yellow flowers, but generally they don’t bloom indoors. Although aloe is grown in desert gardens that have mild climate, it can easily be grown in a pot too. The presence of aloe in the kitchen or terrace garden is a self-grown and motivating beauty therapy ingredient.
Many consume the juice or sap of the plant regularly.
Ponytail Palm – Beaucarnearecuvata is actually not a palm. This Mexican plant was first listed under Beaucarnea, then Nolina. It still has all the characteristics of a palm. For example, it has a palm like stem, with an expanded and broad base. The leaves are two to six feet long and mostly twisted. They resemble a ponytail. The flowers and fruits are rarely seen. Ponytail palm has a very moderate growth rate and is often a potted specimen. Indoors, it hardly reaches between one to three feet and it has a width of about one or two feet. If grown outdoors, it grows up to 20 feet, with a flaring base. The plant can be tended to effectively adapt to indoor and outdoor conditions and thrive in most soil and water conditions.
Jade Plant – Crassula ovata is the botanical name for the jade plant and this name was derived from a Latin word ‘Crassus’, which means thick or swollen, because of its leaves and stems. The plant has beautiful green glossy leaves, dark jade in color and hence, the name. The plants occasionally have red margins. This enhances the appearance even further. They bear beautiful white and pale pink colored flowers. The plant has a very moderate growth and may up to grow one or two feet in width and height. The plant needs heavy soil or a heavy pot to prevent it from falling because as it grows, the top gets heavier.
All cactus plants are considered succulents. The family Cactaceae is characterized by the areole. Even if a cactus does not have spines, it will have areoles. Almost all the family of Cactaceae originates in America. None of the succulent plants, except members of the succulent family Cactaceae, have areoles.