Compositions with succulents: how to choose plants and what is important to know

Better to set the record straight right away: the topic of compositions has very little to do with the spirit of this site. In fact, we are just the opposite: on the one hand, the spartan approach that aims to obtain plants similar to those in habitat and that is the basis of my cultivation method; on the other hand, cultivation for aesthetic purposes only, which I do not practice but which we know very well is widespread. But life, as you know, is never all black or all white; some nuance must always be there…. So, here is an article accompanied by a video of mine on how to make a simple succulent plant arrangement. After all, an eye for aesthetics never hurts, and even I, who love “lived-in,” nature-like plants, do not disdain a well-done composition, as long as it is no-frills and made with respect for the needs of the individual plants. Warning: the theme may seem obvious and the subject matter very simple, but it’s not so and you will understand why in the next lines. 

Assuming that in plant compositions everyone is free to do what they want, this is just an aesthetic field, that is, related to personal taste, if you want to make compositions that will last over time and that will not make the plants suffer or die quickly, it will be wise to choose the right essences judiciously and place them in the correct substrate.

Let’s see in this article how to correctly choose the plants for our compositions (…)

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Plastic, terracotta, square or round? Here’s how to choose pots for cacti and succulents

Plastic or terracotta pots? Round, square, shallow or deep? And then again: is it better to have one plant per pot or several plants in one box or in a large bowl? At first glance, the subject may seem trivial, but the choice of the right vase for growing cacti and succulent plants has an undeniable impact on the consequence of the cultivation. The choice of the right pot, it can be said, is indeed closely related to the type of cultivation we adopt for our plants (indoors, on a balcony, in a greenhouse, in the open air, etc.) and to the various elements that characterize it, such as watering, type of substrate, exposure, temperature, and much more.

Net of purely aesthetic and therefore personal choices, let’s see how to choose the right containers for succulents’ cultivation, evaluating the pros and cons of the various shapes and materials with which the pots available on the market are made. (…)

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Repotting cacti: a few tips on how best to do it without… donating blood!

Repotting is often one of the reasons why many people steer clear of cacti. Maybe they like the plant, but the idea that sooner or later it has to be repotted, with all those thorns, frightens those who are new to this kind of plant. Many people even decide to give up on cacti for getting leafy succulents, which are much easier to deal with when repotting. In fact, even particularly prickly plants like Echinocactus grusonii or Ferocactus are not so complicated to repot. A little experience and a few “tricks”, and you can get out of it without literally having to “give blood”.

Let’s see how to proceed and all there is to know about repotting,
especially the most challenging ones due to the plant’s size and the thorns on the stem. (…)

Continue reading “Repotting cacti: a few tips on how best to do it without… donating blood!”

How to repot cactus and succulent plants: in which period, how to proceed, which tricks to use

Some growers repot every year, while some others repot when required – i.e. when a plant shows signs of suffering or when the pot has become too small related to the stem. There can be many reasons for repotting (or racking, as someone says alternatively) a cactus or a succulent plant, and every grower has his own rules. As for me, I don’t have “fixed deadlines”: I evaluate plant by plant trying to understand if new soil and more space are needed. I repot my succulents when I see that the vase is now too small, when I believe that the soil has exploited or when I want to grow specific specimens more quickly. While it is true that many plants live quietly in the same container for five or six years (in many cases even longer!), it’s also true that frequent repottings (once a year or every two years) help to speed up the growth of cacti, particularly young plants and genera that over time take on considerable sizes, such as Echinocactus and Ferocactus.

I repot, also, when I notice that a plant has blocked for a long time and it doesn’t grow or produce new thorns. It can be the spy that something, at the root level, is going wrong. A plant that doesn’t grow or doesn’t swell despite watering, or, again, a plant that loses its colour (showing, for example, a lack of magnesium that not even fertilization can solve) can be saved by a repotting, with the cleaning of roots and the supply of new soil.

So let’s see in this article in which period it is better to repot cactus and succulent plants, which pots to choose (square, round, terracotta or plastic), how to check the roots and how to proceed in practice.

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