Cacti & Succulents
The Drought Masters
When it comes to drought hardy plants, few are more capable than cacti and succulents. These plants hail from almost every continent on Earth, usually from arid areas or deserts. However, some succulents are from dry microclimates in otherwise abundant ecosystems, such as exposed cliff faces or high tree branches in the rain forest. This means there’s a succulent for almost any place in the garden!
A thorny problem
Not necessarily! Not all cacti and succulents have spines or prickles. Some are in fact, very soft and squishy. Even among those with thorns, most are not stiff enough to cause serious injury to a human. However, if you have young children, it may be wise to avoid the worst of the bunch, particularly plants such as the Golden Barrel Cactus (a.k.a. The Horse Crippler) and Agaves. We can help you choose if you’re unsure.
Once you start to get a few cacti or succulents, it can become quite addictive! There is a seemingly never-ending array of species and varieties to choose from, often with bizarre forms, bright colours and amazing flowers. Cacti and succulents generally look best in groupings, so even if you’re growing them in pots, grow them side-by-side for best effect.
In the garden
Although the vast majority of these plants are grown as potted specimens, many species will do well in the ground in Brisbane’s climate. What cacti and succulents really hate is wet feet, especially in winter. To avoid rot, it is best to plant them somewhere with excellent drainage. For example, raised rockeries, steep slopes or behind retaining walls. If you’re soil is heavy clay or loam, consider mixing some sand in with it to allow the water to drain away faster.
Although sun loving, most succulents actually do best in part shade. They need a good few hours of direct sun to remain vigorous, but may suffer if exposed to full sun the entire day. Not all cacti and succulents are fully cold hardy, and some delicate species may require protection in winter, even in Brisbane. We recommend you research your species before planting it directly in the garden.