Succulent plant Cultivation

Guide to Growing Succulent Plants

Production, Cultivation and Sale of Cactus-family Succulent Plants Sanremo Imperia Liguria | AG SANREMO
The world of succulent plants includes a large number of species (about ten thousand) divided into two large groups: cacti and succulents.

The main features of these plants are that they have a water reservoir in their stems, leaves and roots (caudex), and that their leaves have transformed into thorns. They have also developed a series of biological mechanisms to cope with a wide range of climatic conditions in the places they come from.

These features have shaped the plants into a wide range of "sculpture" shapes, so much so that they are sought after by collectors.

In the wild, cacti and succulents can be found on five continents, where the local climatic conditions have led to the formation of the various distinct Families.
The Mesembryantemacea family, the Euphorbia family, the Liliaceae family and the Crassulaceae family are natural inhabitants of Africa, as are the Agavaceae family and the Cactaceae family of the Americas.

To introduce you to this "Spiny World", we would like to show you some features and curiosities that will add to the enjoyment of growing your plants.

In some regions indigenous populations use cacti not only as a source of food but also to make textile fibres and they are often used as medicines.
Agaves, quite common on our Ligurian Riviera, in their native habitat are used for making textiles, carpets, ropes and sacking, and they are used in the food industry for making the famous spirit, Tequila.  
Pulp from the leaves of the Prickly Pear (Opuntia) is used as an ingredient in tasty salads, and its fruit in the making jams, jellies and desserts.
Aloe plants, long since recognised in ancient Egypt for their therapeutic properties, are still used today to sooth skin irritation, to detox the body and more recently as ingredients in cosmetics and pharmaceutical products.

Position

All succulents love light, so put them in a well-lit position, but take care that cacti are moved into the shade in the hottest hours of the day (e.g. on a south-east-facing balcony or under a tree in the garden). Succulents prefer full sun that keeps them compact and their colours brighter and stronger.  

During the winter they need protecting from the cold. Remember that the plants are resting, and so they should be placed away from heat sources, preferably in a cool dry but bright place (e.g. in a stairwell or on a window sill). They do not need watering from October to February.
Looked after this way the plants, if in the right place, will even survive light frosts. Indeed, many will be gearing up for prolific spring blossoming.

Watering and fertilising 

In spring (from the end of March) after the winter rest, we begin to water the plants again.We need to remind ourselves that cacti cannot absorb small amounts of water so we need to water rarely but abundantly (the soil needs to be completely soaked but with good drainage to avoid excess water becoming stagnant).

As a rule, it's best to wait until the soil is completely dry before watering again. In fact, the plants like this alternation of watering and natural drying out and will grow normally, free from root rot.
It is advisable to alternate the waterings with light liquid fertilising (2-3 times during the summer season), without making the liquid too concentrated because succulents cannot withstand excess salinity. This is because they come from areas where the soils are naturally low in nutrients.


Growing Practices

During summer there are a few growing practices to be undertaken such as changing the soil and/or and checking the root system.

If a plant has outgrown its pot it is a good idea to change it.
But it is a good idea not to increase the size of the pot too much to prevent exaggerated growth of the root system which would compromise the aerial part. When repotting, replace part or even all of the soil depending on how healthy the roots are.

If the root system is white and branched you only need to add soil. But if the roots are reddish brown, fragile or you can see of small, whitish, fluffy balls on them (cochineal), replace all the soil and prune the roots back to a few millimetres from the collar, let the plants dry for a few days and then repot them in fresh soil.
Cactus-family Succulent online sales catalogue Sanremo Imperia Savona Genoa Liguria Italy | AG SANREMO

Online catalogue

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