When we’re styling our Cotswold Company home, we’re never short of a cactus or succulent to add some texture and colour to our shots. With forms that range from tall and statuesque to cushions or dangling tentacles; cacti and succulents make original sculptural plants for the home, conservatory or even garden.
The cacti and succulent family consists of several thousand species and are among the easiest of plants to grow (even for those like me who are exceptionally talented at killing plants) providing you follow a few simple rules.
To ensure we’re on the right tracks we asked our plant expert Paul Smith, Owner of The Norfolk Olive Tree Company, to give us his top tips on caring for cacti and succulents.
1.They are fleshy plants that store water enabling them to survive in time of low rainfall so it is important not to over-water them as this will cause them to rot.
2.They require high levels of light, so a sunny windowsill is an ideal spot.
3.They have shallow root systems and thrive best in a bowl and not a deep pot.
4.They require a well-drained gritty soil. Simple!
If you follow these basic rules you’ll be rewarded with plants that offer interest, structure and colour. One of the best ways to get the most from your cacti and succulents is to plant a mini garden or terrarium. To do this you will need a shallow bowl, and in the bottom of the bowl place some stones or broken crockery to help with the drainage.
Fill the bowl with a mix of a light compost and sharp sand to cover the crockery.
Then comes the fun bit…selecting your plants! Most garden centers stock a good supply of cacti and succulents, so pop along and choose the ones that catch your eye. When planting remember to put the tall plants in the middle and any trailing succulents close to the edge so that they can cascade out of your chosen vessel and add a bit of drama!
If you want to conceal the soil from view, add a few stones, small rocks or moss in the gaps.
Place your garden in a nice light spot such as a kitchen windowsill or conservatory and they will even survive most of the year. You can find some beautiful terrarium vessels on Etsy in all shapes and sizes, so you can create a centerpiece for your table or even hang them from a ceiling for a real interior design statement!