Succulent Basics

SUCCULENT plants are found widely distributed throughout the world. They are essentially distinguished from other plants because of their whole habit, their characteristic form, and their diversity of shape and colour.

Most of these plants are found in regions where there is slight rainfall, dry air, much sunshine, porous soils, and high temperature during part of the year, and these conditions have given rise to modifications of plant structures, resulting in greatly increased thickening of the stems, the leaves and sometimes the roots, enabling them to store moisture from the infrequent rains and protect themselves against excessive evaporation.

For centuries they have struggled for existence in antagonistic surroundings, and have developed into a race of independent plants, having conquered the difficulties of living.

To cultivate succulent plants successfully, every endeavour should be made to imitate as nearly as possible the conditions prevailing in their native habitats, and this is reasonably possible when they are cultivated in living-rooms and greenhouses, where watering can be controlled and warm dry air congenial to their growth can be provided.

Because most succulent plants are children of the sun, it is necessary for success with them to give them all the sunshine possible. In this country, it is true, we lack sunshine of the strength and amount they are used to, but if the plants are given a light position in the greenhouse or on the window-sill, they respond to what sunshine they get.

All succulent plants require a period of rest during which moisture is withheld. This period varies with the type of plant; some of them rest from October to March and others from December to August.

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