If your vision of growing cactus involves a dry desert look, think again. Cactus and succulents are one of the hottest garden trends going on right now, and we all should give them a little look. Live in a northern climate and don’t think you can grow them? We cover that too. Here’s how to grow cactus, and some great inspiration in using them as a modern design element to update any garden or landscaping .
Basics Needs of Cactus
- First of all, when most of us think of cactus, we think of the varieties meant for desert environments. While there are many beautiful ones that grow down south, most people don’t know that there are several hardy varieties as well. Check with your local nursery, then check out our guidelines for growing in northern gardens. So number one is that they need to be well matched with their planting zone.
- Second, all cacti need well drained soil. Grow them in a mix of 50 percent soil to 50 percent coarse sand. If growing in containers, use a commercially available cacti mix.
- They need very little water. If you live in an area that gets rain in the summer, than that is probably all they need. If they grow in containers, let them dry out completely before watering.
- They need little fertilizer. For blooming varieties, you may wish to give them a diluted drink of liquid fertilizer just as they start setting buds.
- They need full sun. Duh.
Growing them in the North
So the only trick to growing cacti in the north is to grow the proper varieties. Better Homes and Gardens has a good article on just that right here.
Contain Your Cactus
If you don’t want to be held back by your climate, keep in mind cacti do well in containers. They can be brought inside during the winter to a sun room or other bright warm space. Three tips for you…
- Use gloves. Another duh.
- Use a well drained soil mix made for cacti.
- Don’t over water.
Texture, Design and Interest
So here is where the appreciation for cacti comes in. Fewer plants on this earth have such amazing adaptive qualities. They are a lesson in form and function, in the beauty of Mother Nature and a lesson in her harshness as well. Used in a repeat pattern they are an exceptional design element. Nothing adds more texture and interest to a garden. Aren’t convinced? Check out these inspiring photos.
Growing cactus can be an adventure in modern gardening, and can be the beginning of a whole new obsession no matter where you live!Image Credits: tate-studio, plastolux, indulgy, houzz