What's the Difference between Cacti, Succulents and Jungle Cacti?

While cacti and succulents are two types of plants often lumped together, they are two distinct groups of plants that have evolved to adapt to different environmental conditions.

Succulents are plants with fleshy leaves, stems or roots that store water, allowing them to survive in dry, arid conditions. This adaptation makes them well suited to indoor environments, as they can endure extended periods without water and are not susceptible to many diseases or pests. Succulents come in a wide range of shapes, sizes, and colours and include popular species such as Aloe Vera, Jade Plants, and Senecio Rowleyanus (more commonly known as the String of Pearls). 

On the other hand, cacti are a type of succulent specifically adapted to survive in desert environments. Unlike different succulents, cacti have developed specialized structures, such as spines, to protect themselves from predators and conserve water. 

Cacti also have a unique method of photosynthesis called "crassulacean acid metabolism," or CAM, which allows them to conserve water by opening their stomata at night to take in carbon dioxide and closing them during the day to minimise water loss.

While cacti and succulents are well suited to indoor environments due to their low maintenance requirements and attractive appearance, there are a few key differences to consider. For example, cacti typically require slightly more light than other succulents, as they are adapted to bright, sunny conditions in their natural habitats. Additionally, cacti often have spines that can be a hazard to pets and young children.

Succulents and cacti are both fascinating plants well suited to indoor environments due to their low maintenance requirements and attractive and unusual appearance. 

Tropical Cactus!

A whole subgroup of cacti known as tropical cacti has adapted to completely different environmental conditions.

Tropical cacti, such as Rhipsalis, are a group of epiphytic cacti that grow on trees in the rainforests of South and Central America. Unlike their desert-dwelling relatives, tropical cacti do not have spines or thick stems for water storage but instead have delicate, pendulous stems that drape down from the trees on which they grow. This allows them to absorb moisture from the air and nearby sources, such as leaf litter, enabling them to survive in their tropical environment.

Regarding care and maintenance, tropical cacti differ from their desert-dwelling relatives in a few ways. For example, they do not require as much light and can thrive in lower light conditions, making them an ideal choice for north-facing windows or rooms with little natural light. They also need slightly more moisture than other cacti, as they are adapted to more humid environments.

Tropical cacti such as Rhipsalis are a fascinating group of plants that offer a unique and visually appealing alternative to their desert-dwelling relatives. With their delicate stems and low maintenance requirements, they are an excellent choice and can add a touch of tropical charm to any indoor environment. 

Welcome to the world of rare and exotic houseplants! For those passionate about indoor gardening, discovering unique and unusual plants to add to our collection can be a thrilling experience.

This blog will explore the fascinating world of rare houseplants, from the vibrant and colourful to the unusual and obscure. Whether a seasoned plant enthusiast or a beginner looking to start your collection, you will find something here that will inspire you. From their unusual shapes and textures to their rare and exotic blooms, these plants are sure to add a touch of magic to any indoor space. So grab your potting soil, and let's dive into the wonderful world of rare houseplants!


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