Cacti and succulents are plants that require very little water and, in most cases, thrive on neglect - perfect for the lazy gardener.
The Australian climate lends itself to growing cacti and succulents and many can be cultivated indoors just as easily as outdoors.
In the garden choose a position where plants will receive at least four hours of direct sunlight.
For cacti and succulents grown indoors, place plants in a position where either direct light fills the room or position where they receive strong filtered light.
Succulents are plants that have adapted to growing in arid conditions through being able to store water in either their stems or modified leaves.
Cacti can be considered succulents, but the major difference is that the leaves of cacti have modified into spines.
Statuesque plants can make a bold statement in gardens and when selected carefully in harmony with other landscape elements they can achieve an arresting display.
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One group of plants that has the capacity to provide such majesty are succulents such as aloe species.
Aloes originate from South Africa, so they are well suited to Australian conditions and with over 40 years of hybridising by South African growers, aloes are now more than just another succulent.
The hybrid aloes available these days offer a range of spectacular showy flowers in an array of colours and shapes.
Not to be outdone, the diversity of cacti is astounding; they can be cylindrical, columnar, creeping, elongated, segmented and even candelabra-like.
Size will range from the groundcover varieties reaching only a few centimetres tall to the Arizona desert giant, the saguaro cactus which can grow to heights of ten metres or more.
The spines on cacti also vary in size and colour and stems may be covered by very attractive hairs.
Succulents too are very diverse in their texture, form, and colours but one thing is certain, they are all water efficient.
Most species of cacti and succulents can be grown in pots, but greatest affect is achieved through group plantings.
Care and maintenance is quite simple, provide water every fortnight in the summer months and once a month during the cool months.
Grow plants in a sharp free draining potting mix and lightly fertilise during the summer growth period.
Cacti and succulents are often at their best during winter when many species are in full bloom.
Even without blooms these are truly spectacular plants with an amazing array of foliage colours, textures and form.
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