Succulents: where does the term cactus come from

Succulents: where does the term cactus come from

Where does the term cactus refer to succulents come from

Call succulents generically cactus, comes from the Greek káktos "Burning, sort of thistle" used by the great Theophrastus (Greek philosopher and botanist who lived between 371 and 287 BC) in his work Historia Plantarum. Theophrastus in fact speaks of a very particular genus of plants of the god family Cactoids whose fruit is a thorny fleshy berry. Hence the name cactus identifying with it all the plants whose sting caused burning. It is evident that Theophrastus was referring to plants that had nothing to do with the current ones Cactaceae as, in his time, the third century BC, the new world had not yet been discovered so he could not know them since the Cactaceae they were found exclusively on the American continent which was discovered in 1492.Charles Linnaeus (Swedish physician, botanist, naturalist and academic who lived between 1707 and 1778), however, kept the name cactus, to indicate some American thorny plants and was later used to indicate the family, Cactaceae precisely.

Bibliographic sources

Fat plants

The fat plants or rather the succulent plants are that type of plant it presents aquifer parenchymal tissues capable of storing large quantities of water during the rains for use it in periods of drought.

They are therefore plants that also adapt to extreme heat and are able to survive in areas with little rainfall or water in general.

The fabric is also called succulent in that it absorbs water to swell and enlarge, taking different shapes including spherical, rosette, columnar, flattened etc.

Succulents are often identified with the generic term cactus which is instead a small family of succulents.

10 outdoor succulents that stay green all year round!

Not all succulents, however, resist cold and low temperatures well, especially if we live in areas where the thermometer is even below zero. It is necessary to choose outdoor succulents, stronger and more resistant than common succulents for apartment, carefully and carefully evaluating exposure to the sun, soil and irrigation.

The fat plants they are called "succulent" plants due to particular fabrics called aquifer parenchyma, which allow it to store large quantities of water, which the plant will use during periods of drought. Excess water also gives the leaves and stems the swollen and fleshy appearance, typical of all succulent plants, while the shapes are different depending on the family they belong to. You will have it like this succulents with spherical, elongated or rosette shape.

The genre of succulent plants, includes many varieties of species, with very different characteristics depending on the family they belong to. Some of these succulents also have beautiful flowers that stay in bloom for a long time, if the plants are cared for in the right way.

Here are the 10 easiest outdoor succulents to grow

1) Echeveria

There Echeveria it's a succulent plant that belonging to the family of Crassulaceae and is originally from Mexico. The name of this succulent plant was given to it in memory of the Mexican painter Atanasio Echeverria, famous for his splendid paintings depicting these and other plants. Echeveria is a genus that has dozens of species of succulents, with fleshy leaves that form roses, more or less large depending on the species. The Echeverie can have different colors, ranging from green to gray-blue. Echeveria is one succulent plant with flowers bells of pink or red color that bloom in spring and summer from the center of the rosette where long stems sprout.

The Echeverie they are very easy to grow and are ideal as winter balcony plants or semi-shady garden plants (which receives direct sunlight in the early morning). In fact, these plants love the light and the sun during the winter, but fear the direct rays of the sun during the summer months because they are too strong for their leaves. They withstand even very cold temperatures well, but if the winter is particularly cold and the temperature drops below freezing, we recommend protect them from frosts with a breathable cloth or by moving them to a more sheltered place.

2) Cactus (Tricocerius Pasacana)

With the term "cactus" it refers not to a plant, but to an entire family of succulent plants, the Cactaceae which includes approx 3000 species and 120 genera. Cacti come in very different shapes and sizes depending on the species and only some can be chosen as outdoor succulents, including the Trichocereus Pasacana. This plant, unlike the other succulents of the Cactaceae family, grows well outdoors, in pots or in the garden, and can survive even in temperatures as low as -10 degrees.

This plant has a columnar shape and can grow over time up to a height of about 10 meters. To make it grow, it must be placed in very bright and sunny places and with a very well drained soil. Peculiarity of this succulent outdoor plant, is that it blooms in the summer at night. If we're lucky and if we've looked after ours well Trichocereus Pasacana, this is a succulent plant with flowers very beautiful white or rosé wines, which will blossom at sunset and remain open for 1-2 days.

3) Aloe Vera

As with the Cactus, Aloe is also a family of succulent plants which has several hundred different species, united by rosette-shaped leaves pointed at the apex, sometimes with thorns. Among the different species of Aloe, the best known and that can be grown both as a succulent plant and as a succulent outdoor plant, it is Aloe Vera . To make theAloe Vera outdoors, it must be placed in bright places, with direct sunlight only in the early hours of the morning. The ground will have to be dry and well drainedIn fact, like all succulents, Aloe Vera also needs little water and for this reason it must be sheltered from heavy rains and frosts.

In spring, beautiful ones are born from the center of the rosette tubular, red, orange or yellow flowers which remain in bloom throughout the summer. Aloe it has been used for millennia by man for its very numerous healing properties. In fact, the Aloe leaves contain a gelatinous substance with a strong refreshing, anti-inflammatory and moisturizing power. Since ancient times, these leaves, after being broken, were applied to wounds, burns and scalds. Today Aloe is used to produce medicinal products, cosmetics, decoctions and herbal teas. Aloe is one succulent plant with flowers cluster-shaped pink-red or yellow that bloom in spring.

4) Sedum Palmieri

Another kind of succulent plants which includes more than 600 species is the Sedum. These plants are native to the northern hemisphere, both from the cold regions (such as the mountains of the Himalayas) and from the temperate ones (such as the tropical areas of Mexico) and belong to the large Crassulaceae family. Several species also grow wild in Italy on walls and in rock gardens, others are grown in pots or in the garden as outdoor succulents, thanks to their adaptability to low temperatures and frosts. Among these species, there is the Sedum Palmieri, a very pretty and decorative succulent plant, really easy to grow.

To make it grow well, it takes very little: place it in a pot on the balcony or in the garden in a bright location (even if it's not in full sun it's fine, but to ensure good flowering, make sure it gets a few hours of sunshine a day). The soil must always be well drained and you won't have to water it too much: in winter rainwater will suffice and in summer it should be watered every 10-15 days. Sedum is one succulent plant with yellow flowers in the shape of a star that bloom from February, if you have followed these guidelines. In October, the rosette-shaped leaves will take on a beautiful reddish color typical of the autumn season. The Sedum it is also an important plant beneficial properties is therapeutic, similar to those of Aloe Vera.

5) Agave Americana

6) Mammillaria zeilmanniana

There Mammillaria zeilmanniana it's a succulent plant which is part of the Cactus species and can be grown in pots both outdoors and as succulent houseplant. The origin of this plant is the Mexico central and is very popular on balconies and terraces for its particularity: it has a rounded and squat shape, does not reach great heights and tends to develop in width, up to a maximum of 5 cm in diameter. One of its most peculiar characteristics are the thorns, black and white that cover the entire surface of the plant.

To make it grow well, it is essential cultivate it in the right soil: calcareous but rich in nutrients, which help the plant to resist outdoors even during the winter. As with all succulents, it must not be watered too much, in order not to risk making mistakes, you must always touch the ground and make sure it is dry. If kept in a sunny place, the Mammillaria zeilmanniana it's a succulent plant with pink flower which will blossom and remain in bloom all summer.

7) Rebutia Minuscula

There Rebutia Minuscula it's a succulent outdoor plant which belongs to the family of Cactaceae and includes a large number of species native to the mountainous areas up to 4000 m of altitude of Bolivia and Argentina. As for the Mammillaria zeilmanniana, also this succulent plant has a rounded shape and does not reach high heights.

A feature that makes this plant the ideal choice for decorating and furnishing terraces, balconies and flower beds in the garden, are the flowers, orange, red or yellow in color depending on the variety, which grow directly on the stem from early spring to late autumn. Although this succulent plant with flowers it resists well even at low temperatures, its ideal position is in a sunny place, especially if you want to take full advantage of the flowering. If the climate is too harsh and with intense frosts, we must cover the Rebutia Minuscula with a breathable sheet, or move it inside, to more sheltered places.

8) Sempervivum Tectorum

The genus of Sempervivum belongs to the Crassulaceae family and they are a species in continuous and progressive evolution. In fact, it often happens that new species are born so quickly, that it can happen that they are not classified in botany. In the Italian territory the Sempervivum tectorum, one succulent outdoor plant widely used in construction due to its ability to insulate and waterproof roofs and surfaces of various types.

The Sempervivum Tectorum today it is very popular as an outdoor succulent plant for beautify balconies and gardens, first of all why withstands well in all types of climate, from the more rigid ones in Northern Italy (managing to survive for long months even under the snow), to the more temperate ones in the South (also growing in rocky and arid soils thanks to the ability of the roots to penetrate deeply and collect the necessary nutrients ). These plants are also very decorative: the colors of its leaves change from intense green in winter to red in autumn, and the flowers have beautiful colors in pink, purple and lilac tones. This succulent plant with flowers pink and purple, it should be placed in sunny places, in rock gardens or in pots with very rich and well-drained soils, in order to make it grow and bloom well.

9) Astrophytum

L'Astrophytum it is a genus of succulent plant belonging to the cactaceae family, very decorative because of its very particular star shape and of the numerous white dots in relief scattered all over the stem, which in nature favored its camouflage in the rocky environments in which they normally lived. This fat plant is native to Mexico and is very popular for embellishing balconies and terraces, both for its original shape and for the beauty of its yellow flower, which is born every spring from the top of the plant.

There are several species of Astrophytum: the most common and easy to grow are the species myryostigma is ornatum, while the species asterias it is very slow growing and is especially appreciated by collectors and enthusiasts. To grow this plant, the starting point is the soil, which must be well drained and alkaline. Unlike the others outdoor succulents, this succulent plant with flowers it cannot stand too cold winters, excessive rain and humidity. This is why it must be kept on the balcony or terrace in a sheltered and protected area, in very sunny places.

10) Jovibarba Sobolifera

Jovibarba is a genus of fat plant to which 3 species belong: Jovibarba arenaria, Jovibarba hirta and Jovibarba Sobolifera. The characteristics of this outdoor succulent plant are similar to those of Sempervivum, which is why the two plants are very similar and sometimes it is easy to confuse them. What makes the Jovibarba Sobolifera one of the succulent plants mostly grown outdoors on balconies and terraces, is its extraordinary resistance to any type of climate: hot, cold, frost, drought. This is thanks to the ability of this plant to adapt to the environments in which it is found, from rocky crevasses, to Alpine peaks, to busy and polluted cities, even if it is not fully included in the list of antismog plants.

There Jovibarba Sobolifera moreover, it is capable of reproducing very quickly, occupying large spaces in a short time, both in pots and in the garden. In early spring this incredible succulent plant blooms with yellow-green flowers which remain on the plant until the beginning of autumn.

How to take care of indoor succulents

Succulents last a long time and can be left alone for two weeks or more. All you need is the optimal position and some specific accessories and products, which you can find in any shop or nursery.

  • Vases and saucers: plastic and ceramic containers are always good, because they retain moisture and reduce watering. You can also use earthenware pots, but in this case you will have to wet your plants more, because the material retains less water.
  • Light and temperature: choose a bright location, preferably in the south and near a window, preferably above 13 ° C.
  • Watering: Especially in summer, water the succulents regularly, but do not abundantly, as too much water can cause the roots to rot. In winter, even just one watering per month may be enough.
  • Topsoil: succulents need a suitable soil, which allows good aeration and a sandy consistency.
  • Repotting: as with any other plant, when it grows it needs to be repotted in order to find more space in depth for the roots. If there are any thorns or quills, use a pair of gloves.
  • Fertilizer: succulents should be fertilized once a month. Keep the plant evenly moist for three days so that the fertilizer nutrients reach the roots.


Giant cacti

Giant Cacti are specimens of succulents that weigh over ten tons and extend over ten meters in height. Present almost exclusively in areas of North America, these cacti have a very slow growth. In fact, it can take decades to reach ten meters in height. They are very long-lived, even living over a hundred years. In some areas of North America, indeed, they are configured as real trees, also producing edible fruits and seeds that can be used for grinding.

Aloe Vera

Surely you have already heard of the various benefits of using theAloe Vera this succulent plant has exceptional properties, such as, for example, the healing and healing one and also the emollient and nourishing one. In addition, its aesthetic appearance is a lot of fun and will make your apartment more beautiful!

10 - Rebutia Minuscula

There Rebutia Minuscula it's a succulent outdoor plant which belongs to the family of Cactaceae,has a rounded shape and develops mostly in width.
THE flowers, orange, red or yellow depending on the variety, are one of the characteristics that make this plant the ideal choice for decorating and furnishing terraces, balconies and flower beds in the garden.
It resists well even at low temperatures, but it is better to find it a sunny place, especially if you want to see flowering. If the climate is too harsh, cover it with a breathable sheet, or move it inside.