Sizes of succulents

Sizes of succulents

Very large and very small succulents

Given the enormous variety and the large number of succulents, it goes without saying that the sizes of these plants are among the most varied. We therefore find very different dimensions, from very large to extremely small.

Among the very small species we have:

  • Gymnocalycium bruchii;
  • Blossfeldia liliputana (there Cactaceae smallest known enough to take its name from the town of Lilliput described in the book Gulliver's Travels written by Jonathan Swift in 1726 where everyone is small;
  • Maihueniopsis ovata;

Then we have very large succulents such as:
  • Carnegia gigantea (Mexican saguaros) which can reach up to 20 m in height and that during thunderstorms the stem swells with water, increasing the diameter by 50%.
  • Pachycereus weberi known as candlestick or cardón espinoso where in the larger forms, at the base it seems that the stem acquires a woody consistency. In reality this is not the case as the fabric remains spongy and at most suberized, but never lignified.


Rare succulents

The species of succulent or succulent plants are so many that at present there is no complete classification, at least with regard to the rare ones, which is why the latter, almost exclusive specimens for collectors, rise to the fore in events dedicated to conservation. of those species that stand out not only for botanical rarity, but for peculiarity and majesty.

The rarity of various species of succulents, combined with the practical aspect linked to the small size of many of them, have interested and continue to interest green-fingered collectors. The prerogative of the latter, rare succulents play a prestigious ornamental role, like an author's painting or a work of art of quality and value, thanks to their statuesque and mysterious appearance with shapes that reproduce columns, spheres, cylinders, which have inspired artists of all kinds.
These are rarities that can only be created in particular climate and exposure conditions. An example of this is the botanical park open to the public "Giardini Ravino" by Giuseppe D'ambra in Forio d'Ischia (Naples), the subject of an important international exhibition held a few years ago, with the object of "rare and collectible succulents" , which was attended by important international companies in the sector, which I had the pleasure of visiting, living in the area.


The graceful flowering of succulents

There flowering of a succulent plant It's a show charming and rich in contradiction. Massive plants with rigid shapes, at the moment of flowering they are able to express an unsuspected grace. Grace supported by selection of flower regulation mechanisms aimed at the probability of fertilization by pollen in extremely difficult conditions.

☛ First the speed: in the desert regions, forced by the great heat to long periods of vegetative rest, after a rain there is a very rapid development of the whole plant, which succeeds in little time to emit the flower.

☛ Secondly, the possibility of being quickly noticed and pollinated by insects, since the flowers of succulents of sub-desert origin cannot last on the plant more than a few days or even a few hours to open, in fact, they use the water reserves stored in the stem and leaves, if any.


Cultivation techniques:

Agaves are plants that grow well in health if planted mainly in the ground, both in summer and winter. Ideal temperatures are around 20 and 30 30C. If grown in pots, it is best to move the agave outdoors during the spring and summer.

As for watering, agave should be watered sparingly and very regularly. During the winter months it must be watered just to keep the soil a little moist. During the vegetative restart, around the beginning of spring, it is necessary to water them again gradually, but watering not excessively, enough to keep the soil moist and not wet. From the end of summer it is necessary to start reducing watering again.

We remind you that it is necessary never to leave the water in the saucer, because the agave does not tolerate water stagnation in any way, which could easily cause root rot and fungal diseases. To avoid the same problem, we strongly recommend never wetting the leaf tip.

Fertilization must be carried out from spring to early autumn, then from April to October, and the agave must be fertilized every three weeks with liquid fertilizer, administered together with water for irrigation using a specific fertilizer for cacti. During autumn and winter, however, fertilization must be suspended completely.

As for flowering, agave blooms only once in its life, and then dies, and this happens when the plant has reached maturity, approximately after ten to thirty years and over.

Flowering occurs in late spring-early summer.

As for pruning, however, agave should never be pruned. It is simply necessary to eliminate the basal leaves, which gradually dry up, in order to prevent them from becoming a vehicle for parasitic diseases. If necessary, also infected or diseased leaves must be eliminated. To avoid causing considerable damage to the plant, care must be taken that the tool used is perfectly clean and disinfected, possibly with a flame, to avoid infecting the tissues.

Lп agave are repotted annually if they are large in size because they continue to expand. The repotting operation must be carried out at the beginning of spring, while the small ones can be well repotted every two or three years. For repotting, a soil for cacti is used which is already ready at your nursery or in shops that also deal with gardening products such as brico. To these soils must be added a little bit of very fine sand.

For all plants, but in particular for the agave, we recommend using terracotta pots that favor the breathing of the earth. The pot should not be too large, but slightly larger than the one used previously.

as for multiplication, agave multiplies by releasing basal shoots that form in the mother plant when it has reached a minimum length of ten centimeters.

These shoots must be cut with a sharp knife or pruning shears, which in any case must be cleaned and disinfected and left to dry every two or three days. After which they are placed in a compost for cactaceae and sand, and kept at a temperature of 15їЅC. This compost must be kept constantly moist and away from sunlight until the seedlings take root. At this point they can be repotted and treated like adult plants.


But when is a succulent plant defined as rare?

A plant is generally defined as rare if it is difficult to find in nature or if it is difficult to cultivate.

Many species of spontaneous succulent plants are disappearing, and therefore become rare, due to human action, but also due to poor reproductive capacity and their slow growth which makes survival difficult. Among these we remember Ariocarpus, Astrophytum asterias, Escobaria minima, Mammillaria pectinifera, Euphorbia ambovombensis, to name a few.

Other succulents present in nature in inaccessible places are difficult to collect and cultivate such as the Discocatus which grows in the crevices of the rocks and therefore is very difficult to collect or the beautiful "stones" with a stone shape that grow very slowly.

Other rare plants, on the other hand, are due to an anomaly in the plant, such as the crests that take on unique and unrepeatable crest shapes similar to a sculpture.


4. Tacitus Bellus

This succulent houseplant has leaves large and succulent a triangular shape. There Tacitus Bellus is originally from Mexico. It has beautiful ones flowers to form of star with a pink to white color. Flowering occurs in spring and summer. This ideal apartment plant can stand the cold, so need of an environment hot and constant around 20 degrees.


Succulents from Africa: Adenium obesum

Those who first described this species immediately noticed the disproportion between the stem and the rest of the plant, as the huge diameter compared to the modest height makes the specific name of obesum.

Note how " desert Rose "it is a very demanding species in terms of minimum temperatures, as it fears frost and is therefore suitable mostly for greenhouse cultivation.

Beautiful are its white and pink flowers that also appear in pots, where the plant looks like an eternal bonsai.

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Marco Alberti "Succulents".

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