We've been cacti and succulents aficionados for years.
Here at Capra Designs, we have a long-standing love of cacti and succulent plants. So much so that they actually formed a central part of the inspiration for our Back to Nature and Golden collections. A selection of handcrafted hanging indoor planters, designer trays, pots, and other minimalist interior decor objects, inspired by the harsh desert climate of palm springs and a love of mid-century modern design.
Succulents are central to a lot of what we do here and over the years we have become experts on their proper care.
Though they have a deserved reputation as being low-maintenance plants, there are still a few factors to keep in mind if you want them looking and feeling their best.
While our advice is based on sound knowledge of succulents, it is important to highlight here that there is a huge spectrum of different specimens and care requirements vary greatly between them. If in doubt, we suggest asking your local plant nursery or store for the best advice specifically related to your plant.
With that established, let's tackle another question that frequently arises, what exactly is the difference between a cactus and a succulent? While all cacti fall under the category of ‘succulents’ the same can not be said the other way round. Cacti do not possess leaves of any kind, in their place are generally the spines or ‘needles’ that give them their instantly recognizable look. Conversely, Succulents feature thick leaves responsible for the water storage that allows them to thrive even in the driest environments.
In the image below you will see a classic cactus shape on the left and a succulent plant on the right (potted in our Archie Terrazzo Planter and an Etch Plant Pot respectively).
Important Tips for General Cacti and Succulent Care:
- Calling the harshest desserts of the world their natural home naturally means that cacti and succulents require a large amount of sunlight to do well. However, that doesn’t always mean they prefer direct exposure to the sun. Lighting requirements will vary based on the plant but don’t assume they always need to be placed directly beside a light source.
- Cacti and succulents still need watering and great care needs to be taken to ensure they are not over or underwatered. Your succulent should be left to soak in a sink or other small container. Do not water again until the soil is completely dry.
- Building from the last point, it is certainly easier to underwater than overwater your succulent as they are built for environments where access to water is incredibly sparse. Using pots with drainage built in is a must. This will assist in the draining of excess liquid and prevent the roots of your plant from rotting by standing in sitting water. All Capra hanging indoor planters and pots feature a drainage hole in addition to an exclusive designed water tray or plug for peace of mind.
- To further help prevent overwatering, it is recommended you opt for a particularly porous soil mixture with naturally formed air gaps to promote good drainage. A mixture of soil and pumice, sand, or small stands will provide the desired effect.
See the below image for examples of succulents planted in our handmade Back to Nature collection of hanging indoor planters and pots with drainage systems.
Specific Care Tips for Looking After Your Cacti
- Wrinkles forming toward the bottom of a cactus is a tell-tale sign of underwatering. The average cacti need to be soaked in water approximately every 2 weeks to maintain optimal hydration levels.
- Cacti love being placed outdoors where possible. The best time to do this is during Summer when your cacti will receive a healthy dose of sunlight and fresh air. Don’t worry if this is not possible, it is not essential that your cacti spend time outside.
- If and when you need to re-pot your cacti be sure to take care and wear gloves to protect yourself and the plant. The roots of a cactus are particularly fragile, take extra care when removing them from the existing soil.
Specific Care Tips for Looking After Your Succulent
- Succulents need a minimum of six hours of daylight to be at their best. They also have a tendency to lean toward the closest light source. To avoid your succulent bending itself out of shape the pot should be rotated often. If you do see signs of leaning, it might be an indicator of sub-optimum light levels.
- Don’t mist the leaves of your succulent as it can cause them to grow mold.
- Succulents naturally lose and regrow their lower leaves over time, it is not a sign of anything other than their natural development!
- With that being said, if your succulent loses its upper leaves that may be an indicator of too much water.
A well-cared-for succulent or two can make for striking interior decor objects when complemented by the perfect planter. We can’t wait to see how all your healthy cacti and succulents are being used to ‘sharpen’ up your interior decor!
XX - The Capra Designs Team