What’s the Difference Between Cacti and Succulents?

While there ‘s a difference between cactus and succulents, they ‘re besides closely associate. “ Cactus ” denotes a botanical family. Succulents are a broader group referring to a type of plant included in several botanical families. While all cacti are considered to be succulents, there are succulents that are not cactus .

Cacti and Succulent Popularity

Cacti ( the bigger ones, at least ) are well known even to those who have little sake in gardening, probable in part because Hollywood westerns turned cactus into iconic figures. Succulents have besides increased in popularity due to their low-maintenance care, making them an ideal option for first-time plant owners.

Differences Between Cacti and Succulents

Despite their close relationship, there are some important differences between cactus and succulents :

  • Cactus plants generally have few or no leaves.
  • Cacti are distinguished from the rest of the succulents by the rounded indentations along their stems. These are modified buds called “areoles.” From the areoles spring the spines (usually) for which cacti are best known.
  • A wide variety of non-cactus succulents are native to different regions across the world. By contrast, almost all kinds of cacti are native only to the New World.
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fair as cactus stand out because of their areoles, once you ‘re introduced to the non-cactus succulents, it ‘s normally relatively easy to pick them out from other plants. Because they store water in their foliation and must be ruffianly adequate to survive challenging climates, most sport leaves or modified leaves that, while firm to the contact, have a well up, blue look ( therefore the name, “ succulent ” ) to them. Succulents range from the bantam “ living stone “ ( Lithops ) to the giant saguaro that grows up to 50 feet grandiloquent at maturity .

While people do not eat most types of succulents, there are a few varieties that are comestible. You can use the tasty, alimentary leaves of purslane ( a common lawn weed and lush ) to create salads. Additionally, some people drink the juice from the aloe vera implant .

Succulents that are not cactus include :

aloe vera plant

The Spruce / Michael Marquand

Examples of Cacti

Cacti and succulents are associated with warm areas such as deserts, but some types are quite cold-hardy. The hens and chicks succulent grows in USDA plant boldness zones 3 to 11. Among the cactus, ‘prickly pear ‘ ( Opuntia humifusa ) can thrive in a wide-eyed variety show of climates within zones 4 to 10 .

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Prickly pear grows in clumps reaching up to 14-inches tall, with a width of about doubly that. As it matures, it becomes more prostrate in its increase substance abuse and bears 3-inch yellow flowers. Depending on where you live, the plant may begin blooming in either summer or late spring. The fruit from which the implant derives its diagnose is called a ” tuna. ”

The flatcar, bluish-green vegetative parts are referred to as nopalitos or “ pads. ” The pads resemble a crowd of barbed oregonian tails stuck together. In fact, the Opuntia basilaris species is actually called the “ beavertail cactus. ”

other examples of cactus include :

ball cactus

The Spruce / Krystal Slagle

Uses for Cacti and Succulents

These street fighter, divers, sometimes beautiful plants might prove useful to you as :

  • Xeriscape plants for use in sunny, dry areas
  • Plants to grow in between garden stepping stones (in the case of short succulents such as Angelina stonecrop)
  • Subjects for your terrarium
  • Houseplants that freshen the atmosphere
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agave in garden design

The Spruce / Kara Riley 

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