Cactus plants are familiar to us, especially for lovers of houseplants. We need to know that cactus belong to the family Cactaceae with more than 2000 varieties of various colors and shapes. Cactus is known to adapt to hot climates as well as deserts with low rainfall. The anatomy and physiology of cactus make them able to conserve water and survive harsh environments.
Cactus have left in the form of thorns. Thorns help reflect sunlight so that the cactus stays cool. Besides, thorns also protect from birds and animals that want to get water from cactus. Ordinary cactus live between 25 to 300 years. The highest cactus can reach 20 m. The cactus is a type of pachycereus pringlei. Moreover, the shortest cactus is blossfeldia liliputiana, which is only a few centimeters high. A unique fact is, cactus can serve as a reservoir of natural water. The liquid stored in his body looks like a viscous liquid that is safe if consumed by humans.
Cactus plants as a gift
The unusual and varied appearance of cactus makes this plant one of the best options to reward someone. Cactus is classified as a plant that is easy to grow and not easy to die. Cactus treatment is not complicated. We only need to water it once to twice a week.
Also, cactus can be a gift choice because cactus has a pretty interesting meaning. Some interpret cactus as a symbol of strength. In Hanakotoba, Japan, cactus are considered symbols of sexual attraction, while westerners consider cactus symbols of chastity.
The living philosophy of the cactus
There are many life lessons we can take from this plant. Although the cactus looks strong, it also has a soft side. When someone hurts him, he will remove the sap as a marker he is grieving. Cactus also teach us to be good at taking care of ourselves. Although not given special attention, cactus will still be able to survive.
Benefits of having a cactus at home
Besides enhancing the aesthetics of the room, cactus plants can also improve focus. A study from the University of Michigan revealed that cactus plants could increase memory retention by 20 percent. Cactus can also prevent disease. Because like plants in general, cactus also produce oxygen. Cactus can clean the air and help our breathing.
Types of ornamental cactus
Cactus have varying sizes. They are ranging from large to small or commonly called mini cactus. This mini cactus is usually used as an ornamental plant. Here are the types of cactus that you can refer to.
1. Acanthocereus tetragonus
This type of cactus is commonly referred to as the fairy castle cactus. This cactus is shaped like a castle dangling upwards and has many branches. This cactus can reach a height of 1 meter with white or yellow flowers. This cactus is an indoor cactus that originated in America and is quite popular.
2. Mammillaria fraileana
Mammillaria fraileana is a small cactus with a height of up to 15 cm. This cactus has a red flower with a diameter of 3 cm. The petals have an older red stripe. The main stem is round in shape and covered in long reddish-brown spines. If the flower has grown, the size will be quite large and will appear small stems.
3. Mammillaria elongata
Mini cactus-type mammillaria elongata consists of many stems that resemble fingers. Fine yellow spines cover the entire surface. This cactus grows to a size of 20 cm and has white flowers. This type of cactus can last a long time when placed in a shady place or slightly exposed to sunlight.
4. Astrophytum coahuilense
This type of mini cactus is also known as the bishop’s hat. This cactus has a look and shape that resembles stars and star fruit. The stem has a ball-like shape. This cactus has yellow flowers. If you want to take care of this type of cactus, pay attention to the placement. Try to put this cactus in the room with a temperature of about 40 degrees Celsius.
5. Gymnocalycium paediophilum
This small cactus has a round stem that branches or resembles a pumpkin fruit with horns as a place where flowers grow. Uniquely, the part of the horn where the flower appears is not filled with thorns. The flowers are pink and often appear in summer. The level of the flat layer is a unique feature of the cactus. Its shape almost resembles a rounded star, making this cactus suitable placed on a circular tube-shaped pot. This cactus is from Paraguay.
Just like other mini cactus, this cactus treatment is also easy. It’s just that this cactus can’t be exposed to excessive sunlight. This cactus usually lives among shrubs or grasses, so it can not be overexposed to the sun. If it is excessive, the flowers on the cactus will disappear.
6. Opuntia cochenillifera
This type of cactus is commonly referred to as ‘centong’ cactus or Javanese people usually call it ‘tentong’. The main stem is short or up to 20 cm in diameter. The flower crown of this plant has many red petals and in it, there are many stamens.
The plant is scattered throughout the tropics of the world. This plant can also receive full sunlight. This plant’s blooming time ranges from June to July and the preferred type of soil is the alkaline soil type.
This type of cactus can also produce fruit that you can consume. The fruit is often called prickly pear. Prickly pears are shaped like prickly pears or resemble dragon fruit. This fruit can reduce cholesterol and can lower the need for insulin in people with diabetes. Besides, prickly pear fruit can also nourish the skin of the face. Usually, this fruit is processed into face oil, serum, toner, and face wash.
Tips for taking care of cactus
First, make sure the cactus is in a place that has a good light source. But do not expose the sun directly. Because if exposed to direct sun, the color of the cactus can become yellowish. During the rainy season, you can put a cactus in front of the house. But when the dry season comes, it is better to put the cactus in a place that is exposed to light, like by the window.
Second, give fertilizer to help improve nutrients in cactus. Combine fertilizer with soil and keep the measure proportional. Giving too much fertilizer is not suitable for plants.
Third, select the pot with holes at the bottom. Cactus will decay at the root if it is submerged for too long. Also, choose pottery or terracotta-based pots. Pots with these basic materials can absorb and channel the remnants of water in the roots and soil.
Finally, flush the cactus twice a week. Cactus are not recommended to be watered frequently because they can inhibit growth. But that doesn’t mean cactus don’t need water. Indoor cactus still need a little water to prevent dryness. During the rainy season, it is best to do watering once a week. The decay of stems or roots can occur when the cactus body does not absorb water well. The soil will become claustrophobic and inhibit the air circulation of the cactus. Therefore, do not overdo it in doing the watering.