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Small cacti are very suitable for miniature gardens. A porous container or one with drainage holes is essential. Don't mix cacti with other succulents unless their growing needs are the same: some have different light, water and compost needs.
Another way to arrange a collection of suitable cacti is to use a window-like display case, provided it is sunny and draughtproof. A shelf could be built out from the sill, or a series of small shelves put in at each side, equipped with plastic drip trays of the same size. The trays should be filled with gravel or pebbles so that the pots do not stand in their own drips after watering. Or build a glazed framework outside a sash window and use this as a small conservatory. In winter leave one sash open at night so that the warmth of the room reaches the plants. It is also important to cover the outside glass at night (with paper or other material) to prevent the external cold affecting the plants. Some cacti and succulents suitable for growing indoors are:
Haworthias. Dark green to brown stemless rosettes of leaves, some varieties looking rather like Pine cones. Flowers are greenish-white, small and appear to have lips. These succulents prefer shade, otherwise they are easy to grow. Aloes. Very mixed group of plants, varying from dwarf rosettes of leaves to almost tree-like specimens and climbers. Flowers are usually tubular, orange or red and borne on long central stems. Very tolerant plants to grow under the
general conditions described ' above.
Gasterias. Extremely popular because they are easy to grow. Stemless leaves, dark green to brown with attractive white markings, often grow sideways from each other, not forming a complete rosette. Reddish, green-tipped flowers are carried on long curving stems.
Rebutias. A beginner's delight, they grow easily and flower freely. They are bright green, dwarf, clustered plants. Sometimes webby and sometimes spiny, they have stemless flowers in various shades of red and yellow.
Opuntias. Varied genus in appearance, the most common varieties usually having large, flat, green, spiny or hairy stems which grow out of each other to give a sculptured appearance. The open flowers - red or yellow - grow straight from these and art produced freely. Some even fruit and a few are edible.
Epiphyllums (previously called Phyllocactus). Leaf-like green stems, sometimes with prickles, and large flowers open during the day. The flowers are usually red though some hybrids are white. Each has several petals, and more flowers buds follow on the shod flower stem. They are easy to grow, but require regular watering when it flower, usually spring/early summer.
Zygocactus. Commonly called Christmas Cactus, as it produces large tubular red flowers freely during the winter Stems are green and leaf-like, frequently curving over the edge of the pot It needs water and liquid fertilises regularly when the flower buds form Very easy to grow.
Notocactus. Green-brown 'columns usually heavily covered with spines which freely produce Many-petallex flowers. One of the easiest Cacti ts grow and very popular. Mammillaria. Large and easy to grow with plants usually forming sing circular clumps, occasionally producing small off shoots. One or two varietie are more columnear in shape but al produce rings of red, yellow or whit flowers regularly each year.
Lithops. Commonly called Stone a Pebble Plants, their greeny brown ani white marked shapes are similiar size and contour. Usually they grow clumps of white or yellow flowers. is important to keep them dry durid their 'resting time' from winter to earl summer.
Echinocactus, Very spiny, tall, ribbeC circular plants, they produce flowers rarely when artificially cultivated, but are otherwise easy to grow. Best known is E. grusonii, with its golden yellow spines. A little lime added to the compost is beneficial.
Chamaecereus. Attractive low growing plants with rounded prickly branched stems producing scarlet/orange tubular flowers each year. They should be handled with care as the stems are brittle, but they root from broken pieces. Kalenchoe. Easy to grow but they like richer and more moist compost than most cacti and succulents. They vary in height, but can grow up to 6 feet and produce attractive leaves of green, grey or brown on short or long stems, according to variety. Flowers are usually red and borne in clusters.
Echeveria. Rosettes of multi-coloured leaves with a variety of shapes are produced at soil level or on stems several inches tall. The plants in this easy-growing group are as attractive out of flower as in bloom. The blossoms are usually a reddish colour.
Euphorbia. The vast family of Euphorbiacea produces many types of plants as well as a few succulents. The latter are so varied in form as to be almost impossible to describe in general. They may be tree-like, have leaf stems, be columnear, look like leaves, be very spiny, have some normal simple leaves, or produce single or clusters of flowers in various colours. Normal cacti and succulent growing conditions will suit them all.