The succulent group includes the cacti (Cactaceae) and the so called “other succulents”.
While the Cactaceae are only one plantfamily, the “other succulents” belong to different families.
For example ther are succulents, such as Adenia in the passion flower family (Passifloraceae), Dolichos in the beanplants (Leguminosae), Momordica in the cucumber family (Cucurbitaceae), or Adenium and Pachypodium in the dogpoison family (Apognycaceae).
During the origin of the cacti lies in the new world, thus the American continent, the “other succulents” are mostly occuring in Africa. Madagascar and South Africa are particulary well known for their abundance of “other succulents”.
The “other succulents” are frequently noticeable by their bizarre stature form adapted to their extreme environment.
There are different forms of the Sukkulenz (succus (lat.) = Juice).
On the one hand there are the stem succulents (many Euphorbiaceae), which uses the trunk as water reservoirs; the leave succulents stores the water, like the name already says, in the thick leaves (Crassulaceae). The root succulents (some Liliaceae, Asclepiadeae, Vitaceae) the water reservoir serves also as nutrient storage.
A large group of the succulents are the so-called caudexplants (enl. block or stone plants). These plants have thickened plant parts, which are clearly responsible for water storage. During the dry season usually the succulent leaves are thrown off and the plant outlast the dry period in the leaveless condition. The storage organ can be found both underground (Dolichos, geophytische Euphorbien), halfaboveground (Cucurbitaceae) and aboveground (Cyphostemma, Pachypodium, Pyrenacantha) .
Although Sukkulenten can outlast large dry periods without damage, this plants are not occuring in the typical desert. One finds it both in dry shrubland areas and in tropical coastal regions. The plants are strongly adapted to their environment; growing under trees, in the grassland or also between rocks. These plants are absolute specialists and survival artist.
In the culture most plants, if one considers the natural conditions of these plants, make no problems. Many of them are ideal house plants. thus found already many years ago introduction into our living rooms.Ther are for example the so-called Christ thorn (Euphorbia millii), the Madagascarpalmtree (Pachypodium lamerii), the bottle tree (Nolina recurvata) and the Penny tree (Tylecodon paniculata)
Erythrina (Fabaceae) Cussonia (Araliaceae) – Sclerocarya (Sapindaceae) – and Adansonia (Bombacaceae) – kinds are suitable very well as outdoorplants during the summer.
The dry air of the central heatings harms these plants not as unites conventional house plants. Also for some plants it is not necessary to keep them in a south window, because some are growing also in its natural environment in the shade of trees or shrubs.
Many succulents are noticeable beside their “corpulence”, by beautiful long lasting flowerss and come under optimal conditions also in the room culture to bloom, as e.g. Adenium, Pachypodium and Uncarina.
The substrate should be well drained and have a mineral portion (e.g. pumice, lava). Conventional cactussoil is quite suitable for the largest part of these kinds. Occasional fertilizer gifts (commercial products) save particularly the fast growing types all to frequent repotting. To high fertilizer doses however would affect the characteristic appearance of the plants negatively.
One pours during the growth period, which falls with most kinds into our summer. There are however also classical wintergrower, e.g. Dioscorea elephantipes and Pelargonium species.
The casting rhythm depends strongly on the temperatures and associated needs of the plants.
In each case the substrate between the water gifts should drain to avoid rotting.
During the rest period (mostly from November to March) it is not necessary to water most of the plants. . Certain kinds need however in fully airconditioned areas occasional water gifts to avoid the draining of the fine roots (Adenium obesum). The winter temperature should not fall below 15° C with most kinds.
The beginning rest period indicates the plant by leaves discoloration and/or falling leaves. In the spring the plants begin alone to grow showing buds or leave growth, this shows that the growth period begins and the plant necessarily need water.
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