Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Succulents - What do you know about them


Experience proves me, that the chance of falling in love with inside door plants is inspired mostly by these small, green creatures. It always starts with 2 little pots of succulents and 2-3 small cactuses. Especially, it is so appropriate and such a good beginning for kids, who wants to learn and practice.
But what do we know about succulents?  
 Also, known as fat plants, because usually they have parts that are more than normally thickened and fleshy. The reason of that is the ability they have to retain water in arid climates or soil conditions. The word "succulent" comes from the Latin word sucus, which means juice. Succulent plants store water in various structures - leaves and stems. Some definitions also include roots, so that geophytes that survive unfavorable periods by dying back to underground storage organs may be regarded as succulents. Because of their striking and unusual appearance they are often grown as ornamental flowers. They are known at least 60 different plant families that contain succulents.  In some families, such as Cactaceae, Agavoideae, Aizoaceae, and Crassulaceae, most plants are succulents. The habitats of these water preserving plants are often in areas with high temperatures and low rainfall. Succulents have the ability to thrive on limited water sources, such as mist and dew, which makes them equipped to survive in an ecosystem which contains scarce water sources.  Plants adapted to living in dry environments such as succulents are termed xerophytes. However, not all xerophytes are succulents, since there are other ways of adapting to a shortage of water, e.g., by developing small leaves which may roll up or having leathery rather than succulent leaves.
Those who grow succulents as a hobby use the term in a different way to botanists. The storage of water often gives succulent plants a more swollen or fleshy appearance than other plants, a characteristic known as succulence. In addition to succulence, succulent plants variously have other water-saving features. Many succulents come from dry areas such as steppes, semi-desert, and desert. High temperatures and low precipitation force plants to collect and store water to survive long dry periods. Some species of cactus can survive for months without rainfall..Succulents may occasionally occur as epiphytes - "air plants" - as they have limited or no contact with the ground, and are dependent on their ability to store water and gain nutrients by other means; this niche is seen in Tillandsia. Succulents also occur as inhabitants of sea coasts and dry lakes, which are exposed to high levels of dissolved minerals that are deadly to many other plant species. Succulents are very difficult to kill, and if properly potted require little maintenance to survive indoors. They are very adaptable houseplants and will thrive in a range of indoor conditions. Succulents can be propagated by different means. The most common one is the vegetative propagation. They include cuttings where several inches of stem with leaves are cut and after healing produce a callus. After a week or so, roots may grow. A second method is division consisting of uprooting an overgrown clump and pulling the stems and roots apart. The easiest one is allowing the formation of callus from a leaf. The vegetative propagation can be different according to the species.


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