THE DESERT NATIVE IS HAVING ITS TIME IN THE CITY SUN
Cactus envy is such a prickly thing. I once had a bad case in London. Not content with having a cool loft apartment with industrialstyle kitchen and concrete floors, my friend Alastair had the biggest cactus you have ever seen. It was a giant redwood amongst cacti. Perhaps there were larger specimens in the Mojave, but not in Shoreditch. By contrast, my little collection of succulents (I thought more was more while Alastair understood the power of one) seemed sad and shrivelled, more naff than Navajo.
However, times change and we all learn size isn’t everything. Cacti dropped off the style radar and I pitied poor Alastair and his massive spiky totem.
But after the recent revival of rubber plants and fiddle-leaf figs, and our crush on vertical gardens, fashion dictates cacti are once again having their time – quite literally – in the sun, and I’m delighted. Their dramatic forms look amazing against our favourite blue walls, decorative tiles and cane-backed furniture. Think Mexico City in Frida Kahlo’s day. It’s a look that works beautifully in the Australian climate.
Heidi Albertiri, of The Life Style Edit (thelifestyleedit.com.au), sees the popularity of cacti as an evolution. “With the resurgence of indoor plants, cacti are a natural progression,” she explains. “Most people have jumped on the plant wagon [only] to realise that maintenance is hard work. Cacti and succulents are low-maintenance and naturally tolerant.”
Garden Life director Richard Unsworth (gardenlife.com.au) says ys Opuntia (“prickly pear”) and Euphorbia orbia (“cowboy”) are the most popular choices: hoices: “They’re the It plants in the inner city.”
But unlike two decades ago, thisis tim time it really is about size. One ov oversized cactus makes more impactact th than a handful of small ones, and lands somewhere between a plant and artwork. Think of it as affordable sculpture.
And it’s all about tough love. “Don’t smother them,” says Albertiri. “Cacti are perfect low-fi companions. Water when the soil has dried out but don’t over over-waterwate as they can rot. Make sure your pot has a drainage hole.”
Unswo Unsworth advises watering indoor cacti mon monthly and not at all during winter. “A “As a general rule, they need a well-lit ro room next to a sunny window.”
Alasta Alastair, you’re on-trend again.
Vogue L Living.