Cuckoo for cacti
Cacti and succulents are both fleshy desert plants but cacti have areoles (cushion-like buds) from which their shoots, spines and flowers grow.
Both are at home in an environment of low rainfall, low humidity and no frost. You can grow them indoors but make sure they are not subject to humid conditions.
Give cacti a position in full sun with protection from strong winds. Always check the label before planting, as certain species will have slightly different light requirements and there are many succulent varieties that tolerate shadier positions. The best spot indoors for cacti is a north-facing windowsill.
Cacti and succulents must be grown in free-draining soil. An easy way to improve drainage in the garden is to build a raised bed and fill with sandy soil or a cactus mix. In pots, use a special blend formulated for these plants.
During the cold months, cacti are dormant, so can survive on little or no water. But during their growing season, over the warmer months, they benefit from periodic soakings.
Water in the early morning or late afternoon, every 1-2 weeks, letting the soil dry out in between. For pots, remove the saucer and allow water to drain through for 20-30 seconds. Indoor cacti also need regular water during the growing season.
Wait until young cacti are established, about 3-4 years, before feeding. Use a low-nitrogen fertiliser in spring. For indoor plants, use a slow-release fertiliser at half strength or liquid food diluted to quarter strength.