What Are the Benefits of a Cactus?

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Growing landscaping plants is a common way to add ornamentation to the interior or exterior of a home, but deciding which types of plants to buy can be a daunting task. Cacti are succulent plants that are typically native to dry desert regions in the Americas. While cacti often grow spines that can be painful to touch, they offer several notable benefits as house and landscaping plants.

Low Maintenance

Cacti tend to be low-maintenance plants. In the wild, cacti must often survive months with little or no water, so they are specially adapted to go long periods without nourishment. This means that as a plant owner, you may only have to water cacti once a week or even less frequently while you might have to water other types of plants every day. The low water needs can be especially beneficial in areas where water is scarce or expensive.

Growth Rate

Cacti tend to grow slowly compared to many other types of plants, which can be a benefit for those who don't want their plants to change significantly over time. Homes often have limited space for plants, so fast-growing plants can become a nuisance if they grow outward into living spaces. Fast-growing plants may require frequent pruning or repotting. Cacti may grow less than an inch in height a year, and many varieties tend to grow upward, meaning branches and leaves will not grow outward into living spaces.

Longevity

Cacti tend to be long-lived plants, so it is likely that you won't have to replace them often. According to the National Park Service, saguaro cacti are among the longest-lived types and can live 175 years or longer. Smaller varieties of cacti can also live for many years.

Considerations

Just like other varieties of plants, water needs, longevity and growth rate will vary from one type of plant to another. Cacti also raise certain care concerns. For example, overwatering a cactus can cause it to rot and die, and it can be easy to overwater due to low water requirements. You might only water twice a week and still be overwatering. If you have small children or pets, cacti can present a safety hazard.

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