Cactus plants are unique to the United States and are considered an exotic species. They were first brought to the western United States in the late nineteenth century and since that time has spread to nearly every state. Although many cactus plants are native to Central and South America, most of the plants found here were imported from other parts of North America.
Cactus plants are members of the Cactus family Cactaceae, which includes more than 100 genera and over 1700 known species of this order. The word “Cactus” comes from Ancient Greek, through Latin, to kaktimos, which is the original name of this spiny plant. It is not likely that the word “Cactus” was given its name from any one person, although there are theories that the word was derived from a Greek term meaning “skewer” scab”. There are no other records to support such speculation and, at present, the scientific studies of Cactus flowers and leaves show that Cactus flowers are either flowers or seeds and that they contain chlorophyll.
Cactus flowers are called a plant’s inflorescence or corms. The corms can be either single-celled or multicellular. Single-celled corms are single cells of a plant that grow together, to multicellular corms grow in a cluster. The number of multicellular corms varies with species, but some species grow only one corm while others grow multiple clusters of corms. Cactus flowers can be either fleshy or a combination of flesh and spines.
When a cactus flower is cut open, it will usually display two or three flowers that are separated by a thin white wall. Cactus flowers usually open and close in spring and summer, opening their white-coloured stigmas on an eastward-directed growth.
The most common variety of cactus plants in the western United States is the Mexican or Texas cactus. These types are the widest varieties and are grown in the west, east and southern parts of Mexico, particularly in the states of California, Arizona and Texas.
The other varieties of cactus plants found in the southwestern United States include the arid and desert species that grow in the regions of New Mexico, Arizona, Nevada, Colorado and the states surrounding those areas. These include the mesoamerican types, which grow in the mountains and desert regions of Mexico, and northern parts of Arizona and California, and the cacti of Central America.
Cactus plants vary widely in size, shape and appearance, as do the flowers. Some species can grow up to eight feet tall and have small flowers, while others can grow as large as fifteen feet. The flowers and foliage of some species vary considerably in colour and texture, depending on the species and growing area.
Water and Soil
Cactus plants require different amounts of water during the year. They tend to live more in dry, sunny areas than in areas that receive little rainfall. Most cactus plants do well in high soil but can be adapted to lower soil conditions by reporting during the winter and watering.
Good soil for a growing cactus plant should be made slightly alkaline, with slightly higher pH levels than that of human urine. The pH level can be increased through the use of fertilizer and the addition of certain elements, such as rocks or compost to improve soil drainage.
If you grow a large group of cactus plants, you must fertilize them evenly so that they do not grow too fast and not suffer from a lack of nutrients. Some plants, including cacti, thrive better in clay pots than in loamy soil.
Fertilizing your plants is very easy, although you may want to consider a water-based fertilizer when growing a large collection of plants. For a cactus plant, a solution of water mixed with half bleach and half water can be applied to the soil once a week. For a mesoamerican type plant, a solution of bleach mixed with one part water and one part bleach can be used and left on the plant for a day. For a cactus plant, bleach mixed with half water and one part bleach can be used.
Cactus plants may need to be watered twice a year, but the frequency will depend on the type of plant and the amount of sun, water and fertilizer the plant requires. Other than fertilizing, it is best to keep the soil moist enough during the growing season so that the plants do not dry out. If the weather is very dry or humid, cactus plants should be pruned periodically to allow the roots to recover.