Saturday, 1 July 2017

cactus addict

cacti

If you follow me on Instagram you'll realise I have a pretty obsessive personality, and that is mostly evident in my taste in interiors. Two things you will find hundreds of in my flat: Diptyque candles and cacti. I probably only bought my first cactus about three years ago, and it wasn't until I moved into my flat a year and a half ago that I really started stocking up. But since then my obsession has steadily grown, to the point where I buy one probably every other week and I've pretty much reached saturation point. Two things struck me when I assembled them all for these photos: firstly, yeah I do have a lot of cacti crammed into a two bed flat, don't I? And secondly: how empty and lifeless the rest of my flat looks without them.

cactus

Because I firmly believe that there is no better way to bring life and interest and cosiness to your home than with plants. I have a couple of non-cactus plants: a giant monstera which I love, some herbs on my kitchen windowsill and some white orchids. But it's cacti (I'm including succulents in that bracket if you're wondering) which have captured my heart. I've tried to diagnose why this is and I just can't put my finger on it. I love the way they look: simple as that. It does help that they're very low maintenance, too, because I live on my own, so when I'm travelling for work I don't have to worry about getting someone to water them. They survive just fine without me (same can't be said for the herbs). And I respect that in a plant.

So below I've shared some of my top tips for buying, displaying and caring for your cacti. Don't forget to tag me on Instagram if you want to share pictures of yours: I'd love to see them!

succulents

Where to buy them
Most of mine are just from local garden centres. Stock varies massively, so get in the habit of having a few garden centres on rotation and visit a different one each week. If you're in London you have the privilege of being close to Prick, Dalston's cactus boutique and pretty much my spiritual home (great for rarer species like opuntia). If you're not, rejoice because they are starting online delivery very soon (can't wait!) The other online shop I use is Waitrose Garden. Otherwise IKEA always have a good range (in store only), plus check out stores like Homebase.

How to display them
I don't think you can beat a concrete pot. Instagram followers may remember a few months back that I was raving about an Etsy shop called Sort Cement which produced the most beautiful concrete pots at reasonable prices. To my dismay one day said shop disappeared without a trace and I'm still really sad about that, because I just can't find pots that good anywhere else. However, Hay's polystone mix pots are a good alternative (linked below), although they don't do them in white, and Trouva have a good range. H&M's metallic pots are a good budget option, as is IKEA's range. I usually repot mine, mainly because I hate the orange plastic pots they come in, but this can be pretty difficult with the super spiky varieties. My friend and fellow cactus obsessive Marion gave me a good tip: cut the plastic pot off and then hold it by the root ball as you repot, rather than trying to lift it out by the plant. She also discovered the best potting gravel: aquarium substrate. Visit your local pet store to find it: it usually comes in a range of colours (this is what the white and black stones are in my pictures).

How to care for them
The only way I've ever killed cacti is too much water. If in doubt, just barely water at all; most of mine get watered about once or twice a year. This is especially true of the fleshier succulents: these really hate being overwatered and are often fussier and harder to keep alive than spiny cacti. They prefer being in the light, so windowsills are usually the best option. And be aware that sometimes no matter what you do, they just die. Accept it and buy another one!

house plants

cactus collection


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