What is a succulent plant?
A succulent plant is a plant that has special water storing tissues in either thickened stems, roots, or leaves that has over evolution evolved to survive long periods of draught without water, I like to call Cacti and succulents then ‘Camels’ of the plant world haha!. All cacti are succulents but not all succulents are cacti, although there are many succulents that do resemble cacti in their appearance such as in the Euphorbia Family.
What is a Cactus?
Most people think of a cactus as a plant with spines but that is not always the case as there are plenty of non succulent plants that have spines on them like the common thorn bush or rose bush or Citrus tree, and there are a number of cacti that do not have any spines on them such as the Lophophora williamsii cactus, ( photo below)
For a succulent plant to be classified as a cactus it has to have the presence of areoles, these are small cushion like structures with hairs, spines, and or wooly tufts from which flowers, offshoots, and rarely leaves grow. Areoles are actually modified branches. Other succulent plants such as the Euphorbia’s are not cacti as they lack the presence of areoloes that a true cactus has.
There are two different groups of Cacti, the Desert cacti and the Epiphytic cacti and both groups require very different requirements in their growing conditions that I will cover throughout these growing tip pages.
Here is a video below that I have made for my You Tube channel explaining the differences between a desert cactus and an epiphytic / rainforest cactus :