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Home > Types of Plants > Cacti and other succulents > Soil, Light & Manure
Soil, Manure and Light
Soil, Manure and LightCacti and other succulents require a light and porous soil in which the water drains quickly. Generally the other succulents require richer soil than the cacti. One part loam, half part coarse sand, half part wood ash or charcoal powder well decayed leaf mould is a good soil mixture. If organic manure or leaf mould is not well decayed it may cause rotting of the plant. Rotting is faster in cacti than in other plants if sand is not coarse, it may not provide the porous character of soil which is desired. For epiphytic cacti, liquid manure or fresh cow dung gives richness of colour to the bloom and vigour to the plant.


Most cacti and succulents need as much light as possible, and a south or south-east facing windowsill, conservatory, cold-frame or greenhouse is ideal. The type of plant that can be grown in these different locations is mainly limited by the minimum winter temperature that is likely to be reached. Lots of sunshine is essential to prevent plants from becoming "drawn" and to promote flowering. Although cacti often grow naturally in intense sunlight, they can become adapted to the lower light intensities in e.g. an English climate. Therefore, beware of scorching during the first sunny days of Spring after a long, dark winter. Newly-aquired plants or those grown under shading or low down on the greenhouse staging should be adapted to full sunlight over a few days.
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