By Grace Rollerson
The successful cultivation of succulent plants is dependent on soil, temperature, light and moisture.
Growth of most varieties is made during Spring and Summer and therefore the plants will need warmth, sunshine and regular watering from May until September. Then they need to rest and become dormant for the colder months. Although they still need all available light and sunshine, they should be kept cool, 45-50o if possible and watered only occasionally on a sunny day. Gradually reduce watering in the Fall and increase slowly in the Spring as growth begins to show.
Many cacti can be left dry for several winter months if kept cool enough. A sun-porch is often an ideal location for them or a sunny window in a cool room. Succulents are more colorful and do not make unhealthy growth if cool and fairly dry. The cool winter rest also encourages flowering next Summer, in fact is necessary to get flowers on many cacti.
Soil for cacti and succulents should have an open texture to drain off excess moisture. To a good garden soil add coarse sand and peat or leaf-mould, in equal parts — or less if it is sandy soil with a good supply of organic matter. Then add a little crushed charcoal to keep the compost sweet.
Christmas cacti and orchid cacti grow best in leaf-mould or peat with only a little soil and sand added. They also like to be a little warmer in winter, and to have much less sunshine in Summer.
Cacti and Succulents can often take neglect where kindness is fatal. A few days without water is much less dangerous than to be constantly moist. In this respect they are easier to grow then many house plants.
Source: This article is from the very first issue of The Amateurs’ Digest, in May of 1989, when it went by the name Cacti & Other Succulents. There is no ISSN showing on this little 8-page first issue. Very possibly, an ISSN was attributed later.