Cactus addicts rally to share the love
AFTER plugging "cactus" into Google and coming back with 87,800,000 entries, my suspicion is confirmed: Cactuses are hot.
Indeed, I see the retro-inspired plants everywhere. In magazines, on homewares, t-shirts; greeting cards and in wedding bouquets. Succulents are trending.
In Australia we have very few native cactuses or succulents, but with our ideal growing climate, we have championed these fleshy plants from Africa and the Americas.
Across the land there are cactus and succulent societies, some dating back to the 1920s and still going strong, with memberships buoyed by the plants' latest surge in popularity.
This weekend, succulent and cactus collectors and experts from around the world will meet in Brisbane for the 23rd Conference of Australasian Cactus and Succulent Societies to share their passion for these weirdly shaped plants.
Ruth Higgins, president of the Queensland Cactus and Succulent Society founded in 1963, has grown succulents for 45 years after first "falling in love" with a pink aloe.
"Cactuses have absolutely beautiful flowers and come in these wonderful shapes and forms, ranging in size from peanuts to trees," she said. "People collect them for their aesthetics and they are low maintenance. A lot of decorators use fleshy succulents because they last so much longer than cut flowers.
"They are coming back in style. We have a lot of younger members joining. People who are time-poor can still have a beautiful houseplant or garden."
If you want to get started on your own succulent collection or find a cactus growers group near you, visit http://www.cssaustralia.org.au. A warning, though: Collecting these plants is addictive.
Megan Kinninment blogs the offbeat at
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