It all started when my grandfather gave me a cactus to put in front of my computer. He had heard that it helps with the radiation from the monitor. It most likely doesn't, but I still gave it a try.
I ended up falling in love with the plant as it grew on my desk. Perhaps it was the digital glow of the monitors and my good care for the cactus, or perhaps it was just meant to be, but that first cactus I had doubled in size within just a few months.
Since then, I've had several cacti, and I've really enjoyed seeing many varieties of cactus in botanical gardens while traveling.
Top 5 Reasons Why I Like Cacti
- Identity: They have juice on the inside and a prickly, protective outside. Perhaps there is just something about that which I identify with. It's also a very independent, self-sufficient plant. Though I don't have spikes (and I'm not green), I feel like I can relate to the cactus for all these reasons.
- Trance: Peyotl comes from a Mexican cactus root, and it was chewed by Aztecs for its hallucinogenic properties. Cactus peyotl is what allowed the shaman to enter into a trance (turns out peyotl has mescaline). What a trip (and I like trance music)! The Native Americans also used cacti to anesthetize patients before surgery.
- Water: Cacti are amazing reservoirs; their inner liquid is usually potable, which has saved many lives in the desert. This is why they're known as succulents. The cactus stem, roots, and leaves can store water during the rainy season so that it can survive during the drought period. This is possible because the thick stems of cactus consist of spongy tissue that can hold water.
- Variety: There are over 2,000 species of cacti, with various shapes and forms. Caldera cacti can grow to be over 60 feet tall, while others like Rebutia cacti are barely an inch tall. Cacti come in many shapes, like chandeliers, columns, ears, starfish, or wrinkled human faces covered by wool. This individuality helps me further relate to the cactus.
- Pets: Cacti have periods of blossom (when sometimes even flowers come out) and periods of rest. They make great indoor "pets" that require little maintenance and mind their own business. During their growing phase, cacti require direct sunlight and plenty of water for rapid growth. During their resting phase, they prefer shade and much less watering. Aww, how cute.