One of the reasons we often recommend plants that originated in baron deserts to bring life into your homes is that they have adapted to handle harsh climates. This, more than anything else, makes them easy to care for as long as you don't overwater them.
Some will require more direct sunlight, others will be able to tolerate colder climates, but all of them will be okay with you going on vacation and the dry air in your home from your heating and air conditioning as long as you don't overwater them.
We decided to make desert plants the focus of our first collection because we found that a lot of people don't understand why they make such great indoor plants in Canada. We wanted to show the range of these plants and how beautiful they can be.
Deserts occupy 19% of the earth and usually receive less than 10 inches of rain annually. They have extreme temperatures which mean hot days and colder nights, and yes there are deserts that freeze in the winter.
Why Desert Plants Are the Easy to Care for House Plants
They don't need high humidity
When discussing popular house plants including The Fiddle Leaf Fig and The Monsterra deliciosa with customers we often have to remind them that these plants will not perform well in homes and ares that don't have 40% relative humidity.
Desert plants have adapted with several strategies to be able to handle harsh dry climates. Their leaves often feature a waxy coating to reduce the amount of moisture the dissipates during transpiration, when they release water as a part of photosynthesis.
When you want to get it and forget it, desert plants provide the ability to keep your plants looking amazing without worrying about catering to very specific demands.
They don't need to be watered frequently
All desert plants have adapted to handle long periods of drought. In some cases Yucca varieties are able to handle a year without a significant rain fall.
They can more tolerant of both cold and hot drafts.
A lot of these plants have to be able to handle blistering days and chilling nights. In fact thy are adapted to transpire at night when it is colder to save water. In most cases these plants won't complain about your Air Conditioner or Heating Vents blowing directly on to them. They will also manage being next to a door that gets opened and closed regularly better than most.
For example, Euphorbia trigona can handle temperatures down to -3 degrees.
Most love lots of direct sunlight some can survive in shady places
Most of these plants will perform best in extremely direct light. When you are looking for a plant to put in a south facing window, this collection of plants is one of the best places to start. Too much direct sunlight can burn a lot of house plants.
Several varieties in this category can also manage surviving in slightly lower light conditions. They will grow much more slowly and you will have to scale back significantly on watering them.
Desert Plants are Great for the Air in Your Home
Many Desert Plants Release Oxygen at Night Through Crassulacean acid metabolism (CAM)
Four Desert Plants Interior Designers and Landscape Architects LoveThis desert garden features Agave, Barrel Cacti and Euphorbia candelabrum at Oscar De La Renta's oceanfront home in the Dominican Republic (via Architectural Digest)
When taken care of, cacti can last decades. And the good news is, taking care of them doesn’t require too much work and attention.
Cacti come in a wide range of shapes and sizes. These are amazing plants that come from extremely dry environments, even being found in the Atacama Desert, one of the driest places on earth.
Most cacti are Native to the Americas and can be found, natively from Patagonia to Canada. Today, cacti can be found across the globe as a popular component of modern landscape architecture and interior design.
Euphorbias range from small plants to large trees. There are over 2,000 members, making it one of the largest groups of flowering plants in thee world. Many Euphorbia have common names that refer to them as Cacti but they have several important differences.
Euphorbia have a poisonous, milky, white, latex-like sap that you need to be mindful of. The African Milk Tree, Pencil Cactus and Candlestick Cactus will all ooze this sap when damaged and it can be irritate your skin.
The poisonous qualities were well-known: in the Ethiopian Kebra Nagast, the serpent-king Arwe is killed with juice from the Euphorbia
One of the benefits of their irritating latex sap is that it helps to keep these plants free of unwanted pests.
flowers have no sepals, petals, or other parts that are typical of flowers in other kinds of plants.
It is the only genus of plants that has all three kinds of photosynthesis, CAM, C3 and C4. That means some of them have the same metabolism as Cacti where they store Carbon Dioxide during the day and release oxygen when transpiring at night (CAM), while others will create energy the same way all other plants do, transpiring during the day and releasing carbon dioxide at night.
Differentiating Euphorbia from Cacti
Cacti and Euphorbias are prickly. Cacti have spines, which are modified leaves, and they come from areoles. Euphorbias most often have thorns, usually in pairs, which are modified stems. In some cases Euphorbia will have leaves wheras Cacti rarely have any form of leaf.
Cacti do not release sap and in some cases cacti can be edible.
Plants in this genus may be considered perennial, because they require several to many years to mature and flower. Most Agave species grow very slowly. Some Agave species are known by the common name "century plant". Agave species are popular ornamental plants in hot, dry climates, as they require very little supplemental water to survive. They are closely related to Yucca plants.
The succulent leaves of most Agave species have sharp marginal teeth, an extremely sharp terminal spine. Agave species are used as food plants. The agave root system, consisting of a network of shallow rhizomes, allows the agave to efficiently capture moisture from rain, condensation, and dew. In addition to growing from seeds, most agaves produce 'pups' – young plants from runners.
Agave in Food and Alcohol
Each agave plant produces several pounds of edible flowers during its final season. The leaves may be collected in winter and spring, when the plants are rich in sap, for eating.
The sap of A. americana and other species is used in Mexico By distillation, a spirit called mezcal is prepared; one of the best-known forms of mezcal is tequila.
Most Aloe species have a rosette of large, thick, fleshy leaves. Aloe flowers are tubular, frequently yellow, orange, pink, or red, and are borne, densely clustered and pendant, at the apex of simple or branched, leafless stems. Many species of Aloe appear to be stemless, with the rosette growing directly at ground level;
Of the 500+ species, only a few were used traditionally as herbal medicines, Aloe vera again being the most commonly used species.
Aloe also use CAM Photosythesis storing CO2 during the day to transpire and release oxygen at night.
Yuccas are widely grown as architectural plants providing a dramatic accent to landscape design. They tolerate a range of conditions, but are best grown in full sun in subtropical or mild temperate areas.
This family includes 50 subspecies including The Joshua Tree