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Succulents becoming more popular amid dry spell
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Succulents are becoming more popular due to their resilience to drought and relatively little need for water amid an unusually dry year, an industry representative said.

Potted succulents have always been popular for their healing properties, but are now selling nearly 30 percent better than last year due to dry conditions, Huang Yi-pin (黃毅斌), chief of production and marketing at Cijia Fifth Street Floral Park in Tainan’s Gueiren District (歸仁), said on Monday.

A relatively dry season and a lack of typhoons have raised concerns over a drought until next year’s seasonal rains arrive in May, with the Water Resources Agency on Wednesday implementing phase-one water rationing measures in some areas.

There are thousands of succulent varieties, with the most common belonging to the cactus family, Huang said.

Cacti come many fantastical shapes and can be used for many purposes, such as a modeling subject, to pair with other potted plants or for interior decoration, he said.

Other common succulents include aloe, the pencil tree, Lithops or pebble plants, and dogbanes that have flowers, but no thorns, Huang added.

Ghost plants with their striking rosettes and stonecrop perennials, such as Bryophyllum pinnatum, are also common houseplants, in addition to the popular “lover’s tears” scrambling succulent that belongs to the daisy family, he said.

The plants should be kept in a place with plenty of natural light and only need to be watered twice a month, although larger plants in pots that are at least 8cm in diameter can go four weeks without being watered, he added.

Aside from their medicinal uses as balms or ointments, succulents can also clean the air and absorb radiation, he said.

Huang also recommended that people try planting in a ball of moss or soil, instead of a pot, as it is more water-efficient, can be made easily and has an attractive decorative appearance.

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