How to care Succulents. Succulent plants grow to many sizes and in most places. Succulent Plants contain chlorophyll and make their own food by themselves through a process called photosynthesis, using sunlight, water and carbon dioxide.
Succulents plants can be classified as simple or complex based on their structure. Plants can be classified in different ways. Terrestrial plants grow on land. Aquatic plants grow in or under water.
Types of Succulents
Succulent Plants can be divided into flowering and non flowering succulent plants. Flowering plants are divided according to their seed structure. Monocotyledonous and dicotyledonous succulent plants can be distinguished by their characteristics.
Seeds need the right conditions to germinate. The Kingdom of succulent plants can be divided into flowering and non-flowering plants.
Non Flowering Succulent Plants:
These plants do no produce flowers. Some of them are seedless plants, like Algae, Mosses and Ferns. Some of them are seed-bearing succulents plants, like Conifers.
But their seeds are not enclosed in fruits or flowers, so they are called naked seed plants or Gymnosperms. Some examples of Gymnosperms are Spruce, Fir and Pine.
Flowering Succulent Plants:
This is a very large group of plants that produces flowers. The seeds of flowering succulent plants are enclosed in fruits or flowers and are called Angiosperms.
Flowering succulent plants are further divided into two main groups on the basis of their seed structure. To understand this, you have to study the structure of a seed.
Inside a Succulent seed
A Succulents seed consists of three main parts:
- The seed coat is the outer covering of the seed that protects its internal structure from injury and drying out.
- The Cotyledon Is the plant’s food supply. It surrounds the growing Embryo and provides food for it. Cotyledons are leaf-like structures. Cotyledons are also called seed leaves.
- The Embryo or baby plant, grows into a new plant when the conditions are right.
Monocotyledon and Dicotyledon:
Flowering succulent plants are further divided into two major groups according to whether they have one or two Cotyledons.
Those with one Cotyledon are called Monocotyledon or Monocot for short and those with two are called Dicotyledon or Dicot for short.
How can we differentiate between a dicot and a Monocot plants? We can find out by studying the different parts of these two types of flowering plant, their seeds, sterms, leaves, flowers and roots.
When the succulents seed germinate, they produce different number of seed leaves. The seed of a Monocot plant has only one seed leaf (or Catylendon), while Dicots have two seed leaves.
The Cotyledon of the maize seed is only a thin leaf, resembling the adult leaves, because the Endosperm to feed the Embryo (new plant) is not in the seed leaf.
The two Cotyledons of the French bean seed are rounded and fat because they contain the Endosperm to feed the new plant. The first true leaves of the plant are often a different shape.
The stem of a plant provides the support it needs to stand upright. The stems hold up the leaves, flowers and fruit. Stems also act as a transport system between the roots and the shoots. This transport system is called the vascular system and consists of tubes called Xylem and Phloem that carry water (Xylem) and food (Phloem) around the plant. Look at these close up images of the stems of a Dicot and a Monocot plant. Vascular bundles are arranged in rings in Dicot and Scattered throughout the stem in Monocot.
If you look closely at a leaf, you will see that it has a tiny transport system embedded in it. This is a network of veins. The leaves of a monocot plant have parallel veins, running in straight lines. The leaves of a Dicot plant have net-like veins, criss-crossing all over the leaf.
If a flower has three petals or a number which is divisible by three, it is the flower of a monocot plant. If a flower has a number of petals that can be divided by four or five, it is the flower of a dicot plant.
The underground part of the plant makes up the roots. Monocots have fibrous roots, while dicots have taproots.
Over many centuries scientists have developed new methods of farming. They have tried to find the best seeds in order to produce the best yields of fruits, vegetables and other crops. In many countries they have been able to produce high yields and bigger better-looking crops. This is not always a good thing.
If the yields are too good, farmers are not paid enough for their produce. In some countires, farmers are paid to destroy their crops. This is done to protect the price of a particular crop. The flavours of fruits and vegetables can be affected when too many man-made chemicals, pesticides, insecticides and other additives are used.
Harm can also be caused to humans and other animals, as well as to the envirment.
When any seed falls onto the ground or is planted, it needs the right conditions in order to grow. The soil should be rich and fertile. There should be plenty of fresh air and enough sunlight and warmth and of course, water. If the conditions are right, the seed will germinate.
The seed absorbs water. The water makes the food inside the seed quite soft. It also helps to break open the seed coat. Inside the seed the baby plant begins to grow.
Here are the stages of Germination in a bean plant.
- The seed is buried in the soil. It gets warmth and water. The seed coat becomes soft.
- The seed leaves become soft and open.
- The root begins to grow downwards, spreading to find water.
- The shoot grows upwards, reaching for air and the warmth of sunlight.
- Leaves appear on the shoot. These will enable the succulent plant to produce and store food for energy..
- The stem grows stronger and more leaves appear.
- Eventually, buds appear and these blossom into Succulent flowers which produce seed.