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Duration (approx) 100 hours
Qualification Statement of Attainment

Study Cacti And Succulents by distance learning with this wide ranging course.

It has been said that people either love cacti or hate them. For lovers of cacti and succulents, this comprehensive 8 lesson course is a must.

  • The course studies major cacti & succulent groups and the differences in how to treat plants from each; in terms of soils, feeding, watering, pruning, pest control, planting procedures and more.
  • This course will stimulate your interest, and set you on the path to becoming an expert with these unique plants.

Enrol today and get 3 free eBooks recommended by our specialist Horticulture Tutors!



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Online Studies in Cacti and Succulents - expand your plant skills.

  • Learn to identify and grow a wide variety of different cacti and succulents
  • Create hardy gardens with a completely different aesthetic
  • Grow them as decorative container plants, inside or out
  • Use them for roof gardens or green walls.

Enrol today and get 3 free eBooks recommended by our specialist Horticulture Tutors!

Cacti and Succulents are a very large group of unusual plants which everyone may not think is attractive but all must agree is most interesting.  These plants are very often grouped together; both in articles or books; and in gardens where they are planted. however cacti and succulents are however, two very different groups of plants.
  • Cacti commonly come predominantly from deserts, or very dry areas.
  • Cacti come from a much more diverse range of climates. Some succulents are native to deserts; but others are native to relatively high rainfall areas.

Course Structure and Lesson Content

There are 8 lessons as follows:

1. Introduction
Review of the system of plant identification
Information sources

2. Culture A.
Pruning etc.

3. Propagation
Methods of propagating cacti & succulent plants
Propagation of selected varieties
Using Cacti & Succulents
Edible succulents
Garden Design
Garden Styles
Mexican gardens
Using Colour
Rock Gardens
Growing Cacti or Succulents in containers

4. Culture B.
Pest & Disease
Greenhouse growing

5. Cacti - developing your plant knowledge.
General guidelines for growing cacti
Review of Cacti Genera
Zygocactus -featured plant

6. Succulents - developing your plant knowledge.
Review of Succulent Families
Bromeliads -featured plants

7. Special Project

Course Duration:  100 hours

Start Date: You can start the course at any time to suit you.  

Course Aims

  • Understand how these plants are named and classified scientifically.
  • Discuss the horticultural and landscaping potential of cacti and succulents.
  • Evaluate needs then select or improvie growing media for cacti and succulents
  • Propagate different types of cacti and succulents
  • Explain a range of uses for cacti and succulents
  • Manage growing conditions for cacti and succulents
  • Explain the cultivation of a range of cacti.
  • Explain the cultivation of a range of succulents.


What Are Cacti and Succulents?

“Succulent” is not a particularly precise term. It can mean different things to different people and in different places; but the one thing that it always means is “containing more moisture”.

There’s a popular belief that all succulents are very hardy plants that like hot, dry conditions. As with many “popular” beliefs, this is not so simple!

Succulents are plants with “fleshy” foliage, higher in water content than other plants. Beyond this, succulents include a very diverse range of plants varying in both appearance and the conditions under which they grow. Some need a hot climate, but others need a cold climate. Some may thrive in relatively dry soils, but others need moisture and are likely to deteriorate rapidly in very dry conditions.

Cacti are generally succulent plants belonging to the "Cactaceae" family. They are generallycharacterised by having spines and lack distinct leaves.

Broadly speaking, succulents grow better under poorer conditions, and require less maintenance than most other types of plants. This doesn't mean that they can be completely ignored, but it can mean:

  • They may require less watering, pruning or weeding.
  • They propagate faster, and easier.
  • They can grow in poorer soils, with less need for fertilizer.
  • They may survive extreme weather events better (e.g. Drought, a heat wave, storm).
  • Most have relatively fewer pest or disease problems than woody plants.

If they get too large, you can prune most as heavily as you like and they will survive, unlike many woody shrubs that may suffer if pruned too heavily

Consider climate, and choose appropriate succulents for the temperature, rainfall and humidity.

  • It is wrong to think of succulents as “desert plants”.
  • Some species have trouble in hotter, more humid climates.
  • Light frosts (up to minus 3 degrees Celsius are not a problem for most species. A few tender cultivars can suffer mild frost damage though on leaves.
  • In colder climates, you need to be more selective about the species grown. Some succulents tolerate frosts beyond minus 7 degrees Celsius.
  • Most prefer higher light intensity and growth tends to be more compact with more light.
  • Poor ventilation/ lack of oxygen can be an issue if grown in air conditioning for too long.
Growing cacti and succulents can be rewarding, but the correct conditions must be created to produce the most satisfying growth. Succulents are frequently easy to grow, but it can be harder to grow superb looking specimens. The main requirements of most cacti and succulents is strong light, adequate drainage, and to be sufficiently dry during any dormant period.  

Enrol today and get 3 free eBooks recommended by our specialist Horticulture Tutors!

If you have any questions or want to know more, get in touch with our specialist tutors with our FREE COURSE COUNSELLING SERVICE or phone us on (UK) 01384 442752, or (International) +44 (0) 1384 442752.

Courses can be started anytime from anywhere in the world!

Meet some of our academics

John Mason (Horticulturist)Horticulturist, Nurseryman, Landscaper, Garden Writer, Parks Manager and Consultant. Over 45 years experience; working in Australia and the UK. He is one of the most widely published garden writers in the world; author of more than 100 books and editor for 4 different gardening magazines. John has been recognised by his peers being made a fellow of the Institute of Horticulture in the UK, as well as by the Australian Institute of Horticulture.
Maggi BrownMaggi is regarded as an expert in organic growing throughout the UK, having worked for two decades as Education Officer at the world renowned Henry Doubleday Research Association. She has been active in education, environmental management and horticulture across the UK for more than three decades. Some of Maggi's qualifications include RHS Cert. Hort. Cert. Ed. Member RHS Life Member Garden Organic (HDRA) .
Diana Cole (Horticulturist)Horticulturist, Permaculturist, Landscaper, Environmentalist. Holds a Diploma in Horticulture, degree in geography, permaculture certificate and various other qualifications. Between 1985 and 94, Diana was a task leader with the British Trust for Conservation Volunteers. Since 2001 she has been chairperson of the Friends of Mellor Park (with Stockport MDC). From 2005 she has worked exclusively in horticulture as proprietor of her own garden design and consultancy business in and around Derbyshire; and at the same time as part time manager of a small garden centre. Diana has been an enthusiastic and very knowledgeable tutor with ACS since 2008.
Yvonne Sharpe (Horticulturist)Started gardening in 1966, studied a series of horticulture qualifications throughout the 1980's and 90's, culminating in an RHS Master of Horticulture. Between 89 and 1994, she worked teaching in horticultural therapy. Founded the West Herts Garden Association in 1990 and exhibited at Chelsea Flower Show in 1991. In 1994, Yvonne joined the staff at Oaklands College, and between 1996 and 2000 was coordinator for all Amenity Horticulture courses at that college. Since leaving Oakland she has been active as a horticultural consultant, retail garden centre proprietor and sessional lecturer (across many colleges in southern England). In 2000, she also completed a Diploma in Management.

Check out our eBooks

Growing and Using Perennial PlantsWhen designed and grown well, a perennial garden produces a blaze of colour for many months – starting in spring, flourishing through summer, and beyond into autumn.
SucculentsThe Succulents ebook is an ideal read for professional and home gardeners alike who would like to use these unique plants to add character to their gardens.
OrchidsA colourful guide for students, home gardeners and orchid enthusiasts. The first part deals with growing orchids, and the second covers dozens of orchid genera, and hundreds of cultivars. Explore orchids as cut flowers, container plants, indoor plants and outdoor garden plants, in both tropical and temperate climates, across the world.
Tropical LandscapingTropical Landscaping is a style that may be used more in tropical places, but can still be created in cooler climates. This book provides practical advice and inspiration over 8 chapters: “Garden Design”, “Components of a Tropical Garden”, “Building the Garden”, “Outdoor Living Areas”, “Pools, Ponds and Water Features”, “Lawns”. “Plants (to use), and “Caring for Plants”. 103 pages 69 colour photos