Everyone seems to have a side hustle these days, and mine happens to be in the form of cactus & succulents. We go by the name of Pretty Pricks and along with Amy, my prickly partner in crime, we sell pricks & succers at markets up north and more recently we sculpt bad-ass bridal bouquets and prickly little wedding favours too.
In the last few years, cacti and succulents have become so super trendy that they're not only adorning most shops, cafes, and restaurants turning them into urban jungles and horticultural hideouts, but they're also a cheap steal in your local supermarket.
Everyone’s at it! Which means you've got to know how to look after your spiky little bundles of joy.
In return for giving them a roof over their heads, you’ll get oxygen, happiness and a sense of calm in a world of ever scrolling newsfeeds and pouting Kardashians.
So, these are my top three reads on looking after your pretty pricks and cute succers.
1. The Little Book of Cacti and Other Succulents
Founded in 2014, London Terrariums has now grown to become one of London’s most exciting botanical businesses.
They build tiny ecosystems inside glass vessels, like the ship in a bottle of modern millennial times. As well as holding workshops and taking bespoke design commissions.
The South London Company has now opened a store, and it’s founder Emma Sibley has written many books but this one is my fave.
Each of the 60 plants has a dedicated page, accompanied by a photograph and all the essential requirements for that variety.
From buying and potting to propagating, plus tips on how to deal with common pests and disease. It’s also my go-to book when I just can’t remember the name of the one that looks like a zebra… (Haworthia).
2. Prick. Cacti and Succulents: Choosing, Styling, Caring
Gynelle is an RHS-award-winning plant photographer and founder of London's only shop dedicated to cacti and succulents and now (like that’s not enough) she’s written a book!
There’s a plant gallery, a chapter on styling and a care guide. The book’s quite personal too and gives you an insight into Gynelles life; she basically sold her house and went for it, all in the name of plants!
*Warning* Her photos will make you want to skip work, run home and rearrange your entire plant collection into Pinterest worthy photo compositions for your Instagram.
You can buy the book online or better still, head to their shop off Broadway Market and feast your eyes on the beautifully simple store.
3. How to Train Your Cactus: A Guide to Raising Well-behaved Succulents
Illustrator, map maker and self-proclaimed collector of chairs, Tonwen Jones has produced illustrations for Kew Gardens, The Wall St Journal and Le Monde Magazine.
Her new book by the above (very long) title not only beautifully illustrates 50 different varieties of cacti and succulents but explains the real differences between them, as well as offering practical advice on how to choose your plant and where it should then live in your home once you acquire it.
Also on the plus side, if you do manage to kill your cacti even after reading the book you can at least cut out the nice illustrations and place them around your house to look at. No watering required.