This Tampa florist has a soft spot for prickly plants

Tampa florist Crystal Desilet loves to share interesting facts about cacti.

"We have a really great environment for succulents and cacti because they're so heat-tolerant," she said.

She adds that if you control the moisture of a cactus, it’s a perfect plant for Florida. Desilet shares those facts and more at her Seminole Heights plant shop Cactus Moon.

"This is my little slice of heaven," she continued. "I have hundreds and hundreds of plants, babies, rare plants, common plants; you name it, it's in here."

While the shop sells individual plants, Desilet mainly creates living arrangements consisting of cacti, succulents, and gemstones. She started the business eight years ago, and the retail store just celebrated its one-year anniversary.

"My whole life I've had my hand in dirt," she said.

Desilet’s grandmother has a large collection of cacti and succulents. Desilet’s passion for plants began there, as she would help her grandmother maintain her garden. 

Maintaining arrangements is also the goal that she shares for her customers.

"My goal is for the plants to always stay alive. I call my arrangements ‘living arrangements’ for a reason. They're meant to stay alive," Desilet offered.

Over-watering is the main culprit when customers call her asking for help about a dying plant. She says all plants need some form of drainage. 

She also explains to only water succulents and cacti at the roots. She says too much water at the top of these desert plants leads to rot.

Before she’s giving advice on plant care, Desilet is picking out what specific succulents and cacti to put into customers’ requested arrangements. The purpose of the arrangement determines what she picks out, whether it’s for something like a celebration or congratulations, to a condolence or comforting arrangement.

"Putting your hands in the dirt, growing something and then presenting it as a gift to someone so special. It's a life cycle," she added.

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