20 Cactus Types That Work as Indoor Plants
Many types of cacti make excellent houseplants, but you need to know which ones will thrive in your home. And, if you’re a plant newbie, don’t worry — they’re surprisingly easy to take care of! Follow these quick tips, and soon your home will be full of beautiful plants and help purify the air.
1. Saguaro Cactus
The towering saguaro cactus sprout out of the earth in the Sonoran Desert, creating an unforgettable scene. Growing slowly for decades and sometimes centuries, these iconic desert plants are known for their long green arms sticking out in all directions. While it takes years to see a saguaro blossom, once it does, it creates a spectacular display. It’s truly a sight to behold! The best way to grow saguaros is to put them in a potting mix with a neutral pH and good drainage, and they should also be rich in organic matter. For example, you can add fast-draining horticultural-grade bark, pot shards, perlite, coir, or other natural materials rich in organic matter to a standard potting mix. You can also use cactus food to fertilize your plant once in a while, like during spring. Incorporating the light liquid fertilizer every two or three weeks during the growing season can also boost your plant’s growth. The ideal location for your cactus is in a warm and bright place away from direct sunlight. The best watering schedule is every 10 to 14 days.
2. Angel Wings
This cactus is a Mexican native with various names like bunny ears cactus, polka dot cactus, and the angel’s wings cactus. While these names seem attractive, they do not take away the prickly nature of the plant. The key to ensuring that your angel’s wings thrive is ensuring that you don’t give it too much water but that it gets sufficient sunlight. If it gets excess water, thus moisture, its roots will rot off. Therefore, the best place to plant the bunny ear is on the side of your house that receives sunlight for a longer period during the day. This should be about eight hours of exposure to sunlight. Bunny ear cactus needs sandy, well-draining soil mix, and similar to other cacti, it’s not picky about the soil. You can buy a premixed potting mix, or you can even make your own. Although this cactus can thrive in poor soils, a little boosting wouldn’t be bad during spring, as it is in its active growth stage; you can give it some cactus fertilizer.
3. Rat Tail Cactus
The true beauty of a rat tail cactus is in its long, trailing stems. While the cactus may be small, it can grow long tails with vibrant violet-red blooms that last throughout spring and early summer. Many people find the rat tail cactus so beautiful that they don’t mind that it requires a high level of care. The rat tail cactus is an ideal home or office decoration. It is a native of the coastal plains of Mexico and some regions in Central America. It is best to cultivate your rat tail cactus in a basket or hanging pot due to its trailing stems which have the potential of growing to one foot yearly. Like a typical desert plant, it requires lots of direct sunlight. It is, therefore, best to have it on the west or south side of your window. For it to thrive, you need to use rich organic potting soil. As for water, it needs frequent watering during its early growth stages. As you progress to fall, you should reduce the water levels and much more during winter. However, if you notice that the soil is dry, you should water the plant. To feed your rat tail cactus, use a water-soluble fertilizer at half-strength during the growing season. However, the best option is feeding it diluted liquid fertilizer once every two weeks when you’re actively growing your plant.
4. Christmas Cactus
The Christmas cactus is among the most common types of cacti you can find indoors. When it flowers, it produces stunning pink or purple tubes of color that are a sight to behold. In addition, their long bloom time and easy-care requirements make them the perfect houseplant for new and experienced gardeners. Unlike others, this type of cactus is not a desert plant. Instead, it is a native of the tropical rainforests of southern Brazil. When potting this type of cactus, it is best to use a pot with a drainage hole at its best. Any potting mix will be sufficient for your flower. You need to keep your plant in a bright place away from direct sunlight considering its origin. The ideal place could be a bright bathroom or a window facing east. Since temperatures rise during summer, it is best to have your Christmas cactus in a cool place with temperatures of about 500C. This cactus requires frequent watering with a span of between two to three weeks. Feed the plant with a household fertilizer every two weeks between spring and early fall. However, during late fall and winter, feed the plant monthly. This will help it to bloom successfully.
5. Barrel Cactus
The barrel cactus has a ribbed appearance with a cylindrical shape. It tends to grow tilted toward the southwest, where traditional compass directions face. Barrel cacti protect lost travelers in the desert. When you’re hiking through the arid Southern Arizona landscape, a barrel cactus will be your saving grace if you get lost or injured in the wilderness. It’s best to keep a potted cactus in a warmer room of the house, in a bright, sunny spot. Direct southern sunlight might scorch the plant in the summer, so move it away from the window or adjust your blinds to deflect the light. The soil suitable for barrel cactus is mostly sand, with some topsoil, compost, and perlite thrown in for good measure. You can also grow Barrel cactus in prepared cactus mixtures. Because unglazed pots enable excess water to evaporate, they are ideal for potted cactus. Water is an essential part of care for barrel cactus. These plants are endemic to arid desert environments, relying on rainfall to meet their water requirements. In the summer, hydrate your plants weekly. This type of cactus is dormant during winter and doesn’t require much water. You can water it once from December to February. If the plant receives enough water in the spring, it may produce a big yellow blossom. Occasionally, the plant will produce edible fruit. Because the cactus develops in low-fertility environments, its nutrient requirements are minimal. Therefore, fertilize the barrels yearly in the spring; once it emerges from their dormancy, it starts to grow. For this cactus, a low-nitrogen liquid fertilizer is a suitable choice. The size of the barrels and containers will determine the proportion of fertilizer you use. Consult the box for instructions on the correct quantity.
6. Old Lady Cactus
The magnificent spherical stems of the Old Lady Cactus are coated in sharp white spines and white down. This type of cactus doesn’t like being alone; therefore, it grows in clusters, forming a sphere collection. Then, in the spring and summer, something happens. A spiky-looking ‘ball’ plant embraces a new appearance. They bloom in a crown of reddish-purple blooms above the bushes. Nonetheless, these blooms create a halo effect upon this cactus, resembling a big headpiece. When deciding whether or not to water your cactus, first ensure that the soil is parched. Do not water your plant if the soil still has some moisture. Water, the cactus after the soil, is completely dry upon touching. Be sure that the water penetrates the soil thoroughly. Drainage holes must be present in your pot. Drainage is essential; you should not let the plant sit in water as this can cause root rot and ultimately death. Seasons also affect watering. The plant will require less water when the weather becomes cooler. It is best to resume watering your plants during spring and summer. You don’t have to water your cactus over the winter. You can use a favorable cactus mix to plant your Old Lady Cactus. For the best results, choose a mixture with sand. You should only apply fertilizer during the growing season since flowers bloom!! Your cactus’ blossoms will not bloom if you use excess fertilizer. With this plant, less is more, and liquid fertilizer is preferable. Make sure to apply a fertilizer with a higher potassium concentration since this will aid in the plant’s growth. Save your feed throughout the winter since the plant will be dormant; your Old Lady Cactus won’t need it.
7. Bishop’s Cap
The Bishop’s Cap grows with a star-like shape and has four to eight variegated ribs. It has no spines and is a round cylindrical stem. As the plant grows older, they appear. It is indigenous to central and northern Mexico’s mountainous regions. On the fully grown Bishop’s Cap, yellow blooms with a scarlet to orange center bloom. Although each flower only lasts a few days, they bloom sequentially; thus, blossoms can last long. In addition, the lovely blossoms are slightly scented, yet another motivation to cultivate this lovely plant. This cactus thrives on a partial light windowsill, but be wary if the sun beams through. Bishop’s Cap should be grown in a coarse, fast-draining mixture. Only give this average cactus water during spring and summer, and keep it entirely dry in the fall and winter. Do not water the plant the moment the temperatures begin to fall in the autumn. A low-nitrogen fertilizer is ideal if you want to fertilize your cactus. However, you should only use this application during spring and summer. Bishop’s Cap has a silver tone due to the protective layer of chalky scales. Be cautious with them since they will not regrow if you accidentally rub them off.
8. Moon Cactus
Moon cactus come in beautiful colors, including hot pink, blazing orange, and a nearly neon yellow. They make lovely window boxes or southern exposing houseplants and are widely sold as gift plants. During the brightest portion of the day, you should use slatted slats to shade the plants from direct sunlight partially. To avoid stagnant water at the roots, use unglazed shallow containers with multiple drainage holes. Before reapplication of moisture, water deeply and allow the soil to dry to the bottom of the pot. To reestablish highly nutritious soil, stop watering over the wintertime and repot during spring. Because the moon cactus enjoys a crowded environment, you can report in a similar pot for several years. Little red to pink blossoms in late spring to early summer might be your reward if you take proper care of your moon cactus.
9. African Milk Tree
African milk tree is a Central African native. Thanks to its fast and vigorous growth, it’s commonly used as a hedge there, although its roots aren’t invasive. This plant isn’t picky about its soil, although it does need to be well-drained. It is best to water this plant weekly with a moderate amount of water. Allow the soil to dry between waterings to simulate its natural environment. Then, apply a water-soluble feed during the African milk tree’s growing season in spring and summer. This succulent prefers bright, indirect light. Indoors, a southern-facing window will suffice. Full sun is fine, provided the summers aren’t too hot all of the time. The plant may require additional watering to compensate for too much bright sunlight.
10. Blue Myrtle
The Blue Myrtle Cactus is a unique-looking shrub cactus that is easy to care for and makes a practical houseplant. Its charm lies in its ever-changing form. It starts as a single column-shaped cactus that keeps growing skywards, but as it grows older, it generates multiple candelabra-like branches that give it a shrub-like look. From Spring onwards, you can anticipate seeing tiny greenish-white blooms. Unfortunately, these delightful flowers only last a day, but they entice bees and other pollinators. Soon after, oblong-shaped dark blueish-purple berries emerge, sweet-tasting, delicious, and popular in Mexico as a treat. A mature plant requires abundant direct sunlight throughout the summer months, but younger plants should be in a bright site with dappled shade to prevent burning their sensitive stems. It would be best to move this cactus to a somewhat cooler location during the winter months, but in a bright setting with lots of natural sunshine. That will catalyze the plant to flower next year. Before watering your plant, ensure that you assess your plant’s condition, and if it appears dry, then it is time to give it more water but in sufficient quantities.
11. Mexican Fence Post Cactus
One of the most gorgeous and clean-looking cacti is the Mexican Fence Post. The cactus’ long branches spread out from the base to produce a fence-like collection of tall, tubular ‘posts,’ usually with five or six noticeable ridges. A uniform row of tiny white thorns extends along these ridges, giving the Mexican Fence Post a striped appearance from a distance. A lovely pink to light-red flower blooms on the Mexican Fence Post, adding fantastic seasonal beauty to your yard. Because of Mexico’s subtropical region’s nativity, the Mexican Fence Post needs more irrigation, typically weekly, to operate at its best during hot summers.
12. Candelabra Cactus
Succulents require bright, dry environments to thrive. South-facing windows that receive the full strength of the sun are optimal, while east- and west-facing windows come in second. The Candelabras have a remarkable water retention capacity in their fleshy stems and can go without water for long durations. Even so, watering the plant every two weeks during the summer would be perfect.
13. Blue Columnar Cactus
The blue columnar, like other cacti, requires little maintenance and is hardy. For optimal results, ensure they get adequate water without getting soggy, especially in summer, and fertilize them with a water-soluble feed. The cactus may be suffering from root rot if the roots have turned black or grown too mushy. Remove the damaged areas and replant. If your cactus outgrows its pot, you may need to report it. If this is the case, ensure the dirt is dry before moving the pot. Remove the old soil, remove any rotten or dead roots, and then replant it in a new pot with fresh soil. It’s important not to over water cactus in new pots, as this might cause root rot. It should be allowed to dry for around a week before being softly watered. Although the plant requires direct sunlight, a partial shade during summer will help it thrive. You can also make it a routine to rotate the cactus weekly to ensure even growth.
14. Prickly Pear Cactus
Prickly pears thrive well in full sun in alkaline to neutral well-draining soil. Since the plant is highly drought-resistant, you should water your new plant after a month of potting and, after that, every two to four weeks for the first year. You can then water it monthly for the rest of the year except in summer when twice a month would be ideal. To apply fertilizer, ensure that you use a 10-10-10 feed for your young plants and a 0-10-10 or 5-10-10 for older plants. With this, you will get more flowers and fruits in due season.
15. Organ Pipe Cactus
Organ pipe cactus thrives on sandy, well-drained soils. Excess moisture will evaporate if you plant the cactus in an unglazed pot. Make your cactus mix with one part potting soil, one part sand, and one part perlite, or use a cactus mix. Immerse the plant in the soil until it reaches the bottom of the stems, then firm the soil around it. Cover the soil with a mulch of small rocks to preserve moisture and avoid weeds. Place the cactus where it will receive direct sunlight. Although the cactus is accustomed to low fertility, it has limited resources as a potted plant. In the early spring, add excellent cactus food to the irrigation water. During the winter months, do not water. Organ pipe cactus develop huge flowers that open at night and close throughout the day as they age and grow. You can witness this photogenic spectacle between April and June.
16. Mexican Giant Cardon Cactus
Place your plant near a window that receives a lot of light. It’s recommended to water it sparingly until it has established itself. Following that, this plant will thrive on significantly less water. Fertilizer isn’t required much for the Mexican Giant Cardon. If you feel your plant requires a boost, occasionally treat it with the best feeds for the cactus plant. Even without soil, this massive cactus can thrive. Because of its unique symbiotic interaction with bacteria, it can extract nutrients from rocks and transport them to plants. Any well-draining cactus potting soil will suffice if you decide to add soil.
17. Mexican Lime Cactus
The Mexican Lime Cactus is a big barrel cactus with bizarre pink spines. It blooms with bright red-orange flowers from late winter through early spring, with these blossoms maturing into a luscious lime-flavored fruit. It can produce offsets and form a huge cluster. Cactus require bright sunlight, good drainage, and infrequent watering to avoid rot. In containers with drainage holes, use well-draining cactus and succulent soil with 70 percent to 80 percent mineral grit, such as pumice, coarse sand, or perlite. Before watering again, soak the soil well and leave it to dry completely. In the winter, keep dry.
18. Chin Cactus
The chin cactus thrives in dappled shade and requires protection from the sun. Their soil, water, and nutritional requirements are similar to their desert cousins. Overall, this is a relatively simple plant to produce with only a few specific culture requirements. Because chin cacti have no deep roots, they can grow in a shallow dish pot. Growing chin cactus is best done in a bright yet filtered, light environment. Use a gritty, well-draining cactus soil when growing your plant. Water once the soil has dried out, usually once a week in the summer. It’s essential to keep the plant dry during the winter. Fertilizer is rarely required except if the plant is in distress. Use a decent half-strength diluted cactus food at the beginning of the growing season.
19. Easter Cactus
Flowers on the Easter cactus plant appear in a range of colors. They’re usually in bloom when you buy them, and they’re popular holiday gifts. Flowers come in various colors: white, pink, red, peach, orange, and lavender. The plant’s distinctive shape attracts attention even after it has bloomed. New growth adds to the segments, giving them a rickety layered appearance. This type of cactus lacks the spikes of a desert cactus instead of taking on a more undulating shape with softer pointy nodes on the leaf margins. Bright light, but not direct sunshine, is ideal for these plants. After the flowering time, fertilize regularly with a 10-10-10 fertilizer or low-nitrogen food. Stop feeding your plant if you want it to blossom. Then relocate the plant to a place with 12 to 14 hours of darkness. When the temperature is 50 degrees Fahrenheit, the best bud set happens. From October through November, water only when absolutely necessary. By December, you should be able to relocate the cactus to a warmer location with a temperature range of 60 to 65 degrees. In February and March, the Easter cactus will bloom.
20. Star Cactus
Cacti are popular as indoor plants since they are easy to care for. It’s green to grayish brown, with tiny white spots radiating down the ridges. The body is divided into eight divisions, each with lovely white hairs. Though star cactus plants do require water occasionally, they flourish on neglect. If the body is dehydrated, it will flatten out and discolor. Plant them in a commercial cactus mix or a mixture of potting mix and sand. To allow excess moisture to evaporate quickly, the vessel ought to be free draining and unglazed. Repotting is best done in April, but because the plants prefer being pot-bound, it is unnecessary to do it regularly. When tending your star cactus, fertilize from June to September. Then, reduce the watering when the plants are dormant during the winter months. The lucky gardener who provides exceptional cactus care will be honored with 3-inch yellow flowers with orange centers from March to May.
Overview of Indoor Cactus
The key to having a vibrant indoor cactus is ensuring that the temperature, humidity, water, and sunlight remain at an acceptable threshold. While fertilization is not mandatory, a little boost with the recommended feed will help your cactus to thrive. Likewise, potting mixtures create a conducive environment for your cacti to grow. However, you need to consider the specific requirements for each plant to have a greater yield.