What Type Of Cactus Should You Get?

Whether you're starting fresh by buying your first cactus, or looking to add on to your collection, choosing your new plant can be a little confusing. That's why we created this handy guide to help you figure out what kind of cactus will make the perfect addition to your home.
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Are you a beginner in cactus gardening and wondering which cactus can best suit your home? Well, you must understand that cacti are the easiest plants to grow. They are low maintenance, but there are some things you need to learn first before deciding on what specific cactus plant will do best in your home or office. 

Take your time to understand the different types of cacti, their care needs, growth conditions, and sizes. You should also know what you want in your cacti plants, such as blooms, greenery, or tree-like growth. Don’t forget to go for cacti plants that are easy to plant and care for.

So, are you ready to choose your cacti species to take home? Here are some of the things you need to consider when getting a cactus for your home.

Understand Different Cacti Types

Before you decide which kind of cacti you want to grow, take your time to go through the different types available. Cacti are available in up to 2000 species spread all over the globe. This family consists of cacti that grow in different climates, including desert cacti, rainforest cacti, cacti that grow in humid and semi-humid areas, and cacti that grow in subtropical regions like Christmas cactus.

Cacti are grouped into different families such as the Cereus, Euphorbia, Lophophora, Rebutia, and Pereskiopsis families. Some grow very tall like the saguaro; others are more broad-leafed, while some have very thin leaves. Others grow rounded and short, like the balloon cactus or the blue barrel.  Some cacti species grow in clusters like ladyfinger and the Mexican torch.

While some cacti grow as tall as Saguaro, others tend to be shorter.

Do You Want Indoor or Outdoor Cactus

The most important thing for you to consider is where the cacti will live and how large you want them to be. If the cactus is going to live outside, you will need a bigger and hardier plant. If it’s an indoor type of plant, you can choose something that grows smaller but looks good in small spaces.

Some of the big cactus species that you can plant outdoors can be the Rainbow Hedgehog Cactus, Elephant Foot Barrel, and Parodia Elata. These are fairly easy to grow provided that you give them what they need. The best thing about these types of cactus is that they do not require a lot of attention from you. They can grow on their own once planted in your garden or somewhere outside.

They can also grow to be enormous. The Rainbow Hedgehog Cactus, for example, can grow as tall as 10 feet. Some of these even have flowers. Others are known for their woody stems, which you can use to make crafts or decorations.

Indoor Cacti

If you want something small and quite lovely, choose the Parodia Gracilis Whipplei Cactus, which can grow up to four inches. It is an excellent choice for people who live in apartments or homes where space is limited. The only maintenance you will need to provide for them is a little sunlight or artificial lights and pruning.

They make great additions in offices and even on your living room table because they look so beautiful. Other indoor cacti to grow in your house include the Oreocereus Gracilis Rainbow Cactus, Moonstones Hedgehog Cactus, and the Parodia Borzicactus.

Make sure your indoor cacti receive enough sunlight or artificial light.

What’s Your Location and Climate?

It’s also important for you to make sure that the location where you will place the cactus is suitable for growing. You need to know if it can tolerate the heat during summer and not get damaged by the cold temperatures during wintertime.

Some of these plants are susceptible to frost, so make sure that the area where you will be planting them doesn’t get too cold. Don’t worry about watering your cacti.  They only require a maximum of one watering every two months.

The important thing is to understand that not all cacti thrive in your specific climate. Some can grow everywhere, but others need special care and attention. It would be best if you research first the type of cactus you want to grow to have proper shelter from rain and sun before planting them in your garden.

Are You Planting for Decoration?

Are you trying to add some charm and character to your home with cactus plants? If yes, don’t worry about putting them in small places like offices or your living room. The Parodia Whipplei Cactus can grow 6 inches long, and it looks really good as an indoor decoration. It won’t take up much space on your desk, and you won’t have to worry about its size growing too much.

Another great cactus to add charm and beauty to your home includes holiday cacti types like the Easter cactus and Christmas cacti. These cacti produce beautiful blooms, and they will last for a couple of days before wilting. They are popular because their flowers remind people of Spring, bringing feelings of hope, joy, life, and rebirth.

Christmas cactus is an excellent option if you are planting cacti for decoration.

Consider planting cacti with different bloom seasons so you can have them blooming for a longer period. If you want to add color and beauty to your home, then try planting succulent cacti. It’s one way to create an attractive landscape inside the house without much effort.

You should also know that some cacti species can take ages before you can see their blooms. There are even some species that can only grow underground. Others will take a lot more time to bloom, but it’s really worth the wait once they do. Also, some only bloom at night, like cereus and queen of the night.

Do You Have Kids and Pets?

If you are a parent, you know how difficult it is to teach your kids the difference between plants and animals. You probably want to grow plants at home so that they could learn about nature, but at the same time, you don’t want them eating or playing with the cacti in your garden.

One way to handle this problem is to grow cacti with thorns as you teach them the difference between harmful and non-harmful plants. These prickly plants will discourage your kids from touching them, so they won’t end up hurting themselves with these types of cactus. Some examples include the Easter Cactus, Christmas Cactus, and the Pereskia Roseoides Cactus. You may even want to consider a cactus that contains a fleshy or pulpy interior like the Echinopsis Belenii Cactus.

Don’t forget your pets because they might also get interested in eating some of the cacti in your garden. This is why you need to choose cactus plants that are not poisonous to animals. The Pereskia Angustifolia Cactus, for example, is a non-aquatic plant that doesn’t contain any toxin, and it’s also not an irritant to the skin of your pets when they accidentally eat them.

Consider Beginner Friendly Cacti

While cacti are the easiest plants to care for, it doesn’t mean that they are the best kind of plants for beginners. It’s especially true if you don’t have much experience with plants and gardening. You can start by learning how to identify different cactus species and their kinds, so you know which ones will suit your needs and preferences.

When picking a new type of cactus to plant, consider those that are easy to grow. It’s already frustrating when you spend a lot of time and effort nurturing your plants, only for them to die after a short while. Choose cactus varieties with slow growth rates so you won’t spend too much time tending them daily.

If you are a beginner, consider getting low-care cacti just like the Moon Cactus.

Most cacti grow in the desert. This is because they can withstand long periods without rains, little sunlight, and extreme temperatures. They are hardy plants that require very little care from their owners. If you decide to bring these types of cactus into your home, you must understand that the desert-dwellers are not a good choice for beginners.

Most importantly, take your time to research and understand the type of cacti you intend to plant. Learn about their care needs, what to expect from them, how they can help you with your landscaping, and other essential things.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can you plant all cactus types at home?

Depending on the type of cactus species, you can bring these desert-dwellers inside your home and let them thrive in your garden. In fact, most cactus varieties that are common today were originally cultivated by humans. It’s not difficult to grow some cacti at home. Just remember that they will need different kinds of environments. For instance, you can’t grow an epiphytic cactus in a humid place as it may cause some discoloration on the plant’s leaves and rot its roots.

Do all cacti bloom?

Cacti may send out magnificent blooms from time to time. It’s a natural process that they go through, and it happens as they reach the end of their life cycles. You can’t expect all cacti plants to bloom at the same length of time, however. Some species may take more than 20 years before they give out blooms in the wild, while others may take decades or even centuries before flowering. How often you see your cacti blooming will depend on how well you nurture them.

Are there poisonous cacti?

There are indeed cacti that contain lethal toxins in their bodies. For instance, Guanacaste and other New World species usually have a poisonous latex sap that can cause dizziness, nausea, or even death to animals that ingest them. The most common poisonous types of cactus include those belonging to the Opuntia genus. They can be easily recognized by their thorns because they are spiky in appearance. Be careful not to introduce these cacti to your home if you have animals.

Bottom Line

Cacti are great plants to introduce to your indoor or outdoor garden. But for them to thrive, you must take care of them properly. If you have small children at home, consider their safety when growing some cacti species. Always go for cacti that are non-poisonous to animals and easy to grow. Some good choices include the Pereskia Angustifolia Cactus or those belonging to the Echinopsis genus.

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