Types of Cactus, Cactus Growing Tips – A Full Guide

Introduction: Hello Gardeners let us get into the detailed information of Types of Cactus and Cactus Gardening Ideas. The Cactus is a very unique and popular plant known by its family name of Cactaceae. It’s known for its wide variety of species, each distinct in appearance. A cactus requires little care and it can even tolerate some neglect as some types only need to be watered every two to three months. Cactus (or plural cacti) can be known by their small, round areoles from which spines (thorns), branches, leaves, hair, and flowers grow. What are we waiting for? Let us jump into different types of Cactus.

A step by step guide to types of Cactus, Cactus growing tips

All cactus plants are members of the Cactaceae family, and there are thousands of species of cactus available. There are two large groups of cacti grown as houseplants; they are popular and familiar, and both can thrive indoors with relatively little maintenance.

The desert cacti are the more “traditional” cacti, generally covered with spines or hair and often growing in paddles, balls, or obelisks. Forest cacti produce in wooded areas, ranging from temperate forests to subtropical and tropical regions. The most well-known forest cacti can be the Christmas cactus. Both desert and forest cacti boast beautiful blooms, but they have different growing habits.

Growing Tips for Cactus.
Growing Tips for Cactus.

Cactus growing tips

List of best cactus garden tips are given below;

  • The best location for most cactus houseplants is a warm, bright spot. These sun-lovers do best when they obtain lots of direct light.
  • Most cactus houseplants are slow growers and don’t want much fertilizer. Just a couple of times per year will do but if you want to fertilize cactus regularly, do so in spring and summer with a general-purpose fertilizer formulated for use on houseplants.
  • Although the sun is essential for cactus health, many species can get by on three hours a day, and supplementary lighting can help specimens living in north-facing windows.
  • Select a pot or container that is 1½ times as wide as the cactus root ball or stem. If your home is humid or you tend to water too much, you could want to choose an unglazed container, which will dry out more quickly.
  • All cacti require well-draining soil. If the soil in your current container takes longer than a minute to drain, consider repotting with a potting soil designed particularly for cacti and succulents. Or repot and add two parts of sand or perlite for each 1 part of the existing soil.
  • Fertilize cacti with a liquid fertilizer applied monthly at one-quarter of the strength listed on the package when new growth begins, normally from March through October.
  • If you overwater cactus, it could develop root rot, which stunts the plant’s growth, causes leaves to wilt and ultimately can kill the plant. Cut back on watering and be sure to wait until the soil is dry before watering cactus again. Treat pests first with the least toxic remedies before resorting to insecticidal soap or insecticides applied as directed on the package.
  • If your container or pot has drainage holes, water thoroughly once a week during the active growth period. If the container does not have drainage holes, water sparingly to moisten the soil but be sure water does not pool up at the bottom of the container which can cause rotting.
  • Cacti need soil that drains quickly, so choose a medium that’s specific for these types of plants. For even better drainage systems, mix two parts of the cactus potting soil with one part lava rock pebbles or perlite.
  • Soils for cacti must be fast-draining, so the regular potting mix will probably not work well. Special cactus-specific potting soils are obtainable or you can add sand to standard potting soil in a 1:4 ratio to cut the soil and make it thinner.
  • The common diseases with cacti are due to overwatering. In the fall and winter, these cactus plants are susceptible to rot from overwatering.

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Indoor Types of Cactus and Varieties

Although cactus plants are known for their love of sunlight, many thrive as indoor plants. Add one to windowsill or living space for some unique decor. Indoor cactus plants tend to need less light and are smaller in size, making them the perfect houseplant.

There’s a wide range of cacti to grow; they offer a plethora of shapes, colors, and sizes so you can find one that suits your personality and decor style. If they obtain enough light, many will bloom, producing cheery flowers in white, pink, red, orange, yellow, or purple. Some of the more common groups of cactus include Bunny ears, Cereus, Chin cactus, Old lady cactus, Blue flame cactus, Feather cactus, Opuntia, Parodia, Pilosocereus, and Rebutia.

Make the most of your cactus houseplants by planting them in containers or pots that accent the plants’ rich colors, shapes, or textures.

Some of the Cactus types are given below;

Bunny Ears Cactus

Originally from Mexico, the bunny ears cactus plant is named after its appearance. It has mainly two pads that are bunny ear-shaped. They are covered with glochids or brown prickles and must be handled with care. The bunny ears cactus plants grow to two or three feet, making it the perfect house plant. It forms white flowers and purple fruits in the summer if exposed to enough light. Bunny ears cactus is also called angel wing cactus is a popular choice for its cute shape. 

Parodia cactus

The ball-shaped Parodia cactus boasts showy flowers and this type of cactus prefers less light and more water than others.

Feather Cactus

Feather cactus stands apart because it’s covered in white, feathery spines, giving it a soft, almost cloud-like look. In strong light, it blooms with small, fragrant white color flowers. For best effects, when watering keeps moisture off of the spines. It grows about four inches tall.

Chin Cactus (Gymnocalycium)

Popularly known as the chin cactus or the Gymnocalycium is a South American species of cactus. Its name means “naked kalyx” in Greek which refers to the lack of hair on the flower buds. Depending on the variety, some chin cactus seeks shade while others thrive in sunlight.

Beavertail Cactus

Beavertail Cactus (Optunia basilaris) is a prickly pear cactus with pads that are mostly blue-green. It produces to about 20 inches high and up to 6 feet wide. It has dark cherry pink color flowers that almost glow and smell like watermelon. It is ideal for desert landscaping and drought-tolerant gardens and it looks great teamed with Angelita daisy and barrel cactus.

Bishop’s cap Cactus

The star-shaped bishop’s cap cactus features a short-blooming yellow color flower. It requires little amount of water and space, making it easy to grow.

Saguaro Cactus (Carnegiea gigantea)

The Saguaro cactus can grow to forty feet, but it grows very slowly. This means it can be used as an indoor plant for years before you want to move it outdoors. It has a barrel-shaped body, giving it the classic cactus form. Native to the Sonoran Desert, this plant wants a lot of light. If kept as an indoor plant, be sure to place it in direct sunlight requirement.

Old Lady Cactus

The old lady cactus is a kind of pincushion cactus in the mammillaria family, which has 250 species. It has hairs and spines and is known for its halo of tiny pink or purple color flowers that bloom in spring. The old lady cactus must be planted in a sandy potting mix and watered every other week.

The old lady cacti, a type of powder puff cactus, are covered with spines and white down, hence its name. This easy-to-grow plant is a great option for a beginner.

Golden Barrel Cactus

Golden barrel cactus (Echinocactus grusonii) can grow up to four feet tall. This iconic round cactus is simply recognizable and probably the most popular type used in drought-tolerant and desert landscaping. Its flowers are a golden yellow color. Plant several in a grid for a visually striking landscape plan in a front or backyard.

Star Cactus (Astrophytum asteria)

It is also known as sea urchin cactus or sand dollar cactus. Star cactus is identified by its round body that’s sectioned into 8 slices. It is covered with white hairs and tiny white dots. In the spring it blooms a yellow flower and the star cactus only grows two to six inches in diameter, making it an ideal house plant.

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The star cactus plant is small, making it ideal for an indoor succulent garden. A yellow or white bloom is the show-stopper on this petite cactus plant.

Angel Wings Cactus (Opunta albispina)

The angel wings cactus is a member of the prickly pear family that grows evenly spaced clusters of hairs rather than sharp spines. The Mexican native grows clusters of pads that obtain no larger than two feet tall but can grow up to 5 feet across over time. Pale yellow blooms are followed by red, edible fruits on plants that get a full day of sun.

Easter cactus (Hatiora gaertneri)

Native to Brazil, the Easter cactus plant blooms in late winter and early spring. Its flowers differ from whites to oranges to lavenders. The cactus plant’s spines are stacked on top of each other, giving it a unique shape.

Blue Flame Cactus

Blue flame cactus (Myrtillocactus geometrizans) is also called as bilberry cactus, garambullo, or whortleberry. It can grow to 12 to 13 feet high and 8 to 12 feet wide. Crested species are generally smaller. In its natural habitat, blue flame forms dense, cactus forests and can attain heights of 30 feet. It is most known for its upright candelabra shape, blue-green color, and purple fruit that looks and tastes like a cross between a blueberry and cranberry.

Christmas cactus

The Christmas cactus blooms in late winter. It has vibrant red flowers and is a regular holiday gift. The Christmas cactus plant does well indoors, in moderate home conditions. Avoid watering too much as this will cause the roots to rot. This cactus plant can adapt to low light environments, but blooms excel with more light.

With proper care, the bright pink blooms of a Christmas cactus plant will return year after year during the holiday season. A Christmas cactus plant prefers a humid climate and requires more watering than other types.

Christmas cactus is an unusual, upright-growing variety that has thick, branched pads that almost give it a Christmas-tree look. Over time, it can produce 24 inches tall. It is also called the Austrocylindropuntia subulata.

Moon Cactus

It is also known as chin cactus, the moon cactus varies in size, shape, and color. It is a popular variety is the hibotan cactus. It is originated in South America and comes in bright reds, pinks, yellows, and oranges. These small plants thrive on window sills that obtain partial light.

Blue Columnar Cactus

The fast-growing blue columnar cactus plant can reach heights of 30 feet tall, and when mature, it boasts funnel-shaped blooms.

Barrel Cactus

This plant needs plenty of suns and not much water. A barrel cactus plant can thrive with watering as infrequently as once every two to three months.

Orchid Cactus

In their native habitats of the tropical Americas, orchid cactus can grow as long as 225 feet. The flowers of these cactus plants are admired for their stunning 4-inch blooms in pinks, reds, whites, yellows, oranges, and shades in between. These plants are grown in hanging baskets, they like filtered sunlight and can be grown outdoors in climates with warm winters. Try hanging orchid cacti from branches of large trees; they will advantage from the fresh air and light.

Moon Cactus

Moon cactus is a popular addition to a succulent garden thanks to their bright color. The hybrid plant is two types of cacti grafted together, and their life spans are short compared to other cactus species.

Ladyfinger cactus

Ladyfinger cactus is also called gold lace cactus is a sweet addition to a succulent garden. This petite cactus grows to 6 inches tall and blooms with white flowers.

Twin-Spine Cactus

A twin-spine cactus plant is a rounded, mounding variety that has silvery-white spines and cute pink flowers. It can grow about 8 inches or 18 cm tall over time.

Crown Cactus

Crown cactus plant is slow-growing and forms tidy mounds about as wide as it is tall. Over time, this plant forms offshoots and grows into a cluster. It produces large, orange-red flowers in spring and it is also sometimes called Rebutia krainziana.

Lemon Ball Cactus

Lemon ball cactus is also called Notocactus mammulosa. It is a small and easy-to-grow species that usually gets about 4 inches tall and is covered in needle-like spines. When it blooms it forms yellowish flowers.

Owl-Eye Cactus

An owl-eye cactus plant is a charming mounding variety that has white spines, densely clustered at the top of the plant, and creamy-yellow flowers.

Hope you enjoyed the reading of types of Cactus and Cactus gardening ideas. Keep gardening!.

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