Gardening

16 Beautiful Cactus Plants For Home Decor & Care Tips

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Nowadays, it’s common to see people use various types of cactus plants for home decor. The unique shape, size, and beautiful flowers that bloom make them a great addition to modern homes. It’s much easier to grow and maintain cactus plants as they require much less water compared to other plants.

In this article, we discuss 16 different cactus plants and how to maintain them effectively.

01. Pincushion Cactus (Mammillaria spinosissima)

Pincushion Cactus with Flower

Water: 💧💧💧💧
Sun Light: ☀️☀️☀️☀️☀️
Flowers: ✿ (Yellow, white, purple, and pink color flowers)

Growing pincushion cactus is a fun and easy gardening project for novice gardeners. These cute plants are native to the arid upper Sonoran desert. They are also drought-tolerant and usually don’t grow more than branches (15cm) in height. Pincushion cacti are small, squat plants that can be ball or barrel-shaped. These small cacti make excellent additions to succulent displays. The pincushion cactus is a member of a family called Mammillaria, which includes 250 species of cactus. Some of the species of pincushion have colorful names such as Tiara. Veldfire, Tango, and Blanche.

Most of the Mammillaria are native to Mexico, but some come from the southwest US, the Caribbean, Columbia, Venezuela, Guatemala, and Honduras.

If optimum heat and watering conditions are met, the pincushion cactus will reward you with flowers in the spring.

Care Tips For Pincushion Cactus

Water can once a week while maintaining a temperature of 10 to 24 degrees, at least 3-4 hours of direct sunlight and a small amount of feed over the summer season is all it needs. Try pruning and replotting it at least once every 2-3 years for your pincushions to thrive.

02. Bunny Ear Cactus (Opuntia microdasys)

Bunny ears cactus

Water: 💧💧
Sun Light: ☀️☀️☀️☀️☀️
Flowers: ✿ (Yellow and white color flowers)

The bunny ear cactus is a very popular house plant that is not only beautiful but also easy to maintain. This cactus does not develop spires, instead, it grows glochids, which are short whilst brown prickles. It is also called the polka dot cactus. It is native to dry areas of northern Mexico and can range in height from 16 to 24 inches at maturity.

Bunny ears cactus has no central stem or leaves. It has individual segments which compose the cactus body and are oval-shaped pads from which the additional segments form. These new segments always grow in pairs, giving new growth areas the appearance of bunny ears. Flowers will always sprout from the terminal ends of segment pads.

Care Tips For Bunny Ear Cactus

Place your bunny ear cacti in direct sunlight during summer. Water them once every three to four weeks during autumn and winter. These plants can also do well without watering in winter, but they need immediate watering once the spring shows its warmth. Plant your cactus in a clay pot with sandy soil.

03. Barrel Cactus (Echinocactus grusonii)

Barrel Cactus

Water: 💧💧💧
Sun Light: ☀️☀️☀️
Flowers: ✿ (Red, Yellow, and Pink color flowers)

This unique cactus is identified by its thick (2-foot diameter) barrel-shaped body and hooked spikes. It has yellow/red flowers and yellow fruit which always grow at the top of the plant. Barrel cacti are various members of the two genera Echinococcus and Fer cactus, found in the desert of South Western  North America.

They usually grow to about 60cm high and 30cm in diameter. Barrel cacti grow into a squat tubular shape, giving it the appearance of a very spikey ribbed barrel. These cacti mainly grow in the deserts, where it is sandy or rocky soils with little water and lots of sun. The larger spines keep away thirsty desert creatures while the smaller spines on the other hand help prevent water loss and scorching by reflecting away some of the intense desert sunlight.

Care Tips For Barrel Cactus

Water your barrel cactus once a week in summer. It doesn’t need much water during winter when it is dormant. Choose a sunny location for the cactus. It is advised to plant your cactus in well-draining soil and avoid humanity and temperature fluctuations. To produce the gorgeous blooms that reside on top of the plants you need to plant the cactus where it will get full sunlight throughout spring and summer.

04. Chin Cactus (Gymnocalycium baldianum)

Chin Cactus

Water: 💧💧💧💧
Sun Light: ☀️☀️☀️
Flowers: ✿ (Red, White, Pink, and Salmon color flowers)

These small plants are globose to cylindrical and are small named for the chin-like protuberance below each spine-bearing areole on the ribs. They are found in warm regions of Argentina, Paraguay, Uruguay, Bolivia, and Brazil.

These are beautiful ornamental plants that come in natural and cultivated varieties. They are rather small varying from 4 to 5 centimeters in size. They are popular for their easy flowering habits and these flowers are generally brightly colored. These brightly colored flowers and chin cactus are very popular among florist traders.

Care Tips For Chin Cactus

Chin cacti prefer bright but indirect sunlight all year round. If you don’t live in a warm region they are suitable only to grow indoors. These good-looking cacti are easy to grow and care for. With their beautiful shapes and hypnotic flowers, these cacti work well as ornamental houseplants indoors on desks, coffee tables, or even bookshelves. If the temperatures drop below 10 degrees, chin cacti must be placed under glass and cultivated with proper heat. There are no toxic effects that have been reported for chin cacti. They can be grown in the proximity of curious pets and children, however, be careful as their spines can be a bit dangerous.

05. Melon Cactus (Genus Melocactus)

Melon Cactus

Water: 💧💧💧
Sun Light: ☀️☀️☀️☀️☀️
Flowers: ✿ (Pink/Purple color flowers)

The melon cactus is a genus of cacti with more than 30 identified species. Melon cacti are ribbed and ball-shaped to cylindrical. Native to West Indies, Central America, and tropical  South America. These plants are distinguished by a reddish woolly mass, the cephalium, that forms a cap atop the plant when it reaches a certain age, varying with the species. Carmine to pink flowers pushes up through the cephalium, while only the tips are visible. These pink flowers are followed by waxy yet edible fruits which are often pink or red.

Care Tips For Melon Cactus

It is considered best to plant the Melon cactus in the spring. While they have a moderate growth rate, some species grow faster than others. These cacti are finicky plants that must have their growing requirements met for them to be able to flourish. Thus the right watering routine becomes key for their care. Melon cacti don’t like soggy soil, but they also shouldn’t be left to dry out. If you are growing them indoors, place the pot by your brightest window, and bring it outside in the warm weather to get direct sunlight. Feed your Melon cactus with a balanced amount of cactus or succulent fertilizer during the spring and summer to boost its growth.

06. Cholla Cactus (Cylindropuntia echinocarpa)

Cholla Cactus

Water: 💧
Sun Light: ☀️☀️☀️☀️☀️
Flowers: ✿ (Green, Red, Pink, Yellow, and Orange color flowers)

Cholla genus of about 35 species of cylindroid jointed cacti (family Cactaceae) native to North and South America and West Indies. The living Cholla cactus plants serve as food for the desert livestock, and cholla wood, which takes the form of a hollow cylinder with regularly spaced holes, is often used as fuel or novelties. Some of its fruits are edible. The succulent stems of cholla cacti act as the water storage while also providing photosynthesis resulting in production of flowers and fruits which are mostly edible, etc. These cacti have papery sheaths that cover their spines. Such sheaths are colorful in some species, which results in the plant’s unique appearance. As seen in different species, the color of cholla cactus flowers often ranges from yellow-green to reddish shades, A lot of them are shrubs and trees though, but there are some creepers too.

Care Tips For Cholla Cactus

First of all, check the soil PH levels before planting the cactus. The ideal PH for this cactus should be between 6.0 to 7.5. If the soil seems to be too acidic, you can add a bit of lime to get it to the correct PH level. On the other hand, if it is alkaline, sulfur will be the best option to obtain the desired PH level. Although sulfur is low in toxicity for humans make sure to follow safety rules and wear gloves. The location where you are growing your cholla cacti must have at least 6 hours of full sunlight in a day. The soil has to be well-drained as soggy soil will result in it rotting. You can add compost and sand to the soil. Use thick clothes or carpet pieces to hold and handle these cacti to avoid spines from hurting your skin.

07. Prickly Pear Cactus (Opuntia littoralis)

Prickly Pear Cactus

Water: 💧
Sun Light: ☀️☀️☀️☀️☀️
Flowers: ✿ (Red, Yellow, and Purple color flowers)

Prickly pear cactus represent about dozen species of the Opuntia genus in the North American deserts. All have flat fleshy pads that look like large leaves. The pads are modified branches or stems that serve several functions such as water storage, photosynthesis, and flower production. Prickly pears fruits are mostly edible and can be found sold in stores often under the name “tuna”. Prickly pear branches can also be cooked and served as a vegetable. They are also sold in stores commonly labeled as “Nopolito”. Both the fruits and the pads of the prickly pear cactus are rich in slowly absorbed soluble fibers that can help keep your blood sugar stable. Nectar is made with the juice and the pulp of the prickly pear fruits.

Care Tips For Prickly Pear Cactus

Water whenever the compost is dried out, allowing any excess to drain away. Make sure to feed it with a cactus fertilizer once every two months from spring to early autumn. During the winter move to a cooler spot to encourage flowers. It is best to repot young plants every spring and mature plants every couple of years to keep them in good shape. Grow them in a warm, bright spot that doesn’t go below 10 degrees in winter. Shield them in strong, direct sun in the summer.

08. Eve’s Pin Cactus (Austrocylindropuntia subulata)

Eve's pin

Water: 💧
Sun Light: ☀️☀️☀️☀️☀️
Flowers: ✿ (Red, Orange, and Pink color flowers)

Eve’s pin cactus is a species of tree cactus native to the Peruvian Andes. This is a shrubby cactus with cylindrical stems from South America. They do not have papery sheaths associated with their spines and grow with an upright, branching habit. Stem growth occurs without distinct divisions and showy, cup-shaped, red-pink, and orange flowers are produced at the stem tips, they rest on sping floral tubes. These measure around 6 cm in length and flowers lead on to thick, rounded, sometimes thorny, edible fruits measuring around 10 cm long. In the wild, Eve’s pin can reach 12 feet and a width of 5 feet.

Care Tips For Eve’s Pin Cactus

Like most cacti Eve,s pin cactus is easy to grow. This cactus is not very pricky. In terms of growing medium, this cactus will do just fine in any type of soil that features excellent drainage. It will perform best in a loose mixture of 50% pumice, 25% potting soil, and 25% sand. If you cannot prepare this particular mixture at home, you can always plant this cactus in a commercial substrate designed for cacti and succulents.

09. Moon Cactus (Gymnocalycium mihanovichii)

Moon Cactus

Water: 💧💧
Sun Light: ☀️☀️☀️
Flowers: ✿ (Red, Pink, and Yellow color flowers)

Commonly known as the Moon cactus, is a glowing red mutant that must be grown and grafted onto a normal cactus because it lacks chlorophyll and cannot synthesize its own food. Moon cactus needs indirect sunlight, with 1 to 2 hours of morning or afternoon light, whether in a shady area that’s still bright or near a bright window. Be mindful that it doesn’t get scorched, as they are sensitive to intense rays.

Depending on the rootstock, moon cacti can reach various heights but they usually stop growing once they reach around 4 inches. The diameter of the moon cactus is between 1.1 and 1.9 inches ( 3-5 cm) Generally they have 8-14 slightly notched ribs with narrow edges. Moon cactus is native to South America’s deserts in Brazil, Argentina, and Paraguay.

Care Tips For Moon Cactus

Provide an appropriate amount of sunlight. The cactus must receive enough sunlight for its photosynthesis process. Plant your moon cactus in well-drained soil and water them sparingly. Place it in a warm environment for the best results. For improved drainage, potting soil mix can be used or you can add perlite or coarse sand to the soil for moon cacti. Choosing a porous clay pot with drainage holes will help excess water drain. It is possible to keep your moon cactus outdoors during the warmer months of the year but make sure to move it back indoors during winter.

10. Mistletoe Cactus (Rhispasalis baccifera)

Mistletoe Cactus

Water: 💧💧💧💧
Sun Light: ☀️☀️☀️
Flowers: ✿ (Red, Pink, and Yellow color flowers)

This cactus is a tropical epiphytic plant in the cactus family that is beloved as a house plant for its unique pencil-thin foliage and trailing growth habit. Mistletoe cactus originates from Central and South America, the Caribbean, and Florida. It is also found throughout the tropics of Africa and in Sri Lanka where it is known as Nawahandi. Flowers are delicate and cream- white to pink-tinged in colors, leading to vibrant pink-red berry fruits. They are usually cultivated as house plants or glass house specimens as they are frost tender and require high humidity and bright but indirect light.

Care Tips For Mistletoe Cactus

During the spring and summer when outdoor temperatures are warmer, you can give your mistletoe cactus a break from indoors by placing it in a shady location outside. Just be sure to bring it back to its protected location before winter comes around. Grow them in rich well-drained soil, create a humid environment, and water when the soil surface starts to dry. Place them in bright but filtered light, in a site with temperatures averaging between 60 degrees F to 80 degrees F, and fertilize monthly during the growing season.

11. Lady Finger Cactus (Mammillaria elongate)

Ladyfinger Cactus

Water: 💧💧💧
Sun Light: ☀️☀️☀️☀️
Flowers: ✿ (Light Yellow and Pink color flowers)

Native to Mexico, this small yet unique succulent belongs to the cactus family and grows up to 8 inches in height. It bears brown-yellow spines within its dense clusters of cylindrical stems. Its attractive finger-like stems which are long yet narrow in appearance give the winter dormant cactus its common name. Also, it blooms flowers throughout spring which are between pink to yellow colored. Lady finger cactus has multiple common names, namely Gold Lace, Golden stars, and Lady Fingers. This beautiful blooms in subtle white to yellow colors during the spring season. The small flowers arise from the upper half of the stems. When in good conditions, the flowering usually takes place from mid-winter to the spring. In case the cactus has not bloomed by its growing season, you need to place your plant outdoor throughout the summers as it will start to bloom for some time.

Care Tips For Lady Finger Cactus

The drought-tolerant cacti enjoy full sun and require about six hours of bright sunlight each day when planted indoors, it is best to keep them near a south-facing window. It can survive a partial shade as well. Lady finger cactus goes dormant in winters, watering once a month, works great. During summer, you can water these plants once every week.

12. Chilita Lenta (Mammillaria lenta)

Chilita Lenta

Water: 💧💧💧
Sun Light: ☀️☀️☀️☀️
Flowers: ✿ (White flowers with a purple/pink stripe)

This is an attractive and rewarding cactus with dense crisis–crossing white spines. The slow growth rate but off-setting habit and unusual large flowers make it the most sought-after species and it is often a show winner. Native to Mexico the species appears over a range of approximately 16,000 km 2. The stems of Chilita lenta are bright green to yellow-green and almost hidden by the delicate white spines. Unlike many other cacti, which use their ribs for storage, mammillaria, feature raised tubercles, from which spines emerge. The flowers emerge from the axils of these tubercles from the growth in previous years, which accounts for their interesting halo effect.

Care Tips For Chilita Lenta

Make sure to allow the plants to enjoy a cooling period during the winter and suspend watering to encourage better flowering. While it may be obvious, the cactus must not be exposed to prolonged dampness and sitting water. Furthermore, you should never let your cactus sit in a water dish. Lastly, make sure to fertilize during its growth for the best results. Repot as needed preferably during the summer to encourage its growth.

13. Parodia Cactus (Parodia nivosa)

Parodia Cactus

Water: 💧💧💧
Sun Light: ☀️☀️☀️☀️
Flowers: ✿ (Red, Orange, Yellow and Pink color flowers)

Native to high regions of South America, Parodia is a genus consisting of about 50 species ranging from small ball cacti total to narrow varieties reaching a height of about 3 feet. Flowers ranging from yellow, pink, orange, or red appear on the upper part of mature plants which are often cup-shaped. The genus Parodia was named after Domingo Parodi, to commemorate him for being one of the earliest investigators of the flora of Paraguay. The Parodia cactus has been awarded the Award of Garden Merit (AGM) from the Royal Horticultural Society for approval that the plant performs reliably in a garden. A young Parodia cactus will usually have a globus-shape (a pyramid-shaped) to it, and it will eventually mature into a taller and more columnar-shaped cactus. Many of them are deeply ribbed. Another distinguishable feature of Parodia cacti is their spines. They have either very long and sharp spines or shorter spines that are interlaced with long hairs which makes them well known for being very spiny specimens among cacti.

Care Tips For Parodia Cactus

Especially during its growing season, Parodia cactus prefer moist, well-drained, yet hydrated soil. Thus keep in mind to regulate the watering during spring and summer time and in the winter months when the temperature drops, make sure you water intermittently to keep the soil moist. Cut back the watering frequency, and let the soil almost dry out between watering. Use a balanced cactus fertilizer mix once a month during the summer and springtime to feed the plants and stop feeding during the winter.

14. Star Cactus (Astrophytum asterias)

Star Cactus

Water: 💧💧
Sun Light: ☀️☀️☀️☀️
Flowers: ✿ (Pinkish-Red, Orangish-Red, and Purple-Red color flowers)

Being native to small parts of Texas in the United States and Mexico, the Star cactus is known throughout as Sand dollar cactus, Sea urchin cactus, Star cactus, and Star peyote. These cacti are small round-shaped plants with a typical height ranging from about 1 to 2 inches with a diameter being anywhere from 2 to 6 inches when fully grown. The plant is usually green in color although occasionally gets a tinge of brown. The whole globular stem can be seen as a ribbed structure with ridges that could count as many as 10. Each rib is dotted with white hairy areoles. The flowers are yellow with a combination of other colors orange, and red that take up the centers and bases, respectively. These blooms typically appear between March and May. These flowers turn into oval woolly berries in late spring and can get a color ranging from green, gray, pink, or reddish.

Care Tips For Star Cactus

Being a succulent, the Star cactus can do just fine with minimal care like most succulent house plants. When it comes to withstanding temperatures, the Star cactus is known for being quite hardy, as far as how low the temperatures can get. However to make sure its healthy growth, give your plant a few hours of direct sunlight each day. In case your home cannot provide enough direct sunlight, you need to make sure to install indoor LED plant lights so that it will get enough light. It is very important to provide it with a well-drained soil mix for growing a healthy cactus. A poorly drained one like a regular soil mix is a sure way of inviting rot. Go for quality commercial cactus and succulent mix.

15. Old Lady Cactus (Mammillaria hahniana)

Old Lady Cactus

Water: 💧💧
Sun Light: ☀️☀️☀️
Flowers: ✿ (Bright Pink color flowers)

This prickly cactus is one of the most popular house plants. It belongs to the Mammillaria genera which contain over 200 plant species, most of which are native to Mexico. Due to its limited range, the Old Lady cactus is listed as a nearly threatened species. The fruits of this cacti are edible, and have a sweet and tangy taste, like strawberries. If you want to buy one, you may find these cacti in independent containers, or in terrariums depending on their size, combined with other succulents. This cactus symbolizes endurance and hope because it survives in very harsh conditions. This cactus appeals to many people as its flowers are so precious and so delicate compared to its needles. It features stunning spherical stems that are covered in sharp white spines and white down. These spheres grow to be around 4 inches tall, and 6 inches wide, though over several years this can evolve into a height of up to about 10 inches. One very notable fact about these cacti is that they do not like being lonely, and often grow in dense groups, resembling a cluster of spheres.

Care Tips For Old Lady Cactus

Old Lady cactus needs soil that will drain relatively fast as water retention can really affect the growth of your cactus. Being porous and rich in nutrients will help as well. Look for a commercial cactus mix for the best results. It is best to look for a mixture that is sandy in texture. This plant does better in outdoor conditions where it lavishes in the sun. The old lady cactus can be kept indoors too. The pot should be kept in a very sunny area and should not be overwatered. Provide some outdoor time during the warmer months (summer) if possible and the plant will benefit from it if you plan to grow your cactus indoors.

16. Thanksgiving Cactus (Schlumbergera truncata)

Water: 💧💧
Sun Light: ☀️☀️
Flowers: ✿ (Red, Pink, Orange, and White color flowers)

The Thanksgiving cactus is an interior plant that is easy to grow. These cacti are native to the tropical forests of Brazil. They are beautiful plants commonly sold and given as gifts during holiday times. Thanksgiving cactus is a proven winner, with its blooms that last for 2 to 4 months with its easy-going nature. The only real problem with the plant however is its need to be fooled in order to bloom again the next year. Forcing this cactus to bloom requires cool temperatures and shorter daylight hours. People who live where temperatures get cold will have to create false conditions indoors to protect them from the cold but can experience cool temperatures down to 40 degrees Fahrenheit (4°C) and reduced light, including artificial light. Start forcing the Thanksgiving cactus to bloom in late summer to early fall.

Care Tips For Thanksgiving Cactus

These tropical plants should never be allowed to dry out as the most essential aspect of the Thanksgiving cactus plant care is water. Excess water is also not good for these plants as it will cause roots to rot, and infect the plants with fungal issues. It often has exposed roots that gather most of its moisture through humidity in the air due to being an epiphyte. Potted plants need well-draining soil and good drainage. Make sure to water them thoroughly after which the top 1/3 of the soil should be allowed to dry out before you water them again.

Kiyara Molina

Kiyara Molina has more than 05 years of experience as a Client Manager at RR Donnelley. She was born in Phoenix, Arizona, and graduated from Arizona State University. She is spending her free time exploring exciting things and writing blog articles on Readwires.

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