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The Most Popular Cacti Species Out There

Cacti come in a wide variety of types. However, you should be aware of some of the more generic terms you may encounter. These are likely to include:

  • Feather cactus
  • Star cactus
  • Moon cactus
  • Ladyfinger cactus
  • Old lady cactus
  • Rat tail cactus
  • Cholla cactus
  • Totem pole cactus

Other types of cactus, such as prickly pear cacti, refer to a group of cacti rather than a single plant. However, it makes sense to list particular plants and cactus species for the purposes of this list.

Cactus Buying Guide

Small potted cacti in a store.

Many people think of the classic barrel cactus with two limbs when they think of a cactus. While that is a popular cactus breed, the cactus family of plants is much more diverse.

Many different types of cactus can be used to decorate your home. Scientists have found more than 2,000 species of cacti.

Consider where you’ll store the plant, whether you want a flowering type, and where the cactus species comes from before deciding on the finest desert plant for you.

Types of Indoor Cacti

Cacti are wonderful additions to any home. These lovely plants are simple to care for and can be easily grown indoors. If you want to grow cacti indoors, though, you’ll need to find a species that thrives in that type of environment.

1. Christmas Cactus

Christmas cactus with bright pink flowers in a white pot.

If you’re searching for something different this Christmas, this strange plant may be just what you’re looking for. The Christmas Cactus gets its name because it blooms around Christmas time when the days are shorter. This cactus can also bloom in the fall and spring with adequate care.

This cactus is a woodland type, explaining why it doesn’t look like a regular cactus. The blooms might be orange, pink, red, or white, depending on the plant.

This houseplant reaches a height of six to twelve inches and a width of six to eighteen inches. Depending on the size of the pot, the actual size of your Christmas Cactus may vary. This cactus, like most cacti, is drought tolerant and low-maintenance.

The plant itself ranges in price from $5 to $15. It can be purchased already potted for $35 and higher. It’s better to purchase a Christmas Cactus that has already bloomed.

2. Easter Cactus

Easter cactus with green foliage and pink flowers on a windowsill.

As you could have guessed from the name, the Easter Cactus is a cousin of the Christmas Cactus. This lovely houseplant is also a forest variety.

On the other hand, this type of plant is native to drier woodlands than its Christmas cousin. The Easter Cactus has red, white, peach, orange, and even purple blossoms.

This cactus, unlike other cacti, enjoys a little humidity. If you reside in a dry climate, make sure to provide some moisture for this cactus. This can be accomplished by placing the plant on a water-filled saucer.

This plant prefers to grow outward rather than upward. It can reach a height of 12 inches but rarely exceeds that. The container’s dimensions will determine the cactus’ width. This plant is normally available in a simple planter for around $25. This lovely cactus will set you back around ten dollars if you don’t have a pot.

3. Desert Types

Various desert cactus in black pots over a stump on a wooden table.

Cactus species found in the desert are probably closer to what you envision when you think of a cactus. These cacti can make excellent indoor plants. While anyone who comes too close to the spikes can be harmed, these plants are normally not hazardous to children or pets.

Cacti from the desert make excellent houseplants. There are hundreds of different species to choose from. You can choose an indoor desert plant based on its appearance, whether it will flower, and its origins.

Cactus in the desert is relatively affordable. You can acquire one of these cute cacti for less than $1 to just a few bucks, depending on the size of the plant and retailer.

Outdoor Cacti

Do you believe cacti are only for dry, dull yards? You might want to think again. These stylish plants would look fantastic in any yard. They not only give a fresh, unusual aesthetic, but they are also simple to maintain.

When it comes to outdoor cactus kinds, you have a lot of options, just like with indoor cacti. These varieties can be classified according to the forms they take. You can mix and match these styles to create a truly captivating landscape.

1. Barrel Cacti

Barrel cacti growing in a desert.

Barrel (or globular) cactus have a barrel-like appearance. These plants can reach a height of three feet, while other kinds remain smaller. A fully grown barrel cactus often costs between $20 and $40.

On the other hand, Young cactus are frequently available for only a few bucks.

The following are some examples of barrel cacti:

  • Monk’s Hood
  • Golden Barrel
  • Fishhook Barrel
  • Blue Barrel

These cacti prefer dry soil and plenty of sunlight. You may want to plant your outdoor cactus in pots if you live in an area with chilly weather or moist soil. This allows you to bring the plants inside when the weather becomes too harsh for them.

2. Columnar Cacti

Assorted columnar cacti in greenhouse.

Cacti that grow in columns are known as columnar cacti. Cacti of the columnar kind, commonly known as “cereus type,” grow tall and thin.

There are about 170 different species of columnar cactus, each with its own characteristics. The only thing that these cacti have in common is that they are taller than they are wide. Some varieties are ten times as tall as they are wide.

These cactus are unusually long-lived. Some have been known to live up to 200 years. These easy-going plants can survive a lifetime if properly cared for.

Fun fact: for thousands of years, these cactus have been consumed by humans. The beauty of columnar cacti cannot be overstated.

One of these plants can set you back anywhere from $10 to $30. On the other hand, cacti that are highly mature may cost a little more. A couple of these may give your outdoor garden a lot of depth and character.

3. Prickly Pear Cactus

Prickly pear cactus with tiny yellow and orange flowers.

The prickly pear, or Opuntia genus, is the third fundamental shape of the outdoor cactus. These plants contain a lot of flat, fleshy surfaces that seem like enormous leaves rather than one or two columns or barrels.

The majority of these cacti produce stunning orange, pink, purple, and red flowers. The “leaves” are also a variety of colors, ranging from bright green to muted blue.

Prickly pear cacti come in a variety of sizes. Some smaller species grow to be less than a foot tall, while others can reach heights of up to seven feet. These unusual plants can be used to accent your columnar and barrel cacti in your landscape.

Some common Prickly Pear cacti include:

  • Hedgehog Prickly Pear
  • Bearded Prickly Pear
  • Beavertail Cactus
  • Blind Prickly Pear
  • Spiny-Fruited Prickly Pear
  • Brown-Spined Prickly Pear and Other Prickly Pear Cacti

A plant like this will generally cost between $15 and $25. They’re a fun addition to any garden!

Flowering Cacti

Close-up of a spiky cactus with bright orange blooms.

Cacti are rarely the first plant that comes to mind when people think about flowering plant kinds for their gardens. On the other hand, many varieties of cactus can produce beautiful and fragrant flowers.

Some cacti bloom all year, while others only bloom during winter. Some of the flowers bloom after the sun sets, while others bloom during the day. It doesn’t matter what kind of bloom your cactus produces. It’ll be a delight.

The size, maturity, and breed of a flowering cactus determine its size and price. For about $15, you can acquire a pack of the cacti in the image above.

Non-Flowering Cacti

Top view of non flowering cactus in various shapes and colors.

All cactus don’t produce Flowers. However, the absence of blossoms does not imply that it is unattractive. Non-flowering cacti come in various colors and shapes, with golden spikes. Each plant is one-of-a-kind and gives a distinctive flavor to your garden or home.

Non-flowering cacti are also especially easy to maintain. Care is straightforward because you don’t have to worry about getting the flower to blossom. The spines store water for a long time, allowing you to go without drinking for extended periods of time.

Non-flowering cacti come in a wide range of prices and sizes. Some can reach heights of seven feet, while others are only six inches tall. As a result, the price of these plants fluctuates.

Regions

Cacti are plants that thrive all throughout the world, but many people identify them with the American southwest. Check out the different species of cacti that come from different parts of the world if you want to construct a landscape that is inspired by a specific region.

1. Madagascar

Cactus with clusters of tiny green foliage in Madagascar.

Madagascar is home to around 12,000 plant species. It is, without a doubt, a one-of-a-kind island with stunning flora to admire. Many of these plant species are only found in the United States. In fact, 95% of the flora found in the Spiny desert aren’t seen anywhere else on the planet.

Many rare cacti and succulents found in Madagascar include:

  • Several species of aloe
  • Long Spine
  • Silver Dollar Jade
  • Sweet Noor and other exotic plants

Some of these plants produce lovely, fragrant flowers. Others make aloe that can be used in natural therapies. They all bring something unique to your outdoor or indoor setting.

Madagascar cactus are forgiving in general. They are able to survive lower temperatures than some other plant kinds. If it gets too cold outside, you should bring them inside.

The cost of these plants ranges from less than five dollars to more than 20 dollars. Of course, the actual amount varies on the plant’s size and age, as well as the store.

2. Mexico

Cacti garden in Mexico.

Mexico is home to some of the world’s most well-known cactus. The cactus has become an important part of Mexican culture and cuisine.

The Organ Pipe cactus yields a sweet fruit that is consumed by local fauna. On the other hand, local prickly pear types are a refreshing addition to any Mexican recipe.

A Mexican cactus is sure to impress, whether you choose it for style or for sustenance. These plants thrive in hot, dry conditions. That’s why any outdoor Mexican cacti must be grown in containers. If the temperature drops too low, you’ll want to bring them in.

Cacti come in various heights, forms, colors, and sizes throughout Mexico. Here are a few of the most popular plants to bring back from Mexico:

  • Christmas Cactus
  • Agave
  • Sawtooth
  • Organ Pipe
  • Suguaro
  • Senita
  • Hedgehog
  • Barrel

Many other Mexican cacti have a broad range of prices. Some six-inch plants cost less than ten dollars, but larger plants might cost up to seventy dollars.

3. The United States of America

Tall cacti in Sonoran Desert, Arizona.

Cacti are abundant throughout the Southwest of the United States.

Saguaro National Park in Arizona is named after the “King of the Cactus,” the Saguaro cactus. This towering plant may reach heights of over 60 feet and has multiple smaller branches sprouting from a single massive column. This colossal cactus isn’t the only one found in the United States.

Cereus, blossoming hedgehog, prickly pear, and foxtail cacti can all be found around the country. Each one is different in terms of size and shape. Flowers are produced by some, while others produce fruit.

The American plants come in a wide range of pricing, much as their sizes. Some one-gallon plants are less than ten dollars, while ten-gallon cacti can cost up to seventy dollars. It all depends on how much money you have to spend and how big you want the plant to be when you get it.

4. South America

Giant cactus covering Isla del Pescado.

South America is noted for its lush vegetation and rainy climate. As a result, many people are shocked to hear that cacti can be found on this continent. These lovely cacti are native to South America:

  • Ball Cactus
  • Pineapple Dyckia
  • Copiapoa humilis
  • Pineapple Dyckia

You may need to use more water for these plants than for other cacti because they come from places with higher humidity. They are, however, still rather low-maintenance.

Where to Purchase

Have you made the decision to add a cactus to your garden?

Great selections can be found at the following stores:

  • Cactus King
  • Costa Farms
  • The Home Depot
  • Cactus Store
  • Amazon
  • Your local nursery

Frequently Asked Questions

Answers to frequently asked questions about cacti can be found here.

Are cactus considered succulents?

Cacti are classified as succulents because they can store water. Cacti hold water in their fleshy parts, which is a distinguishing property of succulents in general. They are classified as a subcategory of succulents as a result of this. However, this does not imply that all succulents are cacti. Cacti are succulents that have areoles or regions where spines grow out of them. Cacti have characteristics that aren’t found in other succulents, making them one-of-a-kind.

Are cacti trees?

No, although they have a lot of treelike characteristics. Although some cacti, such as the Pereskia genus, closely resemble trees, cacti are not commonly thought of as trees. Many varieties of cactus that closely resemble trees are simply called treelike. The leaves, bark, and propensity to grow into treelike shapes are the characteristics that are frequently misconstrued with designating them as trees.

It is, however, wrong to infer that a cactus is a tree because it resembles one. Scientists do not consider cacti to be trees because they are still classified as members of the Cactaceae family.

Are cacti flowers?

Although most cacti are not considered flowers, some species have been observed to produce blooms. Many people believe that cacti, such as the Echinopsis, produce lovely flowers, leading them to believe that cacti are flowers themselves.

On the other hand, Cacti are still considered plants because they exclusively host flowers. Several cacti have no flowers and solely grow spines, making this a difficult phrase to use in a broad sense. It’s worth mentioning, though, that cacti are frequently referred to as flowering plants, a term that is not synonymous with flowers.

Is it true that cacti are ericaceous?

Because cacti do not belong to the Ericaceae family, they are not ericaceous. On the other hand, Cacti are classified as members of the Cactaceae family.

Are cactus considered plants?

Due to their classification as succulents, a subcategory of plants, cacti, are considered plants.

Cacti are angiosperms, right?

Cacti are classified as angiosperms, which is another way of referring to flowering plants. Cacti are included in the Cactaceae family of angiosperms, including the Cactaceae family.

Is it true that cacti are monocots?

They aren’t, no. This is due to the fact that angiosperms are generally classified as dicots or blooming plants with two seed leaves.

Are cacti considered vegetables?

Because not all cacti are edible, they cannot all be classified as vegetables. On the other hand, the edible species are classified as vegetables (i.e., nopales, an edible type of cactus).

Is it possible for cactus to die?

Even while cacti are known for being slow-growing, long-lasting plants, they can succumb to severe conditions or clumsiness. Excessive moisture in the soil, which is commonly the result of overwatering, is the most prevalent cause of cactus death. Because cacti do not require as much water as other flowering plants, it is easy to overestimate their water requirements. Low temperatures can also kill cacti, while some species are able to withstand extremely cold temperatures.

Can cacti grow in the shade?

It is dependent on the cactus species. Certain species of cactus will be able to thrive in the shade, while others will be unable to. Cacti can also grow towards the light source that is closest to them, leading their entire development to be centered on light while growing up in the shade.

Is it possible for cacti to survive the winter?

Normally, no. The majority of cacti are recognized for growing in hot, coastal locations, although some species may also thrive in colder climates. However, all cactus have in common that they have a hard time with winter precipitation.

The majority of cacti can only survive in temperatures below freezing (32 degrees Fahrenheit). In general, however, the lowest temperature at which a cactus may survive varies substantially depending on the species.

Some cacti, on the other hand, can thrive in sub-zero temperatures. The Flowered Hedgehog Cactus, also known as Echinocereus viridiflorus, is an example of this. Many other species can’t tolerate temperatures as low as negative 20 degrees Fahrenheit, but this cactus can.

The Fishhook Barrel Cactus (also known as Ferocactus wislizeni) and the Santa Rita Prickly Pear Cactus are two more cacti that can tolerate temperatures below zero degrees Fahrenheit (also known as Opuntia santa-rita).

Is it possible for cactus to survive in low light?

In certain ways, yes. Though most cacti cannot survive in low light, some species, such as Gasteria, may thrive in such conditions.

Can cacti be grown in regular soil?

Yes. However, cacti grown in regular soil are frequently unable to maintain adequate health. On the other hand, Cacti require particular soil that can provide them with the nutrients they require. Planting stores and different types of garden centers frequently sell cactus potting soil. These sorts of specifically prepared soil include a lot of peat in them, which helps the cacti retain moisture and absorb it effectively.

Because cacti are succulents, plants can keep water for extended periods of time, necessitating that the soil they live in can likewise hold water for long periods of time.

Is it possible to grow cacti indoors?

Yes, although it’s vital to imitate the climate of outside circumstances as much as possible for cactus to grow indoors. When growing a simple potted cactus at home, this often entails exposing the plant to the sun on a regular basis. Cacti should be grown in particular soil designed to simulate outside conditions for more complicated growth facilities (i.e., mixing sand and soil). Indoor cacti will almost certainly require special growing lights to mimic outside conditions as nearly as possible.

Can cacti grow in sand?

Yes. However, cactus in the wild usually thrive in a mix of sand and soil. Cacti, which are regarded to be vital to the natural makeup of deserts, are perfectly suited to thriving in the sand. The exact growing conditions for different varieties of cacti, on the other hand, are mostly determined by the genus.

Is it possible to grow cacti in a pot or container?

Yes, they certainly can! Cacti that grow in pots and containers are among the most popular cacti that people try to grow. These cacti are easy to carry home and incorporate into one’s residence, making them excellent choices for anyone wishing to have a plant without having to change their routine in order to care for it drastically. Because cacti are succulents, they don’t need to be watered as regularly as other plants, making them even easier to maintain.

Is it possible for cacti to catch fire?

Even though cactus can get sunburned, they are unlikely to catch fire. Because a cactus is primarily made up of water, it doesn’t catch fire.

Do cacti have spines for a reason?

Cacti have spines as a result of their areoles, which are places on the cacti that allow spines to grow. Spines are referred to as modified leaves in this context. The spines serve a variety of purposes, the most essential of which is to defend cacti from predators. However, this does not imply that all cacti are safe because of their spines. Wild creatures such as desert tortoises and pack rats, for example, may eat cacti without being harmed by the spines.

The plant’s surface is also protected by the spines, providing shade. Though the spines may not appear to be large enough to cover a cactus in any way, keep in mind that cacti often have thousands of spines, each one giving a small amount of protection. All of this adds up to a large amount of protection for the cactus’ epidermis against adverse weather conditions.

Do cacti have long roots for a reason?

Cacti often have shallow roots designed to stay near the ground’s surface. On the other hand, these roots can develop to be many feet long and spread out from the plant. Cacti have lengthy roots because they need to absorb as much water as possible, and their roots expand outward to cover as much ground as possible when it rains.