Seven Types of Cactus For Your Home
Seven Types of Cactus That Can Bring Succulent Beauty to Your Home
Ah, the mighty cactus. Long preferred by homeowners, landscapers, and interior decorators who don’t have much in the way of a green thumb, these versatile, extraordinarily durable plants have grown to become a favorite across America. And why not? They may not have the traditional “soft” appeal of the typical plant or flower, but they have a beauty that is all their own. If you take the time to give a cactus your undivided attention, even for a couple of moments, you will be struck by its geometric perfection. Growing in mesmerizing spirals, cacti can provide you with a glimpse of natural beauty that is nearly impossible to explain using language. And with over 2,000 species out there, the chances are good that you can find a cactus you love!
Without further ado, here are some of our favorite types of cactus.
#7 – Fairy Castle Cactus
Unlike some of the cacti on our list, the fairy castle cactus really needs to be outside in the sun to reach its full potential. Indeed, it should only be cultivated in the very southernmost portions of the United States, from California to Florida. As for that potential, it is an extraordinary one. Living up to its whimsical name, this cactus can reach heights of up to six feet – though it will take a long time and a good deal of care to reach that height. Patience will be rewarded, however; after ten years or so, you may be treated to a bloom of white flowers!
#6 – Saguaro Cactus
The largest native cactus in the United States, the saguaro is the cactus you probably picture in your mind when you hear the word. It features the classic, cartoon shape – a spiny trunk with upward-facing branches stemming off in all directions. These are extraordinary plants that can live to be up to 200 years old and reach an immense height of up to 60 feet. If you want a cactus that embodies the classic shape and towering size common throughout the Sonoran Desert, this is the one you want. Interesting fact: Native Americans used to use the dead ribs of the saguaro cactus to carry water long before the first leather canteens came into widespread use.
#5 – Christmas Cactus
If you’re new to the joy of cacti and other succulents, you may be surprised to learn that some of them bloom beautiful flowers at certain times of the year. The Christmas Cactus is a perennial favorite for this very reason; their pink and lilac flowers have turned them into one of the county’s most popular houseplants. These unique members of the cactus family are native to the rainforests of South America, making them somewhat different from their southwestern, desert-evolved cousins. For that reason, they’ll need a bit more water than other types of cactus.
#4 – Star Cactus
Peculiarly shaped, the Mexico native known as the star cactus is a great starter succulent for anyone who wants to plant cacti capable of flowering from time to time. Sometimes known as a sea urchin cactus or a sand dollar cactus, these multi-sided plants are green and can grow up to six inches in diameter. They are height-challenged as far as cacti go, seldom growing beyond one of two inches toward the sun. Speaking of the sun, these cacti do quite well as indoor houseplants as long as they can get a few hours of direct sunlight each day. Each spring, you can look forward to seeing yellow, orange, and red flowers bloom from its hairy ribs.
#3 – Barrel Cactus
It’s only natural that when most people hear the word “cactus,” they immediately think of the defensive spines that characterize this special member of the floral family. Well, if you want thorns, you’ll get plenty of them with barrel cacti. These squat plants come in two versions: The Echinocactus and the Ferocactus. The latter is aptly named, because its armor of spines is nothing if not ferocious! Don’t put one of these in your home if you have curious pets or young ones who might be inclined to reach out for a graze.
#2 – Feather Cactus
Though it looks as fluffy as the inside of a pillow, the feather cactus has a terrible surprise for anyone foolish enough to pet it like a bunny; those “feathers” are camouflage disguising the sharp spines within that cover the flesh of the cactus. Perhaps the white fluff on the outside of the plant isn’t intended for this purpose (it actually keeps the cactus shielded from excess heat and sunlight), but it will definitely do the job. The feather cactus can grow up to three inches tall and 16 inches wide, and it needs sunlight exposure in between full and partial. It doesn’t do well in colder climates, however, so be wary of purchasing this cactus if you live in moderate-to-northern regions of the country.
#1 – Bunny Ears Cactus
Boy, do they intentionally name these cacti just to trick people into petting them? If the “feather” cactus wasn’t enough, now we come to the bunny ears cactus! It’s not difficult to discern why either cactus got its name, though; the bunny ears cactus grows to a height of up to three feet with broad pads that can reach a width of 5 feet. Covered in fuzzy glochids, rather than spines, the end result is a cactus that looks as if it were covered in rabbit fur. Don’t be taken in by this appearance, however, as these glochids can still make you sorry you didn’t wear gloves while handling the bunny ears cactus. With proper care, these cacti can produce yellow flowers in the summer months that fade into purple fruit in the early fall.