A cactus is exactly what you are looking for if you want to give an interesting touch to your otherwise rosy garden or if you just want to adopt gardening as a hobby. The minimal maintenance that cacti require make them perfect for beginners. Generally known for their spiky appearance and long lifespan, cacti are not just restricted to dry habitats. In fact, you can grow them indoors with very little care. As cacti are succulents, they store water for a long period of time, so you do not have to worry about watering them regularly and they are quick to adapt to different habitats and are, hence, quite a popular choice as houseplants.
With over 100 different species of cactus, they come in all sizes, from the smallest species, Blossfeldia, ranging from 10-12mm, to the largest species, Saguaro (Carnegiea gigantea), that can grow over to 12 meters. Cacti also come in different shapes and with some species producing flowers, they can provide a wonderful range and a spark to your home décor. The best gardening company we can recommend is a London based company who do various garden design which use cactuses in their services. Check them out if you want your garden designed or cleaned.
Here are 8 different kinds of cacti:
- Old Lady Cactus:
Old Lady Cactus, scientifically known as Mammillaria hahniana, is one of the most famous houseplants. It has a rounded appearance with white hairs cloaking it and pink flowers at the top. The grey or white hairs give it its name “old lady cactus”. It is native to Central Mexico and can grow up to 10-12 inches.
Old Lady Cactus is a low-maintenance plant which does not require to be fed or watered regularly. It should be provided a dry habitat and over watering should be strictly avoided.
- Brain Cactus:
Brain Cactus gets its common name due to its convoluted appearance which resembles a human brain. Its scientific name is Mammillaria elongata cristata and it is native to Central Mexico. Usually found in dark green color, Brain Cactus is a small houseplant which only grows up to six inches.
Brain Cactus finds its home in high temperatures so it should be provided dry temperature for ideal growth. Just like Old Lady Cactus, over watering should be avoided with Brain Cactus as it can damage the plant.
- Peanut Cactus:
Peanut Cactus is scientifically known as Echinopsis chamaecereus. Its stems are shaped like “peanuts”, which is the reason behind its common name. Red or orange flowers bloom on its stems during late spring or summer which give it a bright appearance and make it a popular choice among collectors. It is native to Argentina and its height can go up to 12 inches.
Peanut Cactus needs to be frequently watered in summer. Other than that, it doesn’t have too many grooming requirements. It should be kept in shade and cool areas with minimal watering.
- Christmas Cactus:
Christmas Cactus is a famous houseplant with its tubular pink flowers which provide a vibrant display. Its flowers bloom around the time of Christmas holiday providing it with the common name “Christmas Cactus”. It is an inter-specific hybrid and its scientific name is Schlumbergera x Buckleyi. Christmas Cactus is native to Brazilian rain forest and its branches can grow up to 3 feet.
Unlike other cacti, Christmas Cactus requires specific care in order to thrive. It should be kept in cooler temperatures with perfect light for ideal growth. It requires to be watered more frequently than other cacti.
- Bunny Ears Cactus:
Bunny Ears Cactus, scientifically known as Opuntia microdasys, bears long, elliptical, dark green pads which resemble bunny ears. It is native to Mexico and requires dry habitat to grow. It can grow up to 2-3 feet and produce yellow flowers and later fruit.
Bunny Ears Cactus can be a houseplant if its natural habitat is imitated. It should be kept in a sunny location and watered lightly. Excess water can damage the plant but the right amount of moisture should be provided.
- Moon Cactus:
Moon Cactus is specifically known for its interesting, eye-catching outlook. It has a spherical top which is bright pink in color and lacks chlorophyll. It is grafted on the top of a rootstock or another plant for its survival. Scientifically known as Gymnocalycium mihanovichii, Moon Cactus is native to desert habitats in South America and can grow up to 4 inches.
Like other cacti, it requires minimal care which involves indirect sunlight, and watering in spring. Its outgrowths can be cut to maintain the vibrant appearance of top.
- Balloon Cactus:
Balloon Cactus is a green or yellow spherical cactus, divided into even sections with gold spines and a golden top. Its plump appearance and globular shape is the reason behind its common name. Balloon Cactus is scientifically known as Parodia magnifica. It is native to Brazil and Argentina and can grow up to 6 inches tall.
Balloon Cactus care is simple to manage. It needs to be watered lightly like other species of cacti. Direct sun light and over watering are damaging to the plant and hence should be avoided.
- Fairy Castle Cactus:
Fairy Castle Cactus, scientifically named as Acanthocereus tetragonus, is native to Southern United States and Central Mexico. It is a five-sided cactus with numerous stems that look like turrets. As the plant matures, it turns brown and woody and can grow up to 6 feet tall. Flowering is rare in Fairy Castle Cactus but it may produce white flowers after ten years.
Fairy Castle Cactus thrives in bright sunny places and does not need to be frequently watered. Like other species of cacti, it requires ideal light and plenty of air to grow.
In conclusion, cacti are low-maintenance plants and will make gardening look like a child’s play to you. They are easy to manage even if you are a novice at gardening and just with minimum maintenance, you can add spark to your garden and brighten the space. By imitating their natural habitats, most of the species can be turned into houseplants. Indirect sunlight and infrequent watering are only few of the requirements of cacti. From dry, plain, spiky cacti to vibrant, blooming ones, their striking appearance and variety make them a popular choice among gardeners or collectors of plants.