23 Different Types of Cactus to Grow in Your Garden & Home

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Do you want to make your plant collection stand out?

Add cacti!

Don’t get intimidated by the sharp spines they have, as some kinds of cacti don’t even have spines.


Did you know that many cacti have attractive and fun features such as whimsical shapes, yellow flowers, and white hair?

And the best thing about cactus plants is that they need little maintenance and grow slowly. So you don’t have to dedicate a lot of time to feed, prune, repot or water them.

Many people think that all succulents are cacti. But that is not the case. However, all cacti are indeed succulents.

Types of Cactus to Grow in Your Garden & Home

So, what are the different types of cactus that you can grow in your home and garden?

Come, let’s find out!

#1. San Pedro Cactus (Echinopsis Pachanoi)

San Pedro Cactus (Echinopsis Pachanoi)
Image Credit: https://worldofsucculents.com/echinopsis-pachanoi-san-pedro-cactus/

The botanical name of San Pedro Cactus is Echinopsis Pachanoi. This type of cactus is native to the Andres Mountains in Chile, Peru, Ecuador, Bolivia, and Argentina. It can be seen between 6600 and 9800 feet above sea level.

It is loved by gardeners worldwide as it is easy to grow.Also, it grows fast in mild climates. If you stay in a temperate zone and want to grow the San Pedro cactus, know that it will be tolerant to drought and great for xeriscaping.

Does the area of your home get quite high rainfall and have well-drained soil?

Then this type of cactus will grow well in your garden or home.

USDA growing zones: 8 to 10

#2. Christmas Cactus (Schlumbergera spp.)

Christmas Cactus (Schlumbergera spp.)
Image Credit: https://plants.ces.ncsu.edu/plants/schlumbergera-truncata/

Want to add a splash of color to your home during the cold white days of winter? Plant some Christmas cactus. This variety of cactus has placed itself on the list of the least stereotypical cacti.

Did I tell you that this cactus is quite similar to the Easter cactus?

Also, some people call it by the name shrimp cactus.

This cactus is a South American native. It grows best in the shadowy forests of southern Brazil.

Did you know that the Christmas cactus is an epiphytic plant?

This means it grows on rocks, other plants, and trees, but not soil.

Interesting, isn’t it?

You get to see the blooms of the Christmas cactus twice a year. Their bloom cycles depend on the length of the day and temperature. They start budding when they spend fourteen hours or more in complete darkness and when the temperature remains in the range of forty to fifty degrees.

USDA growing zones: 10 to 12

#3. Barrel Cactus (Echinocactus spp. and ferocactus spp.)

Barrel Cactus (Echinocactus spp. and ferocactus spp.)
Image Credit: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Echinocactus

Barrel cactus hails from the North American desert southwest. It is round and plump.

Did you know that barrel cactus can live about a hundred years?

And they don’t grow more than three feet tall.

They are some of the best ornamental plants available – all thanks to their red, pink, orange, and yellow flowers.

If you go to a plant nursery, you will get to choose from a wide range of barrel cacti. There are tons of varieties in their spines alone.

Some grow dense, long, and sharp; some come with cottony filament covers, some cluster tightly, and some don’t even have any spines.

Now, that’s a lot of variants!

When they bloom, they increase their ornamental value by some folds. You can get them in loads of textures and flower colors.

USDA growing zones: 9 to 11

#4. Prickly Pear Cactus (Opuntia Genus)

Prickly pear cactus (Opuntia genus)
Image Credit: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Opuntia

Prickly pear cacti are a species of cactus that can tolerate extreme cold. However, you may also come across some species that can withstand temperatures less than zero degrees.

Throughout North America, the gardeners grow prickly pear cactus in sunny and dry locations. And when they plant it indoors, they choose rooms that are well-lit or get enough sunlight.

The best thing about this cactus is that it needs a little care. However, it flowers as well as fruits abundantly.

Most plant nurseries grow tons of prickly pear cultivars – all thanks to their ornamental value.

Apart from their varying spine patterns and plump lobes, they produce many flowers and fruits. 

So you can not only grow these plants but also eat their fruits.

Sounds interesting?

USDA growing zones: 2 to 10

#5. Feather Cactus (Mammillaria Plumose)

Feather cactus (Mammillaria plumose)
Image Credit: https://worldofsucculents.com/mammillaria-plumosa-feather-cactus/

Feather cacti got their name from the feathery white filaments cover. They serve not only functional but also ornamental purposes.

Did you know that the filaments are there to protect this short, squatty cactus from intense sunshine?

They are native to Nuevo Leon in Mexico.

Do you love small cactus?

Then you can plant these beautiful cacti in your home. They are just three inches tall and can be up to sixteen inches wide. While planting, make sure that you use a shallow, wide container. Also, while you water them, don’t water their so-called feathers. Instead, buy some cactus plant food and feed these babies with it twice a year.

And you are all set to have a gorgeous feather cactus in your home!

#6. Jumping Cactus (Cylindropuntia Fulgida)

Jumping Cactus (Cylindropuntia Fulgida)
Image Credit: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cylindropuntia_fulgida

The jumping cactus falls under the cholla cactus species. They have joints that are loosely attached.

Even if you touch it lightly, its loose segments will get attached to you – all with the help of their countless and formidable thorns.

A native of the American Southwest, the jumping cactus looks attractive. It is a great landscape specimen. However, you need to make sure that you plant it in an isolated spot.

It is best that you don’t touch it and just enjoy its beauty from a distance.

USDA growing zones: 8 to 11

#7. Pencil Cactus (Euphorbia Tirucalli)

Pencil cactus (Euphorbia Tirucalli)
Image Credit: https://worldofsucculents.com/euphorbia-tirucalli-pencil-tree/

The pencil cactus is a succulent relative of rubber plant and poinsettia, not a true cactus. However, it looks quite the same as cacti. Also, their growing conditions are similar.

Pencil cactus is native to India and Africa. It grows above thirty feet tall. So you can plant it in your garden and make it stand out. But, in case you want to plant it in your living room, you can do that with ease. All you have to do is maintain its growth up to the height of your ceiling.

This species of cactus can work great as an interesting xeriscape. But the temperature needs to stay above twenty-five degrees.

You can choose between chartreuse, orange, red-tinted, and solid green cultivars.

USDA growing zones: 9 to 11

#8. Star Cactus (Astrophytum Asterias)

Star Cactus (Astrophytum Asterias)
Image Credit: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Astrophytum_asterias

Are you looking for a cactus that has no spine? Then go for star cactus!

It grows about two inches tall and five inches wide. The areoles or spine pads along its ribs look gorgeous.

It has a somewhat greenish body that is covered with white-colored scales. This adds to the ornamental value of the star cactus. The flowers of this cactus have a reddish base and are yellow.

It is a native of Texas in northern Mexico. And now it is on its way to get extinct because of cactus collectors worldwide. This endangered cactus species has suffered not only from the wild collection but also from habitat loss.

However, there are several plant nurseries out there that keep the beautiful star cactus in their shop so that you can buy it, plant it, and increase the beauty of your indoors.

USDA growing zones: 8 and 9

#9. Cholla Cactus (Cylindropuntia spp.)

Cholla Cactus (Cylindropuntia spp.)
Image Credit: https://www.pinterest.com/pin/694961786222100981/

Cholla cacti are quite similar to prickly pears cacti. However, the former has a more restricted range in the southwest of America compared to the latter. It has elongated cylindrical or round stems that are connected through segmented joints.

Now, when you plant cholla cactus in your garden or indoors, make sure to take proper care of it. Also, there should be a lot of space around the plants.

You can find dense spines all over the collar. And those spines are covered in paper sheaths. In some certain species, they can be colorful.

Do you live in a sunny and dry climate area? Then cholla cactus can be a gorgeous addition to your southwestern-style or xeriscaped garden.

USDA growing zones: 5 to 9

#10. Fairy Castle Cactus (Cereus Tetragonus)

Fairy Castle Cactus (Cereus Tetragonus)
Image Credit: https://worldofsucculents.com/grow-care-fairy-castle-cactus/

Don’t you find the name of this cactus pretty? It screams gorgeousness!

Fairy castle cacti are native to North America. They have many-stemmed clumps that look like tiny turrets and towers. Their height varies. The spines of this cactus variety are dense and short. And their ribs are quite distinct.

Fairy castle cactus can grow up to a height of six feet. But, of course, they take time to grow. So it is quite interesting to see how they turn brown when they age.As they grow, their clustered growing tips extend slowly and branch out.They flower in very rare cases. And when it does, I am sure you will love it.The flowers are large and white, and they open at night.

Interesting, isn’t it?

USDA growing zone: 10 to 11

#11. Saguaro Cactus (Carnegiea Gigantean)

Saguaro cactus (Carnegiea Gigantean)
Image Credit: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Saguaro

Want to make your garden the talk of the town?

Plant saguaro cacti!

They are an enduring symbol of the southwest American desert. And did I tell you that they grow in HUGE proportions? Saguaro cactus is a native of the Sonoran Desert of Arizona, California, and Mexico.  They can reach up to a tremendous height of fifty feet! And they have a circumference of ten feet.

When a large saguaro cactus is hydrated well, it can weigh about twelve thousand pounds!

Now, a cactus of this size and weight is sure to garner much attention from passersby.

Saguaro cacti take time to grow. Many times, when they flower for the first time, they can be fifty years old already. And when they develop branches for the first time, they can be seventy-five years of age.

Did I tell you that the saguaro cactus can live for two hundred years? This means if you plant it in your garden, the chances are that your next few generations can see it grow, bear flowers, and develop branches.

They anchor deep into the rocky soil to access the water a lot below the surface of the soil.

Saguaros offer hunting perches and nesting habitats for a variety of birds. Also, they provide the bats and insects with nectar and pollen.

They can be considered low-maintenance houseplants.

 USDA growing zones: 8 to 11

#12. Moon Cactus

Moon Cactus
Image Credit: https://www.indiamart.com/proddetail/moon-cactus-plants-21781872462.html

Moon cactus is a beautiful combination of two different species of plants. The stock or the bottom of the plant typically falls under the Hylocereus species. But the star is what steals the show!

It can be bright yellow, white, pink, orange, and red – a Gymnocalycium mihanovichii. There is a lack of chlorophyll on the top part of this cactus – hence the color. Moon cacti are small. Usually, they don’t grow above six inches. Also, they are easy to maintain. All you need is to water them from time to time.

USDA growing zone: 11 to 12

#13. Golden Barrel Cactus (Echinocactus Grusonii)

Image Credit: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Echinocactus_grusonii

Golden barrel cactus is an endangered species of cactus in the wild. It is a native of east-central Mexico, and there it is quite rare. You can find this cactus in the shape of a flat-topped globe. It comes with neatly curved golden spines that line the ribs.

Want to grow it as a houseplant?You can get it from a reputable nursery. Also, it is perfect for growing in an arid landscape.Do you have a desert-themed or xeriscaped garden?

Then this cactus can be a beautiful addition to it. You can choose to plant it clustered among other desert plants or in solid masses. Both look good.

USDA growing zone: 9 to 11

Also Read: 16 Stunning Balcony Gardening Ideas that Look Great

#14. Blue Flame Cactus (Myrtillocactus Geometrizans)

Blue Flame Cactus (Myrtillocactus Geometrizans)
Image Credit: https://worldofsucculents.com/myrtillocactus-geometrizans-cristata-dinosaur-back-plant/

Blue flame cactus have different names, such as whortleberry cactus, garambullo cactus, or bilberry cactus. Generally, you can find it growing up to thirteen feet in height. And when it comes to width, it can be anywhere between eight and twelve feet.

When the blue flame cacti are in their natural habitat, they can form deep cactus forests. And they can be as tall as thirty feet.

You can recognize them by their upright candelabra shape. 

They come in blue-green color. And they bear purple fruits. So the taste and look of the fruits are somewhat like a combination between cranberry and blueberry.

Like most other cacti, blue flame cacti come in a container with rocks and gravel mix.

If you plant it in your garden, it can be the center of a succulent garden or even a drought-tolerant garden.

USDA growing region: 9a to 11b

#15. Claret Cup Cactus (Echinocereus Triglochidiatus)

Claret Cup Cactus (Echinocereus Triglochidiatus)
Image Credit: https://statesymbolsusa.org/symbol/colorado/state-plant/claret-cup-cactus

In some regions, claret cup cactus is also known as hedgehog, kingcup cactus, and Mojave mound cactus.

This cactus can grow up to three feet and can be six feet wide.

It bears juicy fruits, and it tastes somewhat like strawberries. However, when it ripens, it turns bright orange in color.

Are you going to use claret cup cactus in landscaping design?

Then don’t forget to use native grasses, penstemon, yucca, and poppies with it. It will look awesome!

While planting, this variety of cactus needs more gravel compared to other traditional succulents or cactus mixes.

USDA growing zones: 5 to 9

#16. Orchid Cactus (Epiphyllum Oxypetalum)

Orchid Cactus (Epiphyllum Oxypetalum)
Image Credit: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Epiphyllum_oxypetalum

Are you looking for a cactus that you can grow easily in your garden?

The gorgeous orchid cactus is the one. It has leaves of beautiful color. Give it enough space along with the right conditions to grow, and it will grow up to a height of ten feet.

Are you going to use potting soil mix for this beauty?

Then make sure it is well-drained and slightly acidic. Also, it would be best to keep it in a place in your home where it can get bright enough, indirect light. And you will love it when it blooms.

Did I tell you that the flowers of orchid cactus bloom at night?

#17. Turk’s Cap Cactus (Melocactus Matarizarius)

Turk's Cap Cactus (Melocactus Matarizarius)
Image Credit: https://worldofsucculents.com/melocactus-matanzanus-dwarf-turks-cap-cactus/

Turk’s cap cactus has a unique look as it comes with a wool-covered sphere on top of its body. It looks somewhat like the Turkish fez hat that people used to wear during the rule of the Ottomans.

It is native to the Caribbean, and it grows about two to four inches tall and three to four inches wide.

The sphere on top is called cephalium. Now there is an interesting fact about this Turk’s cap cactus. The cactus stops growing when the cephalium starts forming. The latter can be white or red. Their small blooms are pink in color, and they produce waxy tube-shaped fruits.

Turk’s cap cactus grows well in areas with a lot of sunshine. However, they need temperatures more than seventy degrees. If you live in a cold area where it snows, it will not grow.

Although they love a moist environment, they don’t like to grow in soggy soil. This can make their roots rot.

Generally, you need to wait for the soil to dry completely before watering it again for most cacti. But the case is not the same with the Turk’s cap cacti. They like their soil to be wet. So remember, don’t let their soil dry out completely before watering them again. 

This cactus species is more high-maintenance compared to most other species of cacti. You need to fertilize them during their growing months of summer and spring. And they need the basic succulent and cactus soil mix.

#18. Peanut Cactus (Echinopsis Chamaecereus)

Peanut Cactus (Echinopsis Chamaecereus)
Image Credit: https://www.gardeningknowhow.com/ornamental/cacti-succulents/peanut-cactus/growing-a-peanut-cactus-plant.htm

Do you want to plant branched cactus?The peanut cactus can be the one!

This cactus has many stubby stems that come with white bristles. The flowers of this cactus have a vase shape, and you can get them in red and orange colors. You can see their flowers in full bloom during the months of early summer and late spring.

Did you know that the flowers of peanut cactus stay open during the day and get closed during the night?The flower buds can drop off the plant if there are any extreme changes in the temperature or if it experiences movement after it starts flowering.

During summer and spring, you need to water the peanut cactus thoroughly. However, you don’t need to water it during the cold months of winter.

If your peanut cactus turns reddish-brown or starts to wither, don’t worry. This is quite normal. They will get plumped up and return to their actual color when spring arrives.

Peanut cactus will need partial shade if you live in a dry and hot climate. And it will need full sun if you live in a cold climate.

This variety of cactus works great for shallow containers and rock gardens. Do you have a rock garden where you want to plant peanut cactus? Then this type of cactus will grow as well as spread quickly. And in a couple of years, it will fill up your garden space.

Peanut cactus doesn’t need much maintenance. You need to fertilize it just once a year. It grows best in gritty, well-drained soil.

#19. Old Man Cactus (Cephalocereus Senilis)

Old Man Cactus (Cephalocereus Senilis)
Image Credit: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cephalocereus_senilis

The old man cactus is also called the Old Man of Mexico cactus.This cactus is covered in white and long wooly hair. It can grow about forty-nine feet. During the months of mid-spring, the flowers of old man cactus blooms. But they bloom when they reach about twenty feet in height. They are fragrant, and you can see them in pink color.

Old man cacti love full sun, and they are tolerant of drought. Do you live in a hot climate area? Then know that their hair will grow thicker and longer in full sun. Some gardeners like to wash the hair of their old man cactus.

Now, if you see that the hair on your old man cactus is dirty, you CAN use organic soap on them. And once you do that, make sure to rinse the soap thoroughly. Then, to dry them faster, comb them upwards. Remember, you need to dry the cactus completely because it is susceptible to mildew, and the latter can spread extremely rapidly.

Old man cacti can also suffer from root rot, mealybugs, and spider mites. The mealybugs and spider mites hide in the hair of these cacti. So do check them from time to time and keep a mild 

insecticide handy.

#20. Rat Tail Cactus (Aporocactus Flagelliformis)

Rat Tail Cactus (Aporocactus Flagelliformis)
Image Credit: https://www.thespruce.com/aporocactus-flagelliformis-definition-1902538

Native to some parts of Central America and southwest Mexico, the rat tail cactus is unique with long trailing stems. It can grow up to six feet long.During the months of spring, you get to see pretty red-violet blooms. This cactus produces a lot of flowers. But the sad part is that they don’t live more than just a few days.

The rat tail cactus needs bright sunlight as well as afternoon shade. You can grow it in hanging pots, tree branches, and hanging baskets. You need to water it regularly during the months of summer and spring. When it is fall, you can cut back on the water. You don’t need to water it during winter unless you find it extremely dry.

This cactus grows well in temperatures between forty and ninety degrees. They love to grow in rich potting soil.Do you want to plant it in your favorite container?

Great! Just make sure that you repot it once a year. You can do this after it has flowered.

The red tail cactus doesn’t require much maintenance. However, you are welcome to use a diluted liquid fertilizer. During summer and spring, it becomes susceptible to spider mites. So you can fertilize it once every couple of weeks.

Did you know that spider mites can ruin the red tail cactus’s tissue?

So you can always keep a pesticide handy. If you are a novice gardener, it can be difficult to spot the pests. However, if you see webbed nests, know that your cactus has been infested.

And don’t let it sit in soggy soil, as it can lead to root rot.

#21. Golden Ball Cactus (Notocactus Leninghausii or Parodia leninghausii)

Golden Ball Cactus (Notocactus leninghausii or Parodia leninghausii)
Image Credit: https://mountaincrestgardens.com/parodia-leninghausii-golden-ball-cactus/

Did you know that the golden ball cactus is also called yellow tower or lemon ball cactus?

It can grow up to three feet tall. As it grows in the form of clusters, you can use it for fire-resistant landscaping just as you use other cacti. Now, are you planning to grow it in containers? Then, let me tell you, it will look great as single specimen. Now, don’t confuse it with golden barrel cactus.

When it comes to golden ball cacti, they are globular in shape while starting out. And then, when they grow more, they become more columnar.

Are you a beginner cactus gardener?

Then the golden ball cactus can be a great choice. It’s perfect if you could keep it under a shade when it is the hottest hour of the day. This way, they would thrive more.

USDA growing zones: 9 to 11

#22. Totem Pole Cactus (pachycereus schotti or Lophocereus schotti forma Monstrosus)

Totem Pole Cactus (pachycereus schotti or Lophocereus schotti forma Monstrosus)
Image Credit: https://www.pinterest.com/pin/196751077455028013/

The totem pole cactus comes in a pretty knob shape. Neither do they have ribs, nor do they have spines. They can grow up to a height of ten feet. And they can be about six feet wide.

If you want to add some cactus to your landscaping plans, this type of cactus can be the one.

Totem pole cactus doesn’t have any needles, but they have bumps and lumps all over its body. And its skin is smooth. But, like some other variety of cactus, it doesn’t flower.

It loves sunlight and is tolerant of drought. So when you water it, you can water deeply. However, remember that you should not water again before completely dry.You can choose to fertilize it once a month.

If you deal with the totem pole cactus, you need to consider two things. Don’t overwater it. And don’t keep them in cold temperatures. You can use succulent and cactus blend soil for totem pole cactus.

#23. Strawberry Hedgehog Cactus (Echinocereus Engelmanii)

Strawberry Hedgehog Cactus (Echinocereus Engelmanii)
Image Credit: http://southwestdesertflora.com/WebsiteFolders/All_Species/Cactaceae/

Strawberry hedgehog cactus is known by many names, such as a purple torch, saint’s cactus, strawberry cactus, and Engelmann’s hedgehog cactus.

These cacti are small in size. They have mounds of erect stems or free-branching clusters that are prostrate at times.

Coming to their height, they grow up to twenty-eight inches tall. The Strawberry hedgehog cactus is known for its ornamental spines. And those spines cover the surface of this cactus in the best way. And, of course, they are sharp.

Do you have a rock garden?

This type of cactus looks especially good in that and also in drought-tolerant gardens. A little tip: plant it with other wildflowers or succulents. It will look gorgeous!

Now, are you planning to plant the strawberry hedgehog cactus outdoors or indoors?

If you grow it outdoors, know that it can tolerate light shade. However, if you are going to plant it indoors in your favorite container, make sure to keep it in a spot that gets the most sunlight. 

Your strawberry hedgehog cactus will love it.

Cacti are quite a unique addition to your garden or home. They are low maintenance, and you can take care of them easily. You can plant them indoors on your windowsill or outdoors in your garden – they will thrive in both places.

So, which type of cactus did you like the most on my list?

Do let me know in the comments! 

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