Types of Cactus and How to Plant Them


There are a lot of different types of cactus, reaching about 2.000 in numbers around the world. However, like the characteristics mentioned above, most cactus have fleshy stems, didn’t have wood, didn’t have leaves, and grow in summer. The size of Cacti is varied; some can be very small; some can be very tall. Here in this article, we will include some information about the different types of cactus you might have heard or those you haven’t. These types of cactus below can even be planted in your home.

1. Desert Cactus

Desert Cactus might be the most popular type of cactus that people knew. This type of cactus could even be seen in movies and cartoons. Desert Cactus can also be planted in your home. Some of the most common desert cacti are the Saguaro Cactus (Carnegiea) and Prickly Pear Cactus (Opuntia).

Desert Cactus needs to be in a brightly lit position in indoors, facing the South or West aspect or in a heated greenhouse with all-around light. To grow ideally, it needs four to six hours of direct sunshine during Summer. Desert Cactus needs a minimum Spring or Summer temperatures, preferably around 18ºC (or 65ºF), but it needs about 7 to 13ºC (or 45-55ºF) during Autumn and Winter. Make sure to keep them away from direct heat like radiators, etc.

Dessert Cactus
Dessert Cactus

Desert Cactus must have a very well-drained compost. You might want to use a compost specifically for cactus and succulents, add gravel or pebbles on top of the compost to help prevent the wet compost so that your cactus wouldn’t be rot. Those topdressing could also weigh down the pot and prevent plants from falling over.

Another thing to note, even if Desert Cactus is able to survive extreme periods of drought, they will be able to grow much better if you give it enough supplies of water during its growing season, mostly from March or April to September, but give it less water during Autumn and Winter because they are in their ‘dormant mode.’ Cactus will flower better in small pots, so do not re-pot unless it’s absolutely necessary.


2. Orchid Cactus

Orchid Cactus or Epiphyllum spp. in its botanical name is a big and cup-shaped flower cactus that can be put in a hanging basket to allow the long stems to cascade beautifully over the pot. Orchid Cactus originally are tree dwellers and lives in tropical rainforests, so they naturally have a habit of hanging. The stems are flat, broad, with serrated edges, and able to grow an estimated 60 cm (2 ft) long, 5 cm (2 inches) wide, and bloom every Spring. Orchid Cactus is originally from Central and South America.

Orchid Cactus are mostly hybrids and grow in pink, red, yellow, purple, orange, white, or sometimes bicolored. Like other Cactus, Orchid Cactus also needs sunlight, but indirect ones. It needs to be kept in a bright place but shaded from direct sunlight. Give it the right amount of high-phosphorus fertilizer in early Spring until Fall. You also need to give it less water and fertilizer during winter for 8 to 10 weeks and let it have cool nighttime temperatures.

One of the variants of Orchid Cactus is the famous Epiphyllum oxypetalum, or called the “Queen of the Night.” This Orchid Cactus is a very special kind, shaped like a majestic water lily. It is the most cultivated species in all kinds of Orchid Cactus. This plant rarely blooms and only blooms at one night, then wilt before dawn. It may bloom throughout the summer.


3. Zebra Cactus

Zebra Cactus, known as Haworthoria fasciata and Haworthoria attenuata, is cacti with a pattern resembling Zebra stripes, with white wart-like tubercles that cover the back of the leaves. It can reach up to 5 to 8 inches in height, along with its thick and dark green leaves with white stripes. Like the other Cactus plants, Zebra Cactus will not require much water to survive. Zebra Cactus can be put in medium and low light conditions, making it a perfect plant to put indoors. Place it in places where it can get natural light. If you want to put it outdoors, place the Zebra Cactus in a spot that has bright light but not direct sunlight (especially during the afternoon) because Zebra Cactus has sensitive leaves that might get dry when exposed to direct sunlight.

When you water the Zebra Cactus, make sure to provide them in the right amount until it comes out of the pot’s drainage holes, don’t let the plant sits in the wet for too long. Allow the soil to dry before giving it another water. If you’re unsure, put your finger in the soil to the second knuckle. If it feels dry, you can give it water. Don’t water the Zebra Cactus directly to its leaves because it may rot. If you accidentally drop any water on it, gently wipe it off.

If your Zebra Cactus develops discoloration and mushy leaves, stop watering the plant because it means they are getting too much water. When it happens, take the Zebra Cactus out of the pot and clean off the wet soil from its root, and let it air-dry for few days. Then you can re-pot it again.

Like other succulents, Zebra Cactus can grow in soil with good drainage. Mix equal part pumice or perlite with potting soil and sand, and put them in a deep pot to give its long root extra space for airflow and room to grow.


4. Pink Cactus

Pink Cactus
Pink Cactus

Pink Cactus is one of the favorite kinds of cactus, because of its pink tint and blooms. Several pink cactus plants, such as the Grafted Moon Cactus or Gymnocalycium cacti, or the most well-known pink cactus categorized in the holiday cacti group such as Thanksgiving, Easter, and Christmas cacti that bloom around the right time. These holiday pink cacti can be trained to bloom during holiday times. To let the pink holiday cactus bloom at the right time, let it have 12-hour nighttime darkness in six weeks preceding the holiday. It may encourage the pink cactus to bloom at the right time.

The pink cactus comes in about 80 types. Other cactus that may sometimes bloom in pink colors include Coryphanthas, Echinocacti (double-barrel cactus), Erioscyce, and many more.


5. Red Cactus

Besides pink tints, cactus can also come in red colors. Red cactus are usually grafted ones. For example, the Prickly Pear Cactus can bear red fruits and deeply blushed flowers, the Christmas Cactus flowers can produce lush crimson blooms as a red cactus, while the Claret Cup Cacti can produce ruby flowers.

Red cactus is most common in blooms of cacti from Brazil and less common in Desert Cactus. The trick to let your red cactus bloom is to let them go through drought and winter dormancy with a little moisture, then gradually give it more water and brighter light with increased heat. These tricks will encourage your red cactus to produce red blooms. Dry the red cactus once it is mature for flowering and fruiting by placing it in a colder part of the home during the winter, and start your regular care once again in Spring so that your plant will produce red blooms soon again.


These unique plants are like warriors that stood tall, albeit with the harsh environment and heat they are facing, right? Planting cactus might be a wise choice if you’re a first-timer at gardening, be it for children or adults. If you are already an expert in gardening, it wouldn’t be a waste too, as cactus can decorate your garden or house beautifully with its unique appearance. With its low maintenance, even the less green-fingered person can also care for the plants!

Now, everyone can start to be plant lovers without fear of making your plants die by trying to plant a Cactus for your first experience.

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