==================

A Caveat and Affiliates

First off, a little caveat: within my articles you will find affiliate links, meaning if you buy them, I get a small commission. Your cost is not affected. In addition, I am an Amazon Associate and I earn from qualifying purchases on Amazon.

And yes, if I say that I recommend a product here, it means I truly believe it is a good product. I refuse to recommend any product that I have not researched and believe to be a good value.

Even better, I provide you with a very clear picture of the product, it’s use, and the probable value.

Earning your trust is important to me. I run this website myself and the commissions and donations help support the site.

Sound reasonable and fair enough? Let’s continue to the article.

==================

Cactus House Plants, Arid Wonders

Cactus House Plants? Yes! For those homes with less humidity, try growing cactus as some of your houseplants. Available in over 1000 varieties, cactus prove to be easy-care plants for drier homes.

Known to many as desert growers, not all cacti require sun exposure throughout the day. It’s important to know which varieties work best in your lighting area before selecting one or more to bring home.

 

 

cactus house plants
  • facebook
  • twitter
  • pinterest

Cactus come in many shapes and colors

 

 

 

Care of your cactus house plants

 

Light

Desert cacti require a strong light source, especially in winter. However, some varieties need to be hardened off (accustomed to the light) slowly or they may scorch in the direct sun over a long summer day.

Favoring an indirect sun source, the Forest varieties still want bright sunlight. Just take care to avoid direct light for a prolonged time. Of course, it’s understandable as they are native to the forest where lower growing plants are shielded by their taller friends.

 

Soil needs of cactus

The desert consists of sand and so the desert cactus varieties require a fast-draining mix. Most cacti grow quite slowly and rarely need repotting. In fact, many of the flowering varieties actually bloom better with a bit less soil.

Use regular potting mix for the forest cactus. Also, these varieties grow more than their desert cousins. As such, they require repotting at the beginning of the growing season.

Water, Do cactus need it?

Many people assume that cactus need no water. However, the truth is that the desert cacti need a drink whenever their compost begins to dry. Provide a thorough watering each time you water, then allow them to dry. Over the winter months, they need almost no watering. In fact, experts recommend that you water only if the plant begins to shrivel and look ill.

Over-watering, especially in winter, causes rot at the base of the plant or the tips of the growing area. If this happens and advances before you notice, you may try to grow new plants from cuttings from the plant.

Forest cactus need normal houseplant care throughout the summer months and when the buds begin to emerge. However, during the winter rest time, water only when the soil is dry to the touch. Just as with the desert varieties, winter care should be minimal. Water only when absolutely necessary to avoid rot issues. But, if rot does set in, take cuttings and grow new plants before all is lost.

Temperature and Humidity needs for Cactus House Plants

Desert caucus varieties grow best in temperatures between 70°f and 80°f. Most homes accommodate them in this range and they stay quite happy. While deserts cool overnight, your plant won’t suffer from normal home ranges. In winter, your desert cacti will prefer cooler temperatures, perhaps down to 55°f. However, they cannot tolerate very cold winter drafts, so housing near drafty windows and doors should be avoided.

As you know, the desert is quite arid. The desert cacti reflect this origination in their need for a low humidity, consider between 10-40%. Less than 10% and they shrivel. Above that and rot often sets in.

Forest cacti prove a bit less picky about temperatures. During the growing season, aim for somewhere between 55°f and 70°f. They will accept temperatures as low as 50°f in the winter months, making them easily kept in cooler climates.

The forest varieties need a little more humidity. In fact, most require 50-60% to stay healthy. Too far below that and they shrivel and die. Much above and you risk rot setting in. Of course, you can adjust the air around them a bit using a humidity tray to raise a dry level.

Fertilizer, it’s not all the same

Here again, the varieties show different needs. Use a cactus specific fertilizer for your desert cactus during the growing season. While some standard fertilizers might work, too often the cactus responds poorly to them.

The forest varieties relish a dose of standard fertilizer during the growing season.

For both varieties, it’s best to avoid fertilizing during the more dormant winter months.

 

Common Pests of our cactus house plants

Several types of pests may invade your cactus house plant. Be on the lookout for such pests as mealybugs, scales, fungus gnats, and spider mites. In most cases, simply washing these pests off of plants using cotton swabs and water provides the cure. Some people prefer other natural treatments, easily found at garden centers.

 

 

 

Ok, but can cactus house plants clean the air?

 

It turns out that some of our favorite cactus house plants clean the air for us, too!  Two favorites, the Christmas Cactus and the Easter Cactus made number 34 and 35 of the top 50 list of NASA research. In fact, these two closely related air-cleaning houseplants bring forth beautiful blooms, too. (To find other air-purifying houseplants, see our previous article here.)

 

Easter cactus house plants
  • facebook
  • twitter
  • pinterest

Easter Cactus

sun-loving houseplants
  • facebook
  • twitter
  • pinterest

Christmas Cactus

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Some of our favorite cactus house plants:

 

 

Desert Types:

Cactus House Plants | Angel Wings
  • facebook
  • twitter
  • pinterest

Angel Wings Cactus

Angel Wings Cactus (Opunta albispina)

 

A member of the prickly pear family, Angel Wings Cactus grows evenly spaced clusters of hairs rather than sharp spines. This Mexican native grows clusters of pads that get no larger than two feet tall. However, they can grow up to five feet across. Watch for the pale yellow blooms which then produce red, edible fruits if your plant receives full sun.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

African Milk Plant Cactus
  • facebook
  • twitter
  • pinterest

African Milk Plant Cactus

African Milk Tree (Euphorbia trigona)

Also known as the cathedral plant, this cactus makes every grower feel like an expert. Although it can grow more than eight feet tall, the African Milk Tree’s slow growth usually keeps it under four feet indoors. Small green leaves grow between thorns on the ridged stems. Leaves of the Rubra variety show a beautiful reddish-purple. If you plant it in soil with good drainage and water it twice a month, your African milk tree may live for decades.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Saguaro Cactus (Carnegiea gigantea)

The majestic Saguaro Cactus, often reaching heights of 40 feet, provides many a photographer with incredible photo shoots. Living for up to two centuries, they may take up to 40 years for their first flowers to appear.

However, the slow growth rate allows them to grow as a cactus house plant for many years before outgrowing their space. Their easy care includes providing as much light as possible. Water very sparingly, usually about once a month.

 

saguaro cactus in desert
  • facebook
  • twitter
  • pinterest

saguaro cactus in desert

cactus house plants | saguaro cactus
  • facebook
  • twitter
  • pinterest

saguaro cactus

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

cactus house plant | Old Lady Hat
  • facebook
  • twitter
  • pinterest

Old Lady Hat

Old Lady Cactus (Mammillaria hahniana)

This cactus, native to central Mexico, is listed as “Near Threatened” by the IUCN Red List. Even so, the unique form keeps it a favorite among cactus fans. The slow growth rate and small size, under 10 inches tall and 20 inches across, allow for growing several as a display.

Truly resembling a beautiful hat, it features white down-like hairs and white spines over a sphere. In Spring and Summer, it may bear blooms of a pinkish-red or reddish-purple color, often forming a crown-like halo effect.

Keep the plant healthy by providing plenty of direct sunlight, low humidity, and a sandy potting mix. Water monthly during winter months; twice monthly in Spring and Summer.

 

 

 

 

cactus house plant | barrel cactus
  • facebook
  • twitter
  • pinterest

Barrel Cactus

Barrel Cactus (Ferocactus genus)

Long, rigid spines protect the Barrel Cactus’s juicy, edible pulp. A slow grower, the cactus house plant lives many decades, eventually reaching the maximum height of eight to 10 feet when grown outdoors. Indoor plants rarely attain such heights. The brownish-yellow to orange coloring gives the cactus a visual of the desert.

As with other desert cacti, the Barrel Cactus loves plenty of full-sun but will tolerate some partial sun, too. Water sparingly, allowing the sandy potting mix to dry between waterings.

 

 

Forest Cactus, beautiful Cactus House Plants

 

 

 

The Holiday Varieties of Cactus House Plants

The best-known forest cactus are the Holiday varieties. Two of these, the Thanksgiving and Christmas Cactus, both come from the Schlumbergera genus. The third, the Easter Cactus represents the Rhipsalidopsis genus.

 

 

 

Easter cactus house plants
  • facebook
  • twitter
  • pinterest

Easter Cactus

Easter Cactus ( Rhipsalidopsis gaertneri )

Originating from the warm forests in Brazil, the Easter Cactus needs bright but indirect light to stay happy. Monitor the watering carefully. They don’t respond well to being over-watered.

 

 

 

 

 

Thanksgiving Cactus
  • facebook
  • twitter
  • pinterest

Thanksgiving Cactus

Thanksgiving Cactus (Schlumbergera Ttruncata)

Not surprising, the Thanksgiving Cactus blooms during our Thanksgiving season in late fall. It differs slightly from it’s later blooming cousin, the Christmas Cactus by sporting pointed leaves and lop-sided showing of blooms.

 

 

 

 

 

 

sun-loving houseplants
  • facebook
  • twitter
  • pinterest

Christmas Cactus

Christmas Cactus  (hybrid Schlumbergera ×buckleyi)

Probably the most well-known of the holiday cactus varieties, this type brings forth a beautiful display around Christmas time. It’s leaves are more rounded than that of the Thanksgiving Cactus and it produces a balanced display of blooms.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mistletoe Cactus
  • facebook
  • twitter
  • pinterest

Mistletoe Cactus

Mistletoe Cactus (Rhipsalis baccifera)

A great companion to the Christmas Cactus, the Mistletoe displays a unique shape.

The full trailing sweep of a grown Mistletoe Cactus is reminiscent of Cousin It from the 1960’s TV show, The Munsters. When young, they resemble a twig creation.

 

 

 

 

Orchid Cactus
  • facebook
  • twitter
  • pinterest

Orchid Cactus

Orchid Cactus (Epiphyllum guatemalense monstrose)

 

Orchid fans find much to enjoy with the Orchid Cactus. With it’s reaching branches and gorgeous blooms, it also boasts the ability to help purify the air in your home.

 

 

 

Enjoy Cactus House Plants in Your Home!

 

These represent just a sampling of our favorite Desert Cactus and Forest Cactus variety types. Do you have a favorite living in your home?