Who hasn’t felt the call of the cactus?
Cacti are without a doubt one of the most sought after plants on our online store.
Yes, they are easy to care for (even for the plant novices among us) but we believe the real intrigue comes down to their unique appearance.
Cacti are like succulents, having fleshy, juicy stems, but differ in that they always have prominent spines and barbs, or bristles, and some have woolly hair, which makes them much more interesting.
Native to the Americas and typically found in areas subject to drought, cacti or cactuses are perfectly adapted to live in the intense heat and environment of the desert. In order to survive, they have evolved throughout the years, modifying their leaves into spines for protection and developing large succulent stems to store scarce reserves of water.
Thinking of adding cacti to your growing indoor plant family? Here’s everything you need to know! 👇
Did you know that there are more than 1500 species of this plant?! There are two large groups of cacti grown as houseplants: desert cacti and forest cacti.
Desert cacti are the more "traditional" cacti, usually covered with spines or hair and often growing in paddles, balls, or obelisks. Forest cacti grow in wooded areas, ranging from temperate forests to subtropical and tropical regions.
The word “Cactus” originates from the Greek name “Kaktos”. Kaktos is a Spanish artichoke or the “prickly plant of Sicily” as many refer to it in Greece.
Choosing the right cactus for your home or workspace comes down to personal preference. We love combining a mix of different cacti and containers to add texture and colour to any space.
When it comes to plant care, we believe knowledge is power, which is why we have rounded up the most common cacti-related questions (and our answers) to share with you below:
💭Cacti are super hardy and don’t need much water, right??
We hear cacti and our mind instantly goes to drought-prone deserts. Contrary to popular belief, cacti do need to be watered regularly, just not as regularly as other indoor plants. They prefer the soak and dry method of water which mimics their native habitat- more on that in our care tips section below. Ultimately, remember; low water, not no water.
💭But wait, I thought cacti were impossible to kill?
We hear this a lot. It’s a common misconception because, unfortunately, there is a lot of misinformation about there. Cacti are relatively easy to care for once you know-how. However, just like all plants, they are not indestructible. The easiest way to kill a cactus is by overwatering, poor drainage and using the wrong compost. They require a certain level of TLC and attention to thrive. We share our top care tips in the next section.
💭 Why isn’t my cactus growing a flower?
Some potted plants take just a matter of weeks to sprout into flowers, but not the cactus. Growing the cactus requires patience. The cactus plant grows slower than other plants because it does not contain chlorophyll in leaves. Chlorophyll is present in the leaves of most plants and helps in quick food production for plants. Due to its adaptations and focusing on conserving water in harsh environments, the plant’s primary focus is on survival rather than reproduction.
💭 Are cacti the same as succulents?
Did you know all cacti are succulents but not all succulents are cacti? All succulents store water in their stem or foliage, but cacti also feature areoles, the little bumps on the outside of the plant that the spines grow from.
The average lifespan of a cactus plant is between 10 to 200 years! They can live for decades, so even the black-thumbed among us can find success. With this in mind, here are a few of our top tips to keep your cacti thriving and looking sharp (geddit?!) indoors:
☀️ Light: Pretty much all cacti varieties thrive on sunlight and most enjoy a spot with access to full sun all year round e.g: glasshouses, conservatories or a sunny spot by the window.
💧 Water: Avoid overwatering and allow the soil to dry out thoroughly between watering. During the warmer months water when the top inch of soil has dried out. It loves the wet/dry seasons, so, during the winter months reduce the watering significantly and keep the soil relatively dry.
🌡️Temperature: Humidity can be a killer unless ventilation is good. Avoid placing in areas of cold drafts such as near windows or air-con vents. Don’t place them too near a radiator, as they may dry out and start to shrivel. Cacti flower better if they are allowed to go dormant in winter. To encourage this, move them in autumn to a cool, bright spot and water very sparingly, just enough to prevent the plants from shrivelling. In spring, move them back to a warmer spot.
🍽️ Food: Fertilizing cactus plants will help them adapt, actively grow, and even multiply if that’s one of their characteristics. Cacti fertilizer requirements are pretty simple. Any good houseplant food (diluted to half) that’s higher in phosphorus than nitrogen is a good choice. A 5-10-5 solution can work well. Liquid feed once per month during the growing season.
🧽 Cleaning: Most cacti don't need pruning, just the removal of dead or damaged growth with clean, sharp garden shears. We strongly suggest wearing protective gardening gloves while you perform this task!
Whether it's perched on your windowsill or styled on a shelf, a cactus can add style and fun to any space in the home.
Although cacti are handsome fellows all on their own, it’s always fun to dress them up a bit! From a beautiful pot with added character to natural accents. Terra cotta and clay pots are traditional for these desert-dwelling plants, however, a glass terrarium style planter or ceramic dish can work just as well. We love to use different sizes and colours of stones and pebbles on top of the soil. You can add in large rocks, wood, and sand, however, make sure you can still check whether the soil is dry or not, either with your finger or a moisture metre.
Wherever you decide to house your cactus friend, remember that it needs access to ample sunlight, hydration and ventilation. A cactus can tolerate a warm and sunny spot in the summer, even outdoors on the patio or a balcony. But in winter the placement should be cooler and light.
Looking to add Cacti to your growing indoor plant family? Great news! You can shop a selection of cacti on our online store right now! 🙌
Choose from the following varieties:
If you enjoyed this blog, why not check out some of our similar posts:
Looking for creative ways to boost your team's morale? We share three ways you can breathe life into your business with plants!