How Long Do Small Cactus Live

Cacti are among the most common plants in American homes because of their extended lives.

The lifespan of a cactus can range from 10 to 200 years, depending on the species. The enormous saguaro cactus, which typically lives 150–175 years on average but can live for more than 200 years, is the species of cactus with the longest lifespan.

The genus Carnegiea includes all types of cacti. Cacti cultivated outside in ideal conditions have a substantially longer lifespan than those grown indoors. With the right care, some plants planted indoors can live for decades.

In Arizona, the oldest Saguaro was found to have been up to 300 years old when it passed away in the middle of the 1990s. While residing in Saguaro National Park, the plant passed away from a bacterial infection. Compared to younger cacti, elder cacti are more prone to diseases and infections. Cacti are a preferred indoor plant kind among people who love plants.

Cactus lifespan is a question that is frequently posed. There are roughly 2,000 different species of cacti in the globe, each with a unique appearance and set of characteristics. If you’re producing and caring for cacti, you might be wondering how long they live. The proper development of other plants, typically green plants, from their fibrous roots to their leaves requires direct sunshine. Even cacti require sunlight to survive.

The average lifespan of indoor cactus or the cactus plant is about 10 years, which provides an answer to the question of how long do cactus live. Similar to outdoor species, indoor cacti don’t need to be watered frequently. They are unusual plants with fleshy stems that can survive for a long time without water and have great water absorption capacity. Since many cacti contain robust fiber, they can withstand harsh conditions and yet live a long time.

They are a well-liked indoor plant in areas with limited water supply. There are numerous cactus species to pick from, and different cactus species have various life periods.

After reading about the lifespans of various cactus plant species, consider learning more about the sorts of cactus and how long they take to grow.

How long can a cactus thrive indoors?

In general, cacti plants living outdoors typically survive far longer than those living indoors. An outdoor cactus plant can live up to 200 years or longer under the right conditions.

Indoor plants, on the other hand, must adjust to a new setting and set of circumstances that can be unstable for the plant. An indoor cactus plant can live for ten years on average. Even some sensitive species will pass away after a few months, but you shouldn’t be too concerned about that.

You may be sure to keep your plant around for a very long time as long as you take proper care of it and give it ideal growing circumstances.

Before we get started, let’s take a moment to talk about the typical lifespan of some of the well-known cacti species.

How long does a Christmas cactus live?

Let’s begin with the Christmas cactus, one of the most popular cacti planted indoors. This lovely houseplant is a member of the Schlumbergera genus, and many botanists believe it to be a cross between two cacti species.

In general, the Schlumbergera truncate, also known as the Thanksgiving cactus, and the Christmas cactus are very similar.

Its distinctive quality of flowering in the winter around Christmas is where its name comes from. The plant prefers somewhat cool conditions to flourish best and is indigenous to the Brazilian tropical rainforests.

A Christmas cactus has a 20 to 30 year lifespan on average, although much depends on the upkeep and care you give it.

In this example, offering a moderately sunny setting, frequent watering, and a reasonably cool, humid climate are all part of proper maintenance.

However, you must be cautious not to overwater your plant since this can result in serious, irreparable harm.

How long does a Saguaro cactus live

The Saguaro, a cactus that is endemic to North America, is another well-known cactus species. The plant is a member of the gigantea species and genus Carnegiea. Although the saguaro grows slowly, it is enormous. In actuality, a Saguaro at full maturity can grow to a height of up to 50 or 60 feet.

The inability of immature Saguaro plants to survive on their own is one of this cactus’ distinctive characteristics. Most of the time, an adult Saguaro will be caring for and nursing a baby Saguaro till it reaches a particular age.

Sometimes, as a result of this process, the elder plants pass away, leaving the younger plants to occupy the space.

A Saguaro plant only grows two inches in its first 10 years, which is also noteworthy to notice. In addition, the plant doesn’t begin to flower until it is over 30 years old, and the first arm doesn’t begin to grow until the plant is over 75 years old.

A saguaro cactus can live up to 200 years on average, but its lifespan will vary depending on many other conditions. A typical adult is around 125 years old.

If you wish to grow this plant indoors, be sure to do it outdoors in the ground so it has room to spread out and grow to its fullest size.

How long does a Moon cactus live?

Around the world, moon cacti are also widely used as indoor plants. The plant is known by a variety of names, including Hibotan cactus, Red Cap, and Ruby Ball plant.

The Moon Cactus is adored by many people for its delightful appearance that resembles a lollipop. A spherical, moon-shaped portion of the plant that is typically red, yellow, orange, or purple is carried and supported by the plant’s lower portion.

Because a moon cactus is a hybrid of two distinct cacti species, estimating its exact lifespan can be challenging.

For instance, the Hylocereus, the other parent plant of the moon cactus, grows up to 30 feet tall and is evergreen, in contrast to the Gymnocalycium, one of the moon cactus’ parents, which only reaches a height of a few inches and has no chlorophyll.

You’ll observe that the two species that combine to make the moon cactus have quite distinct traits and development needs.

As a result, the moon cactus is created by fusing two disparate and incompatible cacti species. This demonstrates how fragile and unstable the plant is. It can therefore only live for a short while before passing away.

A moon cactus often lives for a shorter period, from a few months to a few years. Sometimes, it might live for up to ten years or pass away after three months.

A plant’s lifespan can be considerably extended with the right care and growth circumstances.

What is the typical cactus lifespan?

Since I was a young child, I’ve grown cactus, but I’ve never seen one pass away from old age. I can’t say that I’ve managed to keep every cactus I’ve ever owned healthy and happy to this day, but more often than not, the issue has been my subpar maintenance rather than the cactus’ longevity. It made me wonder how long cacti actually survive.

There are actually more than 1500 different species of cactus. Although there is a significant range in their lifespans, it turns out that they are all fairly long-lived plants.

Depending on the species, cactus longevity normally ranges from 10 to 200 years. In ideal circumstances, cacti grown outdoors typically live longer than those grown as indoor houseplants. However, many indoor cacti can live for many years with proper care.

The Saguaro cactus, which is indigenous to the deserts of Arizona and Mexico, is regarded to be the cactus with the longest lifespan. Stunning and well-known, this cactus may reach heights of 60 to 70 feet and has a lifespan of 150 to 200 years.

Even one who was believed to be around 300 years old lived in Arizona until the mid-1990s. Amazing cactus in Saguaro National Park eventually succumbed to bacterial illness, which elderly cacti are susceptible to, especially if they have been injured and are already fragile.

Not all cactus species exhibit this longevity. The lifespan of the barrel cactus is between 50 and 100 years, which is not as lengthy as other cacti. They have been known to live up to 130 years, though.

In contrast, it is believed that Opuntia, or prickly pear cactus, live for only 20 to 30 years on average.

To learn how long different cacti survive, researchers have conducted demographic studies on them. The highlighted cacti below all have known lifespans.

  • The lifespan of Cephalocereus columnatrajani can reach 145 years.
  • Neobuxbaumia macrocephala has a 200-year life span.
  • The typical lifespan of the little Escobaria robbinsorum is 17 years.

Why is my little cactus perishing?

Overwatering is the cause of cactus rot. The cactus doesn’t require as much maintenance, despite owners’ perceptions that plants should be cared for frequently. The majority of cacti that unintentionally overwater and finally die are brown and black in color.


The cactus is a plant that has to dry out as part of its life cycle, unlike most plants that become ill if they aren’t irrigated frequently. Cactus roots naturally receive very little water, therefore if you give them the same amount of water as you give your tomatoes, they will rot.


It’s crucial to keep an eye out for signs that your cactus is becoming mushy or is beginning to turn brown or black. These indicate overwatering has taken place. Most likely, the roots have already decayed and died. Simply put, avoid overwatering. Keep an eye on the soil around your cactus plants, and only water when the soil is absolutely dry. Although it may seem careless, the cactus is accustomed to that atmosphere in its natural habitat.


It’s time to use a sharp knife to clip them off and repot or replant your cactus. Make sure to combine garden soil (2 parts), coarse sand (2 parts), and peat soil (3 parts) well (1 part). Additionally, make sure the pot you purchase has sufficient drainage holes and is somewhat larger. If you’re growing cacti outside, make sure the soil is well-draining and contains enough sand to aid this effect.

How is a little cactus maintained?

Give them a drink, but not too much, and take long intermissions. “Because they store water in their stems, cacti are famed for surviving with little to no watering. That doesn’t imply they don’t require any watering, either. Make sure to inspect the soil periodically. It’s time to water the plant if the top two to three inches of soil are dry “says Palomares.

Thon reiterates Palomares’ counsel and adds: “The temptation to over-water cactus can cause root rot and scab, which manifests as rusty-colored, corky regions on the stems, which is why most people fail at growing cacti. My recommendation is to under-water; you can typically bring them back from the dehydration stage without any problems.”

What size will my miniature cactus reach?

There are numerous succulent plants of different sizes and colors that belong to the cactus family. Some develop into 50-foot-tall columns, while others are only a few inches tall and better suited for growing in pots. These miniature cactus typically have eye-catching blooms and distinctive forms. Mini cacti are available pre-potted in tiny containers and may be grown indoors while bringing color and interest to a space with the right care.

Does a little cactus require watering?

The majority of desert cactus can survive without water for up to two years. For indoor cactus, however, this isn’t true because of the drastically different environmental factors.

Cactus plants in small pots can last up to a month without water. It’s better not to leave them go for too long, though, as if left neglected for too long, they could dry out and perish.

Make sure to hydrate your small cacti well once or twice a week in order for them to thrive.

Despite being drought-tolerant plants, cactus still require watering to survive.

How often should a tiny cactus be watered?

  • Watering cacti should only be done when the potting soil is at least 90% dry.
  • Small to medium-sized indoor cacti, which are succulent plants, often require watering every 10 days or more during the spring or summer and every 4 to 6 weeks during the winter.
  • The ideal way to water cacti is to completely saturate the soil with rainwater or distilled water, and then to stop when water begins to drain from the drainage hole in the potting container.

What cactus is the oldest?

The saguaro cactus, which is the oldest known cactus ever in the world, was nearly 300 years old when it began to die in the 1990s. In addition to being ancient, Old Granddaddy was also a behemoth with over 40 feet in height and 52 arms right before it passed away.

Old Granddaddy’s location in Saguaro National Park revealed that the cactus there had bacterial necrosis, a condition that usually affects older cacti. The illness turned the cactus brown and made Old Granddaddy decay. The arms of Old Grandpa also disintegrated. It was one of the most popular and frequently photographed cacti in Saguaro National Park before Old Granddaddy passed away.

Can a dead cactus be revived?

Cactus death is typically caused by root rot brought on by over watering and poorly draining potting soils. Between waterings, cacti require the soil surrounding their roots to dry out. The cactus turns yellow, brown, or black with a spongy texture if the soil is persistently moist.

If a cactus receives too much shade, the stem will droop or lean over, but if it is shifted from shade to full sun without first being exposed to more intense light, the cactus will turn white and appear burnt.

When a cactus is living in conditions that are drastically different from those of its natural environment, it will eventually die.

By placing the cactus in at least six hours of direct sunlight, only watering when the soil has completely dried out, and planting or repotting the cactus in specially formulated well-draining gritty succulent and cacti soil to improve drainage so the cactus can recover, you can revive a dying cactus.