What Are The Different Types Of Cactus Plants

Cactus, often known as cacti or cactuses, belongs to the order Caryophyllales and is a family of flowering plants with about 2,000 species and 139 genera. From British Columbia and Alberta southward, cacti are native to most of North and South America; the southernmost portion of their distribution reaches deep into Chile and Argentina. The highest number and variety of species are found in Mexico. The only cactus that might be native to the Old World are Rhipsalis species, which are found in Sri Lanka, Madagascar, and East Africa. Few cactus species exist in tropical or subtropical climes, although the majority do and are well adapted to dry conditions. List of Cactaceae plants is also available.

What are the top ten cacti in popularity?

Many people want to include outdoor areas in their homes. Fortunately, having a green thumb is not necessary to accomplish that. For individuals who want to add a touch of green but struggle to keep conventional plants alive or who simply don’t have the time to devote to a garden, cacti and succulents are low-maintenance and easy-to-care-for solutions.

What cactus species are the most widely grown? According to cactus growers and aficionados, the most common varieties of cactus are:

  • Lunar cactus
  • Cactus Ladyfinger
  • Cactus of Easter
  • Senior woman cactus
  • rabbit ear cactus
  • Columnar cactus in blue
  • Cactus stars
  • Container cactus
  • The fairy castle cacti
  • Calypso saguaro

Why are they so well-liked? We will go into great depth about each one, including how simple or challenging it is to take care of and spread them.

Which variety of cactus do I have?

The physical characteristics of each cactus should be used as a starting point when distinguishing one from another. Some distinguishing physical characteristics to watch for are:

The Leaves

One essential aspect you may want to consider is the cactus plant’s leaves. Do your plants have any spines? You can determine this by examining their leaves. A leaf with spines will have needle-like, sharp edges, while a leaf without spines will have rounded edges. The color and shape of your cacti plant’s leaves can also provide useful information.

Chlorophyll and carotenoids, which are photosynthetic pigments, can be used to determine the color of leaves. Carotenoids give the plants their characteristic colors, whereas chlorophyll is in charge of receiving light energy from the sun and storing it as chemical energy.

Your cactus plant type may also be determined by the shape of the leaves. Succulent plants often have spines and needle-like leaves, whereas flat-leaved plants are typically stronger in nature since they can endure severe situations better. For instance, the leaves of a barrel cactus grow straight, whereas the leaves of a saguaro cactus are flat.

Similar to the shape and color, the different needle styles can also be used to identify the type of cacti you have, albeit the results are not always reliable. The more hardy and leafy kinds will typically have flat spines, whilst the more succulent and squishy forms would typically have needle-like spines.

How high can they grow?

When determining the type of cactus you have, you might also want to consider its height. Because plants that thrive at higher elevations typically have longer roots than those that do not, height and altitude can be utilized as a determining factor when choosing your plant type. The Saguaro Cactus, which may often reach heights of 50 feet, is the tallest of all succulents. Hedgehog and pereskia, on the other hand, are little kinds that rarely grow taller than six inches. You can tell what kind of cactus plant you have by just measuring the height of the plant.

Shape and coloration

When there are no spines or leaves to go by, a cactus’ shape and color can also be utilized to determine its type. Shape typically gives some hints about the plant’s requirements for the climate, which in turn may give more information about the nature of the plant.

Although there are so many different kinds of cactus that you can identify, you might not be able to do so just by looking at it because of its color. Another spiny variety may have a green-brown body, whereas a white-spined barrel cactus may have green. The dwarf saguaro’s yellowish hue stands out sharply from, for example, the brown spines on a barbed wire cactus.

As you can see, there are a lot of physical characteristics to watch out for that could reveal what species of cactus plant your plants are. One piece of advice is to explore further if you notice something peculiar or unusual about a particular species because it might be what you’ve been looking for.

How are its flowering style and pattern?

The way a plant blooms is another physical characteristic that will reveal whether it is a terrestrial or epiphytic plant. While terrestrial plants have roots and require direct connection to soil, epiphytes are plants that thrive in humid regions with little soil contact and depend on other plants for nutrition.

Another sign of a cactus’ kind is the way its flowers are arranged. The saguaro and barrel both feature radial patterns, while the hedgehog is another plant with radial patterns but more elongated ones. A species that forms columns, like the cardon, may have vertical stripes or zigzags with contrasting color patterns.

The most likely form of cactus you have is a cardon if it is columnar and has vertical stripes of contrasting colors. On the other hand, if your cactus has radial patterns and spines, it is probably either the barrel or saguaro type.

Although it’s not always reliable, the color of the flowers might also give you a hint about what kind of cactus your plant is. For instance, a hedgehog may have yellow blooms, or a kind of flower with a red top may be a cardon.

What about the seeds?

Depending on their environment, different cactus species generate different seeds. For instance, the Saguaro cactus produces smaller, fleshier seed pods, whereas the hedgehog produces much larger, spiky fruit. While the cardon is known to produce seeds that are round and glossy, some varieties, like the barrel cactus, will have a more oval or spherical appearance.

These various seed pod varieties can provide you hints about the kind of cactus you might grow in your garden. Perhaps after a lengthy development period, your plant that you’ve had for a while isn’t blossoming or generating any flowers? Even before planting, it may be quite beneficial to look at the seeds, since they might provide important details about the type of plant. If your cactus isn’t flowering or generating any flowers over a lengthy time of growth, it may not be blossoming due to its type or the climatic circumstances that type loves. Different cactus species generate different seed pods.

What kind of cactus is most typical?

One of the species that characterizes the Sonoran desert is the Carnegiea gigantea, popularly known as the saguaro cactus. A tall, thick, columnar stem that is 18 to 24 inches broad makes up the succulent. A typical saguaro will also have a number of uniquely curved upward branches.

The stem and trunk contain substantial spines grouped on their ribs, and its skin is comparatively smooth and waxy.

This enormous cactus can live for up to 200 years under the appropriate circumstances. This cactus grows slowly and can take up to 30 years to begin blooming.

A Saguaro that is ten years old may only be one or two inches tall. A saguaro, on the other hand, can grow up to 60 feet tall. The plant can weigh up to 4800 pounds when fully hydrated.

Growing a Saguaro Cactus

Despite this plant’s large size, you can still grow it indoors or in your backyard. In fact, the cactus is one of the most popular indoor cacti plants in North America, including the United States.

But in order to develop it properly, you must take all the necessary precautions to keep it strong and growing. When choosing where to plant a saguaro, one of the most important factors to take into account is the freezing point.

Technically, the plant can be quickly killed by frost and severely cold weather if the elevation is too high. So it’s essential to make sure your plant gets lots of sunlight. If you are growing it indoors, place it near a window that faces north for the best lighting.

Make sure to bring your saguaro inside before it gets cold enough in the winter. The saguaro needs soil that drains quickly and doesn’t retain water for an extended period of time, just like other varieties of cacti.

Saguaro Cactus Care

Although this particular cactus kind is quite drought resistant and can go for an extended period of time without water, this does not mean you should completely forgo watering it. Give saguaro plants enough water, and they will grow and bloom more successfully.

During the growing season (April to mid-September), water it moderately, and sparingly in the winter.

Throughout the growing season from early spring to late summer, fertilize it every two to three weeks.

You also need to be aware of the fragile root systems of saguaro plants. Consequently, stay away from growing them in larger pots and refrain from repotting them unless it is absolutely required.

Which cactus is best for a home garden?

The sight of a 40-foot saguaro cactus punctuating the landscape will stay with everyone who has traveled to the Sonoran Desert for any length of time. These magnificent plants can survive for two centuries, and blossoming can take up to 40 years. This cactus’s sluggish growth rate makes it possible to grow one as an indoor houseplant for many years as well. Give your saguaro as much light as you can, and only water it once a month or so.

What cactus is the simplest to grow?

One of the simpler cactus varieties to raise is this lovely blooming species. With adequate room and the correct conditions, it can reach a height of up to 10 feet and have gorgeously colored leaves.

You’ll be rewarded with stunning, fragrant blossoms if you follow Andrew Gaumond’s advice, a gardening expert and director of content for Petal Republic: “Make sure you use a slightly acidic, well-draining potting soil mix and choose a position in your home with strong indirect light, if feasible. This plant stands out in one particular way: Its blossoms open at night.

What kind of cactus is the most beautiful?

The 10 most stunning succulents and cacti

  • Jade tree (Crassula ovata)
  • Aloe vera
  • Cactus cushion plant (Mammillaria crinita)
  • Viper plant (Sansevieria trifasciata)
  • Plant zebra (Haworthia fasciata)
  • Rabbit’s tail (Sedum morganianum)
  • Holiday cactus (Schlumbergera x Buckleyi or Schlumbergera truncata)

How frequently do cacti need to be watered?

The most frequent reason for cacti failure is improper watering, whether it is done too much or too little. Cacti have evolved to store water for extended periods of time and can maintain moisture through droughts because they are endemic to arid regions and dry temperatures. They have a limited capacity, which is why over-watering can result in a variety of issues.

When it comes to regularity, watering your cacti will largely depend on the season but also on the variety. Checking the soil is the easiest technique to determine whether your cactus needs water: It’s time for a drink if the top inch is dry. That entails applying the “soak and dry procedure” on cactus.

What is the soak and dry method?

The soak and dry technique is thoroughly wetting the soil until part of it begins to flow out the drainage hole, then waiting until the mixture is nearly dry before wetting it once more. If done properly, this strategy will help them endure a period of under-watering should you need to travel or leave the house because it takes use of their natural tendency to store water (or if you just get busy and watering falls to the wayside, as happens to all of us now and again).

Watering during the growing season versus the inactive season

Like with many houseplants, the season affects how frequently you need water. It becomes more crucial that you get in the habit of examining the soil to determine whether your cacti are thirsty. A healthy cactus needs watering every one to two weeks during the growing season, according to general wisdom. The frequency changes to once every three to four weeks during the off-season.

Even then, it’s crucial to examine the soil. The same way that not all interior spaces and not all cacti are alike. The only way to be certain that your cactus require watering is to carefully examine the soil to determine how dry it is because there are so many different factors.

Are cacti healthy indoor plants?

Despite being recognized for their love of sunlight, many cacti grow well as houseplants. For some unusual decor, place one on your windowsill or in your living area. The ideal houseplant, indoor cacti typically require less light and are smaller in stature.

Bunny Ears Cactus (Opuntia microdasys)

The bunny ears cactus gets its name from its look and is native to Mexico. Its two pads are designed like bunny ears. They should be handled carefully since they have glochids or brown prickles on them. The bunny ears cactus is the ideal indoor plant because it may reach heights of two to three feet. If given enough light, it will blossom with white flowers and bear purple fruits in the summer.

Chin Cactus (Gymnocalycium)

Gymnocalycium is a kind of cactus native to South America and is frequently referred to as the “chin cactus.” Greek for “naked kalyx,” its name alludes to the flower buds’ lack of hair or spines. Some chin cactus like shade, while others do better in sunlight, depending on the kind.

Saguaro Cactus (Carnegiea gigantea)

Although it grows slowly, the Saguaro cactus can reach a height of forty feet. This indicates that you can use it as an indoor plant for a number of years before relocating it outside. It has the traditional cactus appearance thanks to its barrel-shaped body. This plant, which is a native of the Sonoran Desert, needs a lot of sunshine. Place the plant in direct sunlight if it is being maintained indoors.

Old Lady Cactus (Mammillaria hahniana)

The mammillaria family, which comprises 250 species, includes the old lady cactus as a subspecies of pincushion cactus. It is renowned for its halo of small pink or purple flowers that bloom in the spring and possesses hairs and spines. A sandy potting mix should be used to plant the old lady cactus, and it should receive water every other week.

Star Cactus (Astrophytum asteria)

The star cactus, also known as sea urchin or sand dollar cactus, can be recognized by its circular body that is divided into eight slices. It has small white spots and white hairs all over it. It produces a yellow blossom in the spring. The star cactus is the perfect indoor plant because its diameter only reaches two to six inches.

Easter Cactus (Hatiora gaertneri)

Easter cactus, a native of Brazil, blooms in late winter or early spring. White, orange, and lavender are just a few of its bloom colors. The plant has a distinctive shape because of the way its spines are piled on top of one another.

Christmas Cactus (Schlumbergera bridgesii)

The Christmas cactus, which is frequently mistaken for the Thanksgiving cactus, blooms in the dead of winter. It boasts vivid red blossoms and is frequently given as a Christmas gift. The Christmas cactus thrives in average indoor settings. Don’t overwater plants because it will make their roots rot. Although this plant can thrive in low light conditions, its blossoms benefit from additional light.

Moon Cactus (Gymnocalycium mihanovichii)

The moon cactus, also referred to as the chin cactus, varies in size, shape, and color. The hibotan cactus is a well-known cultivar. Its South American origins can be traced to its vivid red, pink, yellow, and orange hues. On window sills that receive some light, these little plants flourish.