Create The Perfect Cactus Landscape With These Gorgeous Cacti

A cactus landscape can be just as beautiful as any other type of landscape. Yet it is often seen as dry and uninteresting. But that really shouldn’t be, cacti can be wonderful plants if you give them a chance.

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For one, they are one of the most beautiful and hearty plants for a desert landscape. So that’s the main reason people love them. But you really can’t judge an entire type of plant by one you see in storybooks. 

Why Do People Plant A Cactus Landscape?

Cactuses are known for being hostile, dry, and bland in color. But these are truly all myths. Some cactuses are gorgeous, full of vibrancy, and as gentle as a daisy. This is why people with desert landscapes get them.

Is A Cactus Landscape Dangerous? 

In general, no. Cactus aren’t poisonous however, they do have prickly needles covering them in some species. That said, there are many species of cactuses that have smooth branches and some that are even furry. 

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Types Of Cacti For Your Cactus Landscape

There are dozens of different types of cactuses that you can buy at plant nurseries. But here are a few different types of cactuses that can create a cactus landscape that you, and guests, just can’t get enough of.

Blue Flame Cactus

Size: Up to 13 feet high and 12 feet wide

Flower Color: White or yellow

The blue flame cactus is a large cactus that can grow up to 30 feet in the wild. It is shaped like a candelabra and actually has edible fruit! The fruit tastes like a berry and can be harvested from personal cacti.

This cactus can be a green or blue color, hence the name. The older the cactus is, the bluer it gets. So a baby blue flame will be green while an elderly blue flame will be bright blue. This is a fun thing to monitor. 

Beavertail Cactus

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Size: Up to 20 inches high and 6 feet wide

Flower Color: Pink

Beavertail is a type of prickly pear cactus that re primarily a blue-green color. It grows to about 20 inches high and up to 6 feet wide. A lot of people like the beavertail cactus because of the sweet smell of the flowers.

The flowers smell like watermelon and bloom in late winter to early summer. Like most cactuses, beavertail cacti don’t need to be fertilized if in a garden or yard. They can also get by with fertilization just once or twice a year in a pot. 

Strawberry Hedgehog Cactus

Size: Up to 2 feet tall and 3 feet wide

Flower Color: Pink

The strawberry hedgehog cactus may be called the saint’s cactus, purple torch, or Engelmann’s hedgehog cactus. They are a great small beginner’s cactus that has clusters of stems that each grow flowers.

If you want a small and attractive cactus, the strawberry hedgehog is for you. But again, be careful because this cactus is quite sharp and should not be placed around small children who may get curious. 

Claret Cup Cactus

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Size: Up to 3 feet high and 6 feet wide

Flower Color: Bright red

Another name for the claret cup cactus is the hedgehog, so Sonic the Hedgehog fans, this one is for you. The fruit from this cactus is one of the sweetest of all as it tastes a lot like strawberries, turning orange when it’s ripe.

This is not only one of the tastiest cactus that you can buy but it’s also one of the prettiest. It stays low to the ground, growing in multiple bulbs that look like a family of cactus, and its flowers are bright and vibrant. 

Golden Ball Cactus

Size: Up to 3 feet tall and 3 feet wide

Flower Color: Yellow

Another name for the golden ball cactus is the lemon ball cactus. It forms in clusters and is nearly fireproof. The golden ball cactus is generally easy to keep alive and starts out as a small spherical plant as a baby.

As it grows, it primarily gets taller yet not much wider. It grows to a tower, which is why it is often called the lemon tower cactus. It’s a great beginner cactus as it is easy to care for and looks attractive.

Golden Barrel Cactus

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Size: Up to 4 feet tall and 4 feet wide

Flower Color: Yellow and red

The golden barrel cactus is a medium-sized cactus that is one of the most popular backyard cactuses you can buy. It’s easy to recognize due to its round, golden barrel shape. There’s nothing bad to say about this guy.

He is easy to take care of, looks great, and fits in with nearly any landscape. If you put him in a smaller pot, you can even let him grow inside until he’s big enough to go outside. Just be careful, because he’s prickly! 

Mexican Fence Post Cactus

Size: Up to 20 feet tall and 8 inches wide

Flower Color: Yellow and red

Mexican fence post cactuses can grow to be quite tall, however, they are not wide, individually that is. The cactus gets its name from the fact that it naturally grows along the border and fences in Mexico.

You can plant your own along your fence for a natural look or plant them in place of a fence for added privacy and create a closed-in area. Mexican fence post cacti are unique in their own way. 

Peanut Cactus

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Size: Up to 1 foot tall and 2 feet wide

Flower Color: Pink and red

Peanut cacti are cylindrical cactus that grow low to the ground. The flowers are cup-shaped and full of color. They look amazing in gardens and desert landscapes surrounded by rocks due to their short stature.

Most of the time, the peanut cactus is very small, never growing more than a few inches, which is where it got its name. But there are occasions where they grow to be a couple of feet wide, which is giant for a peanut cactus. 

Old Man Cactus

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Size: Up to 20 feet tall and 6 feet wide

Flower Color: Red

The old man cactus may have a funny name, but its alternate name is even sillier. You can call this guy Cousin It. It gets its name because it is tall and covered in hair, making it monster-like in appearance. 

Some don’t appreciate the furriness of this monster cactus but others are in love with its quirky nature. You can wash the hair if you like to keep it white or let it take in the colors that nature will give it. 

Orchid Cactus

Size: Up to 2ft tall and 2ft wide

Flower Color: Pink and red

The orchid cactus is unlike any other cactus. If you didn’t know any better, you would assume that it wasn’t a cactus at all and was instead a well-groomed wildflower bloom. But this baby is all cactus.

In the wild, the orchid cactus can grow to be over 200ft wide. But if you keep it confined, it will only grow to a comfortable size, not outgrowing the container that you put it in. At least not by much!

Candelabra Cactus

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Size: Up to 10 feet high and 10 feet wide

Flower Color: Red and white

Candelabra cacti are known for their cup-shaped flowers that open during the day and close in the evening. You can eat the fruit that grows from these cactuses but it doesn’t taste as sweet as most other fruit.

The candelabra cactus has tall, flat arms that stick straight up and curve around like a candelabra on the sides. Each arm is unique and grows in an x-like shape if looked at from above, giving the cactus an eclectic look. 

Organ Pipe Cactus

Size: Up to 30 feet tall and 10 feet wide

Flower Color: Pink, white, and red

Organ pipe cactuses are also called the Arizona organ pipe. This is because they look like an old organ you’d find in a church in the 1800s. However, their stems also look like sausage links, though that name isn’t often used. 

During the springtime, the flowers on this cactus “go to sleep” at night and wake up at dawn. This process is fun to watch as you can actually wake up to see them waking up too. Kids love watching flowers wake up. 

Prickly Pear Cactus

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Size: Up to 5 feet tall and 15 feet wide

Flower Color: Red

One of the most popular, most famous types of cactus is the prickly pear cactus. This is because they are very easy to take care of and can be prepared in many ways in the kitchen and at outdoor cookouts.

Popular ways to prepare the prickly pear cactus are to grill it, saute it, make a beverage, or some tasty sweet jam. Though people are getting more and more creative every day when cooking the prickly pear. 

Rat Tail Cactus

Size: Up to 5 feet tall and 5 feet wide

Flower Color: Pink or orange

Rat tail cactuses are medium-sized cactus when looking at the plant as a whole, but the branches and stems are quite narrow. They swoop down like a weeping willow, overflowing onto the ground rather than growing straight up. 

Because of the way they grow, rat tail plants look amazing in a hanging planter, though they made need groomed or they will get out of hand. Be careful when grooming cacti, making sure you know what you are doing. 

Saguaro Cactus

Size: Up to 50 feet tall and 10 feet wide

Flower Color: White

The columnar saguaro cactus is a tall cactus that is very recognizable. You may not know the name but you can recognize it from old westerns and video games. Yes, the classic cowboy cactus.

The only downfall of this iconic cactus is that it does not tolerate the winter well. It needs heat and sunlight to survive. That, paired with the fact that it can take 100 years to reach maturity makes it better as a wild plant. 

Turk’s Cap Cactus

Size: Up to 4 inches tall and 4 inches wide

Flower Color: Red

The Turk’s cap cactus is a very small cactus with a big personality. He wears a red hat with pride though he isn’t as hearty as other cacti. He needs water and isn’t resistant to temperature changes like other cacti. 

But his big personality makes up for it all and so does the size, which means he can be put in any windowsill or pot. This makes the perfect gift for someone who needs a tiny little plant friend. 

Silver Torch Cactus

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Size: Up to 10 feet tall and 6 inches wide

Flower Color: Pink

You can call the silver torch cactus Cousin It’s cousin because it is also tall and hairy, though he looks older and wiser than the old man cactus. This cactus is tall and slender growing much taller than it does wide. 

This type of cactus is properly named because its silvery hair seems to shimmer and glow in the sunlight. This is definitely a unique and soft cactus but if you don’t like wooly cactuses then try a different option.

Star Cactus

Size: Up to 40 inches tall and 12 inches wide

Flower Color: White and yellow 

We can’t conclude a list without mentioning the star cactus, or the monk’s hood. This is a star cactus, and not just because of its name. The cactus is a champion that is often found in a star shape when viewed from the top.

Though the cactus is small, this just means that it is perfect for any garden or windowsill. It won’t outgrow the area you give it because it naturally is small. You have to see this cactus it believe it is real! 

Cactus Landscape FAQs

Want some quick questions and answers instead of an entire guide? These should get you through those gnawing questions.

Is Landscaping Fabric Good For A Cactus Landscape?

Landscaping fabric shouldn’t be added to any area where you want plants to thrive. While cactus will survive longer with the fabric since they don’t need as much water, they could eventually die from it.

Can I Put Other Plants In A Cactus Landscape?

Yes! Cacti mix well with other plants. They aren’t generally intrusive, though a few of them can be. You can mix any plant from any type of landscape as long as it can survive in the climate where you live.

What Are Common Cactus Landscape Problems?

One of the most common problems with cacti is overwatering. Signs of overwatering include browning, yellowing, or even blackening of the leaves, which is often opposite in other types of plants.

Can I Have A Cactus Landscape That Isn’t In The Desert?

A cactus landscape will thrive in the desert. But that doesn’t mean you can’t have a cactus landscape anywhere else. As long as you take good care of your cactus, you can have a cactus landscape anywhere.