Indoor Cactus: Enliven Your Home With Succulents

An indoor cactus is awe-inspiring. Its survival skills, shape, size, and flowers make it a plant to behold. There are a variety of cactus plants and this one can uplift and add interest to your living spaces, whether perched on a windowsill or shelf.

Indoor CactusView in gallery

People are crazy about cacti because they look great and are good for your health. Like other plants, cacti can create a calming home atmosphere. 

Is It Good To Have A Cactus Indoor?

Is It Good To Have A Cactus At Home?View in gallery

An indoor cactus has many benefits that exceed the downsides. If you know how to take care of your cactus, you will reap its rewards.

Indoor Cacti Plants Reduce Stress 

Studies have shown how indoor plants impact human stress levels. A 2010 study revealed that indoor plants reduce anxiety, depression, fatigue, and feelings of anger and hostility.

Taking Care Of A Cactus Plant Makes You Happy

Cacti are long-lasting and can survive in harsh desert climates. The plant symbolizes endurance. They have a calming effect for when you are stressed and struggling. Cacti also inspire you to be resilient during life’s ups and downs.

Improves Air Quality

Cacti help purify indoor air for better breathing. All plants, including cacti, absorb carbon dioxide and transform it into pure breathable oxygen. Moreover, cacti cleanse air toxins, improving indoor air quality.

Indoor Cactus Has Unique Therapeutic And Medical Properties

If you are the type who talks to plants, you know how this benefits them. People develop a close bond with things they value. The great thing about this interaction is how plants benefit from the conversation.

Some gardeners believe that talking to plants helps them grow faster and stronger. There may be a scientific reason for this. When you speak, you release carbon dioxide needed by plants to make food. Therefore, when you talk to plants, they receive an extra boost of carbon dioxide, enabling it to speed up photosynthesis.

Boost Productivity

These succulents are easy to maintain. Indoor cacti increase personal productivity. They help you breathe better and create a fresh environment.

Growing A Cactus In Your Home Can Enhance Your Memory

Researchers at the University of Michigan found that interacting with nature has a host of mental benefits.

They found that when you interact with nature it can improve one’s memory skills up to 20 percent and help with school and work performance.

5 Amazing Facts You Didn’t Know About Cacti

Amazing Facts You Didn’t Know About CactiView in gallery

You may see an indoor cactus as something that is ordinary, plain, and sometimes boring, but if you get to know them better, you will be amazed at what these plants can do. 

Cacti Can Store Large Amounts Of Water

Cacti have a shallow root system that enables them to absorb as much water as they can. The roots of these succulents are only 1.3 cm deep; therefore, it doesn’t take long for rainwater to reach them for absorption.

Besides having shallow roots, cacti roots cover large areas. And because they cover larger areas, the roots can absorb more water.

After absorption, the cacti stores water with its stem so it looks swollen. If you want to know if it has rained in the desert, look at a cacti’s turgidity.

Cacti Stomata Open At Night

Cacti have what scientists call a CAM, or crassulacean acid metabolism.

CAM enables these plants to open their stomata at night during cool temperatures.

During the sizzling months of summer, temperatures are unbearable, stressing the plants. The cacti close their stomata both day and night, leading to a resting phase where the plants don’t grow.

Cacti Have Spines Instead of Leaves

Spines are a cacti’s defense. The spiky needles pierce skin upon close contact. Punctures from a spine are extremely painful for desert animals to withstand.

The spines are also tricky to remove from the skin and cause infections. Cacti spines can even cause multiple injuries in one area.

Water Collection

Spines are also helpful in collecting water in foggy deserts. When the mist lands on the spine, it turns into water that trickles down to the ground below. The roots of the cacti then absorb this water for storage.

A Cactus Plant Can Live for Ages

Cacti plants only require minimal care and great longevity as well. There are more than 1500 cacti species. A cactus plant can live between 10 to 200 years.

Cacti Recruit Ants as Bodyguards

The cactus plants produce nectar to attract ants. Since the temperature in deserts is sizzling hot with limited resources to quench hunger and thirst, ants often migrate to a cactus.

How are ants beneficial to a cactus’s life? These ants attack small animals that pass through the spaces on the cactus’s spine. Furthermore, ants attack bacteria and fungi that might otherwise harm the cacti.

5 Need-to-Know Tips for Mastering Indoor Cactus

Mastering Indoor CactusView in gallery

An indoor cactus may be different from those that you see near the beaches and in deserts. Read on and find out how to master these succulents. 

Light, Temperature And Ventilation

Whether you are keeping your cacti indoors or outdoors, you must give them the maximum amount of light possible. If your cacti are planted outdoors, make sure they are in a location that gets sufficient light. For indoor cactus, place them on a windowsill to receive sunlight.

If you keep your cactus indoors, placing it in a shaded spot such as a bookshelf is not recommended since it might not survive for the long term. Although different cacti species have different light exposure needs, in most cases, cacti need bright and direct sunlight. To provide your cactus with adequate light, it is best to place it on a balcony, window sill or any unshaded spot in your property.

Compost

It is best to get compost designed for cacti or free-draining compost for best outcomes. A plastic pot can retain more moisture, so water your cacti less if planted in this pot material and ensure the compost doesn’t get too much water.

Watering and Feeding

Every cactus species is different. It is up to you to observe changes in your plants when you water, repot, fertilize, or propagate them. Knowing when to water your cactus is critical to he.

One terrific thing about these plants is they are tolerant of water neglect. But bear in mind that there is a limit to this since too much negligence can cause the leaves or stems to wilt.

Fertilizing indoor cactus plants once a year is a good rule. If you are organized and keep to a schedule, feeding them two to three times yearly in the spring, summer, and fall will meet your cacti’s fertilizer requirements.

Different Seasons

Overall, cactus plants will require watering every seven to ten days for optimal growth during the spring and summer seasons. Increase the time between watering schedules during the plant’s hibernation during the winter months.

Repotting

A cactus must be repotted once the roots start to peek out from the drainage holes at the bottom of the pot. Repotting is best done in the spring when cacti are actively growing. Water the cactus two days prior to repotting, so the roots are moistened but not too wet.

Growth Phases of Indoor Cactus

Growth Phases of Indoor CactusView in gallery

You may think that an indoor cactus has a slow growth rate. Do not worry as this is normal. Below are growth phases that are essential to the indoor cactus and that require your attention. 

Month 1

The first stage of a cactus’s life cycle involves the growth and transformation of the seed into a seedling. Dormant seeds require optimum conditions to help them grow. They need environmental stimuli such as the right temperature, water availability, and light.

The type of ideal conditions depend on the seed. Hard seed coats must erupt with the water absorption. The stored food in the seed needs to be converted into chemicals that promote the growth of the seedling.

Month 6

As you continue to care for your cactus, you will observe that it starts to grow but at a slow rate. After six months, you may find that your cactus has not undergone dramatic growth. It may a little bigger than a marble.

Compared to other plants and flowers, this may seem abnormally slow. But in the cactus world, this slow growth is typical.

Year 1

After 12 months, it is not unusual if your cactus is still no bigger than a marble. But upon achieving this milestone, your cactus must be moved from a propagation tray to an individual pot. Moving them to a larger container enables their growth to continue.

How to Make Cactus Soil for Indoor Plants?

How to Make Cactus Soil for Indoor Plants?View in gallery

Cacti are not accustomed to rich soils ideal for other plants. Instead, they thrive best in nutrient-poor mediums.

A premade cactus soil ensures that the soil contains everything the cactus needs without much involvement on your part. This soil can be purchased in home and gardening shops. Soil for cactus has the optimum range of inorganic materials as well as a tiny amount of organic material such as peat moss or coco coir.

However, mixing your cactus soil is an easy option. Mix three parts potting soil, coarse sand or gravel, and two parts perlite or pumice. Avoid potting soil containing fertilizers since fertilizer can burn off cacti roots and harm their growth.

How to Choose the Right Pot for Your Cactus?

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An indoor cactus requires a special pot for them to grow. You need to factor in numerous things when searching for the right material.

Material

For many cactus lovers, the material of the pot is their priority.  There is no good or bad material. It will all depend on your preferences.

But many prefer clay pots since this material drains. The porous feature of clay creates an ideal environment for the indoor cactus. Moreover, because the pot absorbs water, it is easier to estimate the soil’s moisture level.

When clay pots suck in the water, the pot turns dark. Another good reason to opt for clay is they are less expensive than other materials. It is also easy to color coordinate them for visual consistency in your space.

Drainage

The cactus plant is biologically designed to survive prolonged periods without water. But this peculiar adaptive feature can also work against it when it gets too much water and too frequently. Therefore, when selecting a pot, ensure it has a good drainage system to release the excess water. If it doesn’t, drill holes on the pot prior to using it for your cactus.

The Best Size

You must also check the pot’s size. The ideal size must allow a ¼ inch space between the main body of the cactus and the rim of the pot.

You must also examine the depth. Choosing the wrong depth might hinder your cactus’s growth. The depth will depend on the type of species you are planting. The pot’s depth must be proportional to the natural growing process of your cactus. If your cactus grows tall and large and develops deep roots, you must get a deeper pot to accommodate it. But if the cactus has shallow roots, you can utilize a small pot with a shallower depth.

How to Grow Cactus Plants from Seed

How to Grow Cactus Plants from SeedView in gallery

Indoor cactus can be grown through seed planting. Here’s how you do it. 

  • Step 1. Fill the pot with moistened, free-draining compost. Gently press and level the surface. Sprinkle the cactus seeds over the soil’s surface. Make sure to spread the seeds evenly.
  • Step 2. Apply a thin layer of vermiculite or fine grit over the seeds. Cover the compost’s entire surface. Cover the pot with a clear plastic bag to preserve the soil’s moisture and leave the pot in a greenhouse or a sunlit windowsill.
  • Step 3. The seeds will develop in a few weeks. Remove the plastic and water the compost once it becomes dry. Make sure to spray the surface of the soil and water regularly to keep it moist.
  • Step 4. Once spring comes, your seedlings should be ready for transfer. Utilize a fork or spoon, gently remove each cactus taking care not to touch the spikes.
  • Step 5. Partially fill a small pot with gritty compost and embed the cactus seedlings. Utilize tweezers to ensure the seedling does not sit at an angle.
  • Step 6. Fill the area around the seedling with compost and water. Add in more compost if necessary and utilize a spoon to arrange the gravel around the seedling. Place the pot in a sunny spot, such as a windowsill.

How to Grow Cactus from Cuttings

How to Grow Cactus from CuttingsView in gallery

If you want to grow it by means of cuttings, here’s how. 

  • Step 1. Choose a healthy stem at least 10 cm long. With a sharp scissor, cut the stem cleanly. It is best to utilize thongs for your safety for spiky cacti. Afterwards, lay the cuttings on a windowsill and leave them to heal.
  • Step 2. Fill the pot with cactus peat, then insert your cuttings. Embed the cutting deep enough to help it stand upright. To promote root growth, it is recommended to dip your cuttings in a hormone powder prior to planting.
  • Step 3. Water the pot generously, then place it on a warm windowsill away from direct sunlight. Cover the entire thing with a plastic bag.
  • Step 4. Check your cuttings regularly and water them only when the soil is dry. In many cases, a cactus will root within a month, but it may take a more extended period for new growth to show.

How to Propagate Cactus Pups

Cover the pot’s base with 1/3 to ½ soil. After planting the pup, please place it in bright but indirect sunlight to maintain the moisture of the medium. Most cacti will root in four to six weeks, but some varieties can take months.

20 Best Cactus Species to Grow Indoors

Here’s a list of indoor cactus you can add to your collection to style your home

Saguaro Cactus

Saguaro CactusView in gallery

This species can grow to a staggering 12 m in height. Saguaro cactus has a barrel shape with stems that look like arms. This cacti stores water, and the more gallons it stores, the more it expands and becomes heavy. A foot of this cactus can weigh up to 90 pounds. A fully grown Saguaro can weigh up to a ton.

Angel Wings

Angel WingsView in gallery

Angel Wings cactus is endemic to Mexico. It is a dense-like shrub growing between 40 cm to 60 cm tall. The stems range from 6 cm to 15 cm in length and 4 cm to 12 cm in width.

Unlike other spiny cacti, Angel wings have yellow or white 2 mm glochids scattered on its body. Glochids are much thinner than human hair and detach once touched.

Rat Tail Cactus

Rat Tail CactusView in gallery

This cactus can be grown indoors, outdoors, and in greenhouses. It is distinct with its long trailing stems that branch out 1 m to 2 m in length and 8mm to 24 mm in width.

Its flowers bloom during spring and summer. The colors of the flower come in red, violet, pink, or orange. The flowers bloom to 2 inches and last only for a few days.

Christmas Cactus

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Christmas cactus must be cared for to secure healthy growth. The leaf tips are distinct since they turn darker until the buds appear around Christmas time. The buds will then open into beautiful flowers which reflect the season.

Barrel Cactus

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Barrel cacti have a muffin shape and pop out over the edges of their pots. It is distinguishable for its elongated fruits and undulating ribs.

Barrel cacti flowers bloom in April, come in yellow-orange and purple colors and grow 8 cm across. The spines of these cacti can grow up to 10 cm long. This variety grows circular once it has fully matured.

Old Lady Cactus

Old Lady CactusView in gallery

This variety is quite popular. Although it is prevalent in arid areas, it also makes for an ideal indoor plant. But it is recommended to place it in a sunny spot in the brightest area in the room and avoid overwatering it. A south-facing window provides the best conditions.

This cactus blooms in the spring and summer season, producing red or purple flowers up to 15 mm in diameter.

Bishop’s Cap

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Bishop’s cap is notable for its star shape when young. This cactus has about 3 to 7 vertical ribs that form its starlike shape. Once this cactus reaches full maturity, the ribs increase in number, making it more cylindrical.

Moon Cactus

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Moon cactus is distinctive for its red, pink, orange, or yellow colors. The colors are in a bowl-shaped pattern giving the impression that balls with thorns sit on another green-colored cactus.

Prickly Pear Cactus

Prickly Pear CactusView in gallery

The prickly pear cactus is otherwise known as Opuntia. The fruits of these cacti are referred to as Tuna, and the pads are called Nopals.

This cactus can reach a height of 7 m with spines of 2.5 cm in length. But some varieties of prickly pear do not have spines.

Jumping Cholla Cactus

Jumping Cholla CactusView in gallery

Jumping Cholla’s moniker comes from this cactus’s peculiar stems that detach upon the slightest touch. Once the sharp spines get dispersed, they attach easily to animals and humans. This is a way for them to propagate since once the stems are removed, they grow on the ground and root there.

Organ Pipe Cactus

Organ Pipe CactusView in gallery

This cactus has several stems that project from one short trunk and rise vertically. The stems are usually six inches in thickness and grow to a height of 16 feet. But some others can reach between 23 and 26 feet.

Peanut Cactus

Peanut CactusView in gallery

This cactus is native to Argentina and can be grown indoors or outdoors. It is distinct for its long stems 1 cm wide and tiny orange flowers 4 cm in width. The flowers bloom in late spring. Peanut cactus can grow up to 6 inches tall.

Silver Torch Cactus

Silver Torch CactusView in gallery

The silver torch is otherwise known as snow pole and woolly torch. It is endemic to the mountainous regions of Argentina and Bolivia. It can reach a height of up to 9.8 feet. This cactus is distinct for its gray-greenish color and slender columns only 2.5 inches across.

Kingcup Cactus

Kingcup CactusView in gallery

King Cup Cactus is a species under the hedgehog cactus category.

The unique feature of this cactus is its globular piles of hundreds of cylindrical stems. It has a woolly like appearance—the flowers, bright orange-red or deep scarlet, bloom up to 9 cm in late spring.

This cactus prefers some moisture, partial sunlight, and porous soil that drains water.

Barbados Gooseberry

Barbados GooseberryView in gallery

This cactus is endemic to tropical America. The fruits and leaves of this succulent are both edible and contain nutrients such as iron and protein. In contrast to other cacti, this species has a vine that grows up to 33 feet high. The stems are 2 to 3 cm in thickness.

Queen of the Night Cactus

Queen of the Night CactusView in gallery

This variety is endemic to southern Mexico and some areas in South America. This fast-growing cactus flowers in the late spring through to summer. This cactus’s primary stems grow 6 m long while the secondary stems are flat and have a dimension of 30 cm x 12 cm.

Mexican Fence Post Cactus

Mexican Fence Post CactusView in gallery

This is a slow-growing cactus that can reach a height of 20 feet. The stems are typically 3 to 4 inches in diameter.

A fully mature Mexican Fence Post cactus grows numerous arms. Some Mexican homes use this cactus as a fence, hence its name.

Totem Pole Cactus

Totem Pole CactusView in gallery

This smooth-skinned cactus has no visible spines. It is a column type cactus that can grow up to 12 feet tall. It has tiny carve like bumps.

The light pink flowers of this succulent bloom and open in the evening. Once midmorning comes, the flowers close. This cactus produces edible egg-shaped fruits.

Blue Candle Cactus

Blue Candle CactusView in gallery

This is a sizeable shrub-like cactus that grows up to 5 m in height. The stem’s diameter ranges from 6 cm to 10 cm. The flowers of the Blue Candle bloom to 2.5 cm across and are creamy white. This cactus produces edible dark purple fruits, pretty popular in Mexican cuisine.

6 Best Large Cactus Plants to Grow Indoors

Best Large Cactus Plants to Grow IndoorsView in gallery

Blue Myrtle Cactus (Myrtillocactus geometrizans)

Blue Myrtle is a shrub-like cactus that reach up to 5 m in height. It is tall as it is wide. Its fully developed spiky stems are 8 inches in diameter with a blue-greenish color and waxy texture. Once the plant becomes fully grown, the stems develop a candelabra-like appearance with thick clusters that project upwards. This cactus variety also produces edible berries, a popular snack in Mexico.

Mexican Fence Post Cactus (Pachycereus marginatus)

This dark green columnar cactus is distinct for its ribbed basal branches. The stems are rough and straight and grow up to 4 m tall in cultivation and 15 m in the wild. The mature cacti have shorter spines compared to juvenile specimens.

Candelabra Cactus (Euphorbia ingens)

Candelabra cactus is endemic to the arid region of Southern Africa. It is known as the candelabra tree. The milk-like latex this cactus produces is poisonous and a dangerous irritant.

Organ Pipe Cactus (Stenocereus thurberi)

The organ pipe can grow up to 8 m and is distinct for its tall columnar arms that project candelabra-like from the base—the color of the stem ranges from green to gray and is covered with brown spines.

Mexican Giant Cardon Cactus (Pachycereus pringlei)

The most distinctive feature of this cacti is its green stem covered by lovely spines. This cactus can grow up to a staggering 63 feet and 3.3 feet in diameter. When it blooms, this cactus produces pristine white flowers.

Mexican Lime Cactus (Ferocactus pilosus)

This cactus is otherwise known as Mexican fire barrel. It is a massive barrel-like cactus with funky spines. It is a strange-looking cactus with up to 20 reddish-pink ribs lining the spines. The Mexican lime cactus can grow up to 10 feet tall and 20 inches diameter. When cultivated in a hot sunny climate, this cactus can produce vivid red-orange blooms from late winter to spring.

General Care for Growing Tall Indoor Cactus

Cacti must be watered at least once a week, during their growing season. When watering, make sure to steep the soil and allow excess water to drain off. The compost must be slightly dry between each watering.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)FAQ

How often to water cactus?

Water is critical if you want your cactus to grow healthy and strong. A sunny location provides them plenty of heat during the day. Water them once per week. Make sure the soil is completely dry between watering.

How to care for a Christmas cactus?

Make sure that you maintain a temperature of 65 degrees. When watering this variety, the soil must be evenly moistened and misted frequently, especially during its blooming phase.

Can you eat cactus?

The fruit of the prickly pear and the flat cactus pad, nopales, can be eaten. These parts can be eaten raw, cooked and added into dishes, or squeezed into juice.

Does cactus need sun?

Cacti and succulents need optimum exposure to light sources. It is recommended to place these plants in a sunlit spot. A south-facing location is best for them to receive adequate sunlight.

Why is my cactus turning yellow?

Cacti can turn yellow from lack of water and is extremely dry. The plant will also appear wilted and shriveled. You must give your plant a thorough watering to revive it when this happens.

Is cactus poisonous to cats?

Cactus are not toxic if eaten, but their sharp spines can hurt pets.

Can dogs eat cactus?

While most cacti varieties aren’t poisonous to your pet, the chemical composition of the cactus’s sap can cause gastrointestinal troubles to your canine friend.

Indoor Cacti: Conclusion

Cacti and succulents are a terrific addition to your surroundings since they bring subtle beauty and a unique visual aesthetic, especially when they start flowering. The only thing you need to ensure when caring for these plants indoors is to place them in the right location to receive abundant sunlight.