Welcome to our cacti database where we list many varieties of cacti.
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Types of Cacti
Table of Contents
- Cacti Database
- Types of Cacti
I. Cacti Buying Guide
When many people picture a cactus, they see that iconic barrel cactus with two limbs. While those are a common breed of cactus, the cactus family of plants is much more varied than that.
There are plenty of types of cacti that can add beauty to your home. In fact, scientists have discovered more than 2,000 species of cacti. Before you choose the best desert plant for you, consider where you will keep the plant, if you want a flowering variety, and from where the species of cactus comes.
A. Indoor Cacti Types
1. Christmas Cactus
Source: Better Homes & Gardens
If you are looking for something unique each Christmas, this unusual plant can give you what you need. The Christmas Cactus is named so because it blooms near the Christmas season when the days are much shorter. With proper care, this cactus can also bloom in the fall and spring.
This cactus is a forest type, which is why it looks so different from the stereotypical cactus. The blooms can be orange, pink, red, or white, depending on the plant.
This houseplant grows to between six and 12 inches tall and six to 18 inches wide. The exact size of your Christmas Cactus may vary depending on the size of the pot. Like most cacti, this plant is drought tolerant and doesn’t need much maintenance.
The plant itself costs between five and 15 dollars. You can buy it already potted from 35 dollars and up. It is best to buy a Christmas Cactus that already has flowers.
2. Easter Cactus
Source: Our House Plants
As you may be able to guess from the name, the Easter Cactus is a cousin to the Christmas Cactus. This beautiful houseplant is also a forest type. However, this kind of plant is native to drier forests than its Christmas cousin. The blooms on the Easter Cactus can be red, white, peach, orange, and even lavender.
Unlike other cacti, this plant like a little humidity. If you live in a dry area, be sure to add a little moisture to your home for this cactus. You can do this by putting the plant on a water-filled saucer.
This plant tends to grow out more than up. It may get as high as 12 inches, but rarely taller. The width of the cactus will depend on the size of the container. You can typically purchase this plant for around 25 dollars in a basic pot. Without a pot, you can score this gorgeous cactus for approximately 10 dollars.
3. Desert Types
Source: Our House Plants
The desert types of cactus are probably closer to what you imagine when you think of a cactus. These cacti can make surprisingly great houseplants. While they can hurt anyone who gets too close to their spikes, these plants are not generally toxic to children and pets.
There are many desert cacti that make great houseplants. In fact, there are hundreds of individual species. You can choose an indoor desert plant by deciding on the look you like if you want it to flower and its origins.
Desert cactus are relatively inexpensive. Depending on the size of the plant and retailer, you can get one of these cute cacti from less than a dollar to just a few bucks.
B. Outdoor Cacti Types
As with indoor cacti, you have few limits when it comes to outdoor cactus types. These types can be grouped into the different shapes in which they come. For a genuinely alluring landscape, you can combine each of these styles.
1. Barrel Cacti
Source: Cactus Store
Barrel (or globular) cacti look like, well, a barrel. These plants can grow up to three feet tall, but some varieties stay smaller than that. Typically, a fully-grown barrel cactus costs between 20 and 40 dollars. However, you can often find young cacti for only a few dollars.
A few examples of barrel cacti include:
- Golden Barrel
- Fishhook Barrel
- Monk’s Hood
- Blue Barrel
Each of these cacti likes dry soil and plenty of sunshine. If you live in a place where you get cold weather or wet soil, you may wish to plant your outdoor cacti in pots. This way, you can move the plants inside when conditions get harsh for them.
2. Columnar Cacti
Source: Cactus Store
Columnar type cacti, also known as “cereus type,” grow tall and skinny. There are approximately 170 species of columnar cacti, each of which has unique features. The one uniting element is that these cacti are taller than they are wide. In fact, some types can be ten times as tall as they are wide.
These cacti have an unusual longevity. In fact, some can live for up to 200 years. If you take care of these easy-going plants, they can last a lifetime. Fun fact: these cacti have been part of a human diet for thousands of years. Columnar cacti are amazing.
You can expect to pay between 10 and 30 dollars for one of these plants. However, very mature cacti can cost a bit more. A few of these can add great depth and texture to your outdoor garden.
3. Prickly Pear Cactus
Source: Desert USA
The third basic shape of outdoor cacti is the prickly pear or Opuntia genus. Rather than one of two columns or barrels, these plants have plenty of flat, fleshy surfaces that look like giant leaves. Most of these cacti create beautiful flowers of orange, pink, purple, and red. The “leaves” also range in color from bright green to subdued blue.
There are plenty of sizes of prickly pear cacti. Some smaller species can grow to less than a foot in height, while others can top seven feet. Adding these unique plants to your garden can complement your columnar and barrel cacti.
Types of prickly pear cacti include:
- Bearded Prickly Pear
- Blind Prickly Pear
- Beavertail Cactus
- Hedgehog Prickly Pear
- Brown-Spined Prickly Pear
- Spiny-Fruited Prickly Pear
- And More!
A plant like this will typically set you back only 15 to 25 dollars. They make exciting additions to any yard!
C. Flowering Cacti
Source: Home Depot
When people consider planting flowers in their gardens, cacti are rarely the first plant to come to mind. However, many types of cacti can produce vibrant and enchanting flowers that smell incredible.
Some cacti bloom most of the year, while others only bloom when the days are short. Some of the flowers open when the sun is down, while others open up in the bright of day. No matter which type of bloom your cactus produces, it is sure to be a delight.
The size and price of a flowering cactus depend on the size, maturity, and breed of the plant. You can get a pack of the cacti in the picture above for just 15 dollars.
D. Not Flowering
Source: Home Depot
Not all cacti types produce flowers. However, the lack of blooms does not mean it lacks beauty. You can find non-flowering cacti of all shades, with golden spikes, and in plenty of shapes. Each plant is unique and adds flavor to your garden or home.
Non-flowering cacti are particularly easy to care for, as well. Since you don’t have to worry about getting the flower to bloom, care is simple as can be. The spines hold water for long periods of time so that you can go a while without water.
The price and size of non-flowering cacti vary widely. Some can grow up to seven feet tall, while other stay at about six inches in height. The cost of these plants changes accordingly.
While many people associate cacti with the American southwest, these plants grow all over the world. If you are hoping to create a garden inspired by a certain part of the world, check out the types of cacti that come from around the world.
More than 12,000 plant species call Madagascar home. It’s honestly a unique island with beautiful flora to enjoy. Many of these plant species are unique to the country. In fact, 95 percent of plants that you can find in the Spiny desert are not native to any other place on Earth.
Some of the many unusual cacti and succulent from Madagascar include:
• Several types of aloe
• Long Spine
• Silver Dollar Jade
• Sweet Noor
• And other exotic plants
Some of these plant types produce fragrant, beautiful flowers. Others create aloe that you can use in home remedies. All of them add something special to your yard or indoor space.
In general, Madagascar cacti are quite forgiving. They can withstand lower temperatures than some other varieties of plants. However, you should bring them in if it gets too cold.
The prices on these plants range from under five dollars to over 20 dollars. Of course, the exact amount depends on the size and age of the plant, the retailer, and more.
Mexico is home to some of the most recognizable cacti in the world. In fact, the cactus has become integral to Mexican society and cuisine. The Organ Pipe cactus produces a sweet fruit that local wildlife relies on. Meanwhile, the local prickly pear varieties make a refreshing ingredient for any Mexican dish.
Whether you choose a Mexican cactus for style or sustenance, it is sure to impress. These plants enjoy dry, hot temperatures. That’s why it’s essential to plant any outdoor Mexican cacti in pots. You will want to bring them in if your temperatures fall too low.
In Mexico, you can find cacti in many different heights, shapes, colors, and sizes. Here are a few of the most popular Mexican plants to bring home:
- Organ Pipe
- Christmas Cactus
- And many more
Mexican cacti differ widely in price. Some six-inch plants may cost just over ten dollars while others are larger and cost up to 70 dollars.
5. United States
Source: Desert Museum
In the Southwest part of the United States, cacti are abundant. In fact, Arizona’s Saguaro National Park is named for the “King of the Cactus,” or the Saguaro cactus. This towering plant can grow over 60 feet tall and has several smaller branches coming off one giant column.
This giant cactus isn’t the only one that is native to the United States. Across the country, you can find types of tree-like Cereus, blooming hedgehog, prickly pear, and foxtail cacti. Each of these varies in size and shape. Some produce flowers, while other make tasty fruit.
Just as they differ in size, the American plants have a wide range of prices. Certain one-gallon plants can cost less than ten dollars while other ten-gallon cacti can set you back 70 dollars. It depends on how much you’re willing to spend and how large you want the plant to be when you get it.
6. South America
Source: Cactus King
South America is often known for its rainy climate and plentiful plants. That’s why many people are surprised to learn that some cacti also come from this continent. These beautiful cacti hail from South America:
- Pineapple Dyckia
- Copiapoa humilis
- Consolea elata
- Ball Cactus
Because these tend to come from countries with more humidity, you may need to use more water for these plants than for other cacti. However, they are still relatively low-maintenance.
D. Where to Buy
Have you decided to add a cactus to your collection? You can find great options at these retailers: