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23 of My Favorite Indoor Cactus Types and Plants (Photos)

Who doesn't want to grow cacti indoors? I love the look of many different types of indoor cacti - both big and small. I like the fact that you can find small options that create decor elements throughout your home. This is my list of 23 favorite indoor cacti options. Photo examples included of course.

Collage of indoor cactus types and plants

I recently got into indoor cacti because my oldest son loves cacti and we bought him a terrific indoor cacti planter.  He diligently cares for it which is nice to see.  Of course, one benefit of enjoying indoor cactus plants is that they don’t require all that much care (compared to other plants and flowers).

Coming in all sizes, colors and shapes, cacti are a fascinating indoor plant option.  You can place one or several pots.  They fit in most interior design styles so they’re kind of a no-brainer.

How much do indoor cacti cost?

It varies.  You can get a single cactus with simple pot for under $10.  Or, you can buy an elaborate multi-cacti planter for over $100.  There are options at every price point in between.

Where can or should you place cacti inside your house or office?

It depends on how much sunlight they need and of course your preferences.  They can dress up any room including the kitchen, living room, home office, bathroom and of course bedrooms.  Small indoor cactus plants fit in nook and crannies while larger cacti planters can be showcased on shelves, tables, bay windows etc.

Keep in mind cacti generally need a lot of sunlight so wherever you put it, ensure it enjoys plenty of sunlight.

Having spent quite a bit time scouring the best indoor cactus options, I decided to publish this list of 23 I really like.

My 23 Favorite Indoor Cactus Types and Plants (alphabetical order)

Related: 100+ different types of cacti

1. African Milk Tree (Euphorbia trigona)

Euphorbia trigona. also known as African milk tree, cathedral cactus

  • Water needs: Water when top soil (1 inch) is dry.
  • Sunlight needs:  Plenty of sunlight.

These tall and narrow cacti grow tall and thrive indoors.  While a wild cactus in West Africa, many people like adorning their homes with these bright green cacti that are relatively easy to care for.

2. Aloe Vera

Aloe Vera

  • Water needs: Infrequently but when you do, water it plenty
  • Sunlight needs:  lots

Okay, okay, aloe vera is not a cactus but a succulent.  Nevertheless, I’m including it this list because I like it and it’s close.

Aloe Vera (26 types) is interesting because its common name is the same as its scientific name.  Actually, that’s not all that interesting, but I thought I’d point it out because I can imagine some people will comment below asking “what’s the scientific name of aloe vera?” LOL.

Aloe Vera thrives in pots and is a wonderful indoor succulent. It needs plenty of light which is why many homeowners place them next to a window such as a kitchen window.  I love the feel of these cacti – spongy and dense.

3. Angel Wings Cactus (Opunta albispina)

Opuntia microdasys albispina or angel wings cactus plant

  • Water needs: Regular watering.
  • Sunlight needs: Partial sunlight.

Angel wings cacti are one of my favorite looking cacti.  I love the thick pads that grow in random direction yet they take up a lot of space so that they’re very noticeable.  They’ll get to two to three feet in height and sometimes just as wide (which means you need plenty of space for these).

4. Barrel Cactus (Ferocactus)

Coral red needles of a cactus. Desert Barrel Cactus close-up

  • Water needs: Infrequently (low).
  • Sunlight needs: Lots.  Put near window.

5. Bishop’s Cap (Astrophytum ornatum)

Bishop's cap cactus

  • Water needs: Moderate water.
  • Sunlight needs: Quite a bit of sun, but can handle partial shade.

Bishop’s cap cacti are fierce-looking plants with long spikes growing on the edges of the pads.  These are small cactus plants growing no more than 100 cm in height.

6. Blue Columnar Cactus (Pilosocereus pachycladus)

BLUE COLUMNAR CACTUS (Pilosocereus pachycladus) 10 seeds

Click image to learn more.

  • Water needs: Weekly
  • Sunlight needs: Plenty of direct sunlight.

Talk about unique-looking cactus growing tall, thin and BLUE.  Outside these can grow to over 30 feet but obviously won’t get that tall indoors.

7. Bunny Ears Cactus (Opuntia microdasys)

Opuntia microdasys or Bunny ears cactus in plastic pot

  • Water needs: Low.
  • Sunlight needs: Lots of direct sunlight.

The bunny ears cactus grows two pads that are tall and thin looking like bunny ears (hence the name but you probably figured that out looking at the photo).

These beauties can grow up to two to three feet which is pretty cool. However, don’t be grabbing them with your hand because they are prickly (not spears mind you, but can puncture skin).

8. Burro’s Tail (Sedum morganianum)

Burro's Tail (Sedum morganianum)

  • Water needs: Lots – water regularly and deeply.
  • Sunlight needs: Lots of direct sunlight.

When I look at the burro’s tail, I’m reminded of a dense grapevine.

9. Chin Cactus (Gymnocalycium)

Chin Cactus (Gymnocalycium)

  • Water needs: Moderate. Let soil dry, but then water deeply.
  • Sunlight needs: Moderate sunlight. Indirect is good.

Chin cactus is kinda like ground cover and makes for great filler in a pot with taller cacti.

10. Fairy Castle Cactus

Fairy Castle Cactus

  • Water needs: Let soil dry but then water deeply.
  • Sunlight needs:  Plenty of direct sunlight.

Aptly names for it’s fairy tail castle like appearance (probably in reference to Neuschwanstein Castle).

11. Hens-and-Chicks (Echeveria elegans)

Hens-and-Chicks (Sempervivum tectorum or Echeveria elegans)

  • Water needs: Very little.
  • Sunlight needs:  Full sun.

I love these wee little cacti that look amazing in bunches.  They are small but pack a powerful appearance punch with their symmetrical dome shape and coloring.

12. Ladyfinger Cactus (Mammillaria elongata)

Mammillaria elongata (ladyfinger cactus)

  • Water needs: Very little water.
  • Sunlight needs:  Plenty of sun (direct).

Mmmmmh, I wonder how the ladyfinger cactus got its name.  It’s like a hand with manh fingers.

13. Mammillaria lenta cactus

The Mammillaria lenta cactus in pot

  • Water needs: Little.
  • Sunlight needs: Bright and plenty of sunlight.

The mammillaria lenta cactus doesn’t look real. It looks more like brambles or a bird’s nest.  Yet, somehow beautiful flowers peak out of that lifeless looking mesh of cacti.

14. Moon Cactus (Gymnocalycium mihanovichii)

Moon Cactus (Gymnocalycium mihanovichii)

  • Water needs: Water thoroughly then let it dry out.  Repeat.
  • Sunlight needs: Bright, indirect sunlight.

The moon cactus is an explosion of color like a bulbous sun sitting on a typical-looking cactus stem.

15. Old Lady Cactus (Mammillaria hahniana)

Old Lady Cactus (Mammillaria hahniana)

  • Water needs: Weekly.
  • Sunlight needs: Plenty of indirect sunlight.

The old lady cactus looks like a ball of cobwebs which to some people are unsightly but then it supports and grows lovely flowers.  What an interesting juxtaposition these cacti present in appearance.

16. Panda Plant (Kalanchoe tomentosa)

Panda Plant (Kalanchoe tomentosa)

  • Water needs: When soil dry, then soak the soil.
  • Sunlight needs: Direct, bright sunlight.

Oblong pads extrude from short stems creating a leaf-like appearance cactus – and that’s what succinctly describes the panda cactus.

17. Parodia cactus

Parodia cactus

  • Water needs: Moderate.
  • Sunlight needs: Indirect sunlight.

When you first look at the parodia cactus, it looks like yellow squash sitting on the ground.  But then when you look closer, you see the many barbs popping out everywhere creating a dangerous looking plant.

18. Pincushion Cactus (Mammillaria)

Pincushion Cactus

  • Water needs: Let soil dry out in between watering.
  • Sunlight needs: Plenty of sunlight.

Warning – keep the pincushion cactus away from anywhere you might sit.  This is a serious cactus when it comes to the barbs it grows.  Good luck handling this little spiky cactus.

19. Prickly Pear Cactus (Opuntia)

Prickly Pear Cactus (Opuntia)

  • Water needs: Little water (every couple to three weeks tops).
  • Sunlight needs: Lots of direct sunlight.

The prickly pear cactus is like a cactus growing on a cactus.  The radish-like colorful parts grow out of a large padded leaf-like body.  It’s kind of an ugly formation but definitely interesting to look at.

20. Rat Tail Cactus (Aporocactus flagelliformis)

Aporocactus Flagelliformis ~ Discocactus Flagelliformis ~ Stunning Rat Tail Cactus ~ Pink Flowers ~ 5 Seeds ~

Click image to learn more.

  • Water needs: Moderate to plenty April to November. Less December to March.
  • Sunlight needs: Bright light.

What a sight the rat tail cactus is. Long, snake-like extensions drape giving it an eery appearance which is offset by the many beautiful flowers it grows.  What a fierce wig such a cactus would make although I doubt it would be something you could tolerate on your scalp for long.

21. Snake Plant (Sansevieria trifasciata)

Snake Plant (Sansevieria trifasciata)

  • Water needs: Let soil dry then moderate water amount.
  • Sunlight needs: Indirect sunlight.

What’s up with the name?  Surely the rat tail cactus above is more apt for this name?  Yes and no.  The snake cactus derives its name not from the body of a snake but the wicked-looking tongues of snakes.  When you think of it like that you can’t mistake the snake tongue look of this otherwise majestic looking cactus.

22. Star Cactus (Astrophytum asteria)

Star Cactus (Astrophytum asteria)

  • Water needs: Little.
  • Sunlight needs: Lots.

These small bulbous cacti make for great indoor cacti because of the small size.  Grow them individually or you can put them in bunches in a pot.

23. Totem Pole Cactus (Pachycereus schottii monstrosus)

Totem Pole Monstrosus Cactus Weird NO SPINES 11" Tall Super Smokin' Deal! L2

Click image to learn more.

  • Water needs: Minimal.
  • Sunlight needs: Lots.

The totem pole cactus looks much like a long carved trunk.  It also kinda looks like a rock formation.  Its thick, ragged body reaches upward creating an almost grotesque form.

Pinnable Version

Wanna make your Pin board shine?  Pin the following collage of cacti – your readers will love it (I know because these collections perform really well).

Favorite indoor cacti collection of photos

Learn more:

Below is a list of excellent cacti and succulent reference sites where you can learn much more about cacti in general as well as more about the above.