5 Cactus Varieties That Make Great Houseplants

by Michele Klem Mazzoni 06/19/2022

If you’re interested in growing a cactus inside as a houseplant, there are many varieties that do well indoors. Similarly to their succulent relatives, most cacti do not need constant attention to thrive. Here are some of the best varieties of cactus to grow indoors as houseplants.

Bunny Ear Cactus

Also called the angel wing cactus, bunny ear cacti have a bright green color and an iconic branching growth pattern. Rather than long stems, this cactus grows rounded paddle-shaped leaves in small clusters of two or more. They make excellent indoor plants for a few reasons including their ease of care, cheerful yellow flowers and their lack of pointy spines. Bunny ear cacti have coarse hairs that make these plants more friendly than their sharper cousins.

African Milk Tree

The African milk tree is part of the euphorbia family of cacti that all grow well in common household conditions. These plants grow in clusters of towering branches that can grow up to 4 feet tall indoors. African milk trees have round leaves that sprout on the edges in between its thorns, ranging in color from bright green to deep red depending on the variety. It only needs water about twice a month and prefers partial shade, making it a houseplant you can grow and display in any room.

Barrel Cactus

Barrel cacti are sphere-shaped and covered in rigid golden spines. In the wild this cactus can live for decades and grow upwards of 10 feet tall, however, in containers indoors you’re unlikely to notice much growth unless you keep it for a lifetime in perfect conditions. Despite its slow growth, the barrel cactus makes a great houseplant for a sunny windowsill and is easy to find at nurseries and plant stores.

Moon Cactus

Moon cacti with bright yellow, orange, pink or red tops are the grafted results of combining a normal specimen with a mutated version. The mutation causes the beautiful colors, but it also means they lack chlorophyll and cannot live as long as other cactus varieties. That said, they make wonderful houseplants that add a pop of cheerful color to any space and have very low-maintenance care needs.

Christmas Cactus

The winter-blooming Christmas cactus enjoys being treated more like a tropical plant than a desert-dweller. Christmas cacti need regular watering and protection from direct sunlight that can burn their more delicate leaves. Christmas cactuses are extremely easy to propagate from cuttings or even broken pieces which makes them excellent gifts as well as attractive houseplants.

While many consider the cactus synonymous with hot and dry environments, they can thrive as houseplants in normal home conditions. No matter what climate you live in or what amount of attention you can give, there is a perfect cactus for your needs.

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Michele Klem Mazzoni

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