Discover the many types of cactus in a huge form that you will enjoy having in your garden for landscaping ideas.
If you’re looking for plants that you can put around your home that are easy to take care of, are resistant to drought, and don’t require lots of upkeep, then exploring different types of cactus is a great idea!
Cacti plants are incredibly popular among homeowners due to their affordability, ability to reduce water waste and usage, and their sheer beauty. If you fear that cacti plants will be difficult to choose from, don’t worry.
Below are some of the best types of cactus to place in your home. These types of cactus plants are good to decorate both the inside and outside of your home or garden and can save you money on water while giving your garden or home the beauty it deserves.
25 Types of Cactus Plants
Best Indoor Cactus Plants
1. Balloon Cactus
The balloon cactus species is one of the most popular choices for homeowners since it can be used for both indoor and outdoor uses. Ballon cactus species might do better indoors since they cannot tolerate the cold weather well. If you’re unsure of whether or not your specific cactus plant can be used indoors or left outside, you can check the USDA hardy zones to see if your cactus species can be left outside or indoors.
Balloon cacti are beloved for their short and chubby stature. They don’t have a lot of thorns and have unique and pronounced ridges that surround them. They might seem like the pumpkin of the cactus world, and they are popular for their ability to fit into virtually any landscape. You don’t need to water this cactus often, and it’s best to leave it indoors if you live in colder climates.
2. Old Lady Cactus
The old lady cactus is one of the most interesting types of cactus used today. You can use it both indoors and outdoors, and it will be beautiful in any environment. That’s because it produces precious pink flowers that decorate the top of their heads! As the bright pink flowers bloom, the old lady cactus takes on a life of its own!
This is becoming more and more popular for homeowners that want a less traditional plant from the cactus family. Use old lady cactus only if you don’t have pets, since their sharp white spines can be a bit of a hazard.
If you have well-trained pets, then it won’t be an issue to place your old lady cactus both indoors and outdoors.
3. Bunny Ear Cactus
Bunny ear cactus is another type of cactus species that is more and more popular with homeowners due to its low maintenance, beautiful decorative design, and also its ability to blend in well with a variety of other cactus species.
The bunny ear cactus will do well in a smaller pot, and it can be left both outdoors and indoors near a sunny window. However, owners should be aware that this type of cactus does have sharp spines on every single one of its little white dots.
These sharp spines, unlike other types of cactus, are much smaller and might be a bit more difficult to dig out of your skin if you just purchased this species. It’s best to keep it on top shelves away from smaller cats and dogs. Doing so guarantees that animals won’t knock it over, and you won’t be left to clean up the mess left behind from all the prickly spines.
What makes the bunny ear cactus such as great indoor cactus is also its wide availability. You can find it in a variety of different home goods stores, gardening stores, and major retailers like IKEA.
4. Pencil Cactus
The pencil cactus makes an excellent houseplant since it is a succulent that requires low moisture. You can keep it inside of a container, but make sure to put it on a sunny window sill directly facing the light.
This is a beautiful succulent that is known for its slender green stems that turn red at the tip. It does not flower, but red is a striking color that makes this a good choice for decorating indoors.
However, it is a new plant that you have propagated, low light conditions will work just fine. The only thing to make sure of is that there is little moisture and it is in a well-draining pot. An unglazed ceramic pot will work fine.
5. Rat Tail Cactus
The rat tail cactus is another type of popular indoor cactus species due to its ability to tolerate low humidity conditions, ease of availability, and its unique characteristics. That’s because the rat tail cactus can stand out among the rest due to its hanging stems that can be placed inside of an indoor pot. The rat tail cactus also has magenta flowers that add to its beauty.
While we don’t recommend placing this cactus directly on top of your bed, this is an excellent cactus that can be placed as a hanging decoration above stairwells, next to doorways, and anywhere else that you want to add a little bit of hanging decor.
To water this plant, it’s important to take it away from wherever it is hanging before placing the water, otherwise, you’ll be left with a puddle and mess. Fortunately, you don’t need to water this plant too often and can water it sparingly.
In addition, the rat tail cactus needs to be repotted once a year after its growing season. This is a plant that grows fairly quickly, so make sure you give it enough room in its new pot to make space for future growth.
6. Fairy Castle Cactus
Fairy castle cactuses are one of the best types of plants to be kept indoors . They require very little maintenance and are beloved for their tall height and rows of cactus plants that pack tightly together.
This is a night bloomer cactus, and it rarely produces any flower. However, for those that don’t want the maintenance of flowering plants, it’s important to know that, from time to time, it will produce large yellow flowers or large white flowers. This, it’s important to make space for the fairy castle cactus and use a large pot that can absorb moisture so your flowers will continue to bloom year in and year out.
The fairy castle cactus does well in hot weather and can be kept indoors so long as you put it in an area of the home that gets lots of sunlight. Some of the best places to put a fairy castle cactus include near a large bright window, near the door of your patio, and as a stand-alone plant near a foyer that receives lots of sunlight. Make sure not to overwater the fairy castle cactus as well, and keep it dry enough to where humidity won’t form around the cactus.
7. Moon Cactus
Moon cactus plants are a popular type of indoor species and are now found readily in major retail stores and home stores. They are one of the most colorful cactus plants since they produce a bulb at the very top that can range in colors from orange to red. These cacti make a great addition to any potted garden and are one of the most highly sought cactus varieties in recent times.
That’s because they are not only colorful but are also very easy to maintain. They require very little water and can be placed in small pots with well-draining soil. While they are colorful, it’s important to steer clear of the bulb that sits atop the cactus. They still have prickly spines that are dangerous if touched.
8. Sea Urchin Cactus
The sea urchin cactus species is a name for over 200 species found in the United States and Mexico! Sea urchin cacti come in a variety of shapes, but they are smaller than traditional cacti species.
They can be placed in well-draining pots, and should never be left to soak in water. Their rounded shape and minimal spikes with pronounced ridges make them the perfect accompaniment for your home or favorite bookshelf.
You should take your sea urchin cactus outside if possible. Mist it on occasion, and water thoroughly when first propagated. After that, there’s virtually no other care necessary for your sea urchin cactus.
9. San Pedro Cactus
The San Pedro cactus is what people think of when they think of indoor cactus plants. Shop at any garden center, and you’ll find this species of cactus readily available for the taking. They can range in size from as little as 4 to 8 inches to 30 inches. They are one of the most popular types of cactus today because they are easily grown indoors or outdoors.
In addition, they have a perfect round or bulb shape that makes it easy not just to grow, but also to propagate. These types of cactus plants don’t have too many spines on the outside of their hide, so it makes it easy for these cactus plants to be safely placed around pets.
Nowadays, there are many trends online that show people wrapping rubber bands around the San Pedro cactus to create unique shapes. We recommend not doing this unless you are highly experienced with creating different shapes of cactus, as you can still face injury from its many spines.
10. Golden Lace Cactus
The golden lace cactus is also known as the ladyfinger cactus. These are some of the most popular types of cactus plants for people that live in apartments or those new to caring for cactus plants. That’s because not only are they striking, but they are also fairly easy to maintain!
Watering the cactus should be a breeze, and you should stick to only watering once a week. For those that want a cactus that can do well on a window sill or in partial shade, this is also one of the best types of cactus for your household. They do better when placed on a window sill that gets lots of sunlight during the day, but if you must place them in a place that has partial shade, feel free to do so only for a short amount of time.
In addition, the ladyfinger cactus is beloved for its unique appearance. As the name suggests, this cactus is made up of a variety of finger-like plants that are wrapped tightly around and surrounded by brown spikes. The brown spikes give the golden lace cactus its name since it has the appearance of having a golden hue from afar.
If you’re a new cactus owner, then this will be the best indoor or outdoor plant to get you started. Make sure to keep this cactus as warm as possible, preferably away from temperatures less than 20 degrees Fahrenheit. Any other type of temperate will create a condition that is unfit for the ladyfinger cactus, and it will perish.
11. Christmas Cactus
At first glance, the Christmas cactus doesn’t appear like a cactus at all, but instead appears to be a regular houseplant! However, don’t be fooled. The Christmas cactus is one of the most popular types of cactus for indoor plant lovers for good reason. When it grows, the beautiful leaves from the Christmas cactus will droop down, producing the appearance of a weeping cactus or another type of plant that takes up lots of space but requires little maintenance.
This type of cactus also produces beautiful pinkish flowers or lilac flowers that have a tubular design and combine well in any household. The leaves are very unique, in that they appear as huge, plump green leaves that resemble a normal houseplant. What sets the Christmas cactus apart is that it does require a bit more maintenance than traditional cactus plants. That’s because you need to water this cactus more often than you would your other traditional types of cactus plants.
When the top 2 inches of soil feel dry, this is a sign that you need to water your cactus. Take a finger and place it into the top part of the soil. For instance, if there are four inches of the soil underneath the main plant, take your finger and place it halfway down the pot. When you feel the soil halfway down the pot is still wet, then it’s a good sign you don’t need to water your plant.
In addition, it’s good to know that these plants will flower closer to Christmas time, thus the name Christmas cactus. Make sure to keep a close eye during the holiday season to catch these flowers in their full glory!
12. Easter Cactus
The Easter cactus is very similar to the Christmas cactus. However, you’ll notice that its leaves are much thicker, and it comes in a smaller size than the traditional Christmas cactus. Nevertheless, it is a perfect indoor plant if you want a splash of color since it blooms closer to springtime and produces the same, beautiful pink trumpet-like flowers that the Christmas Cactus does.
However, the Easter cactus’s flowers will range to a much deeper red color than the traditional Christmas cactus. Upkeep is the same for this cactus, which requires ample watering to keep the soil lightly moist. Let the dry out slightly before watering again.
13. Powder Puff Cactus
The powder puff cactus is a beautiful type of plant that can do well in almost any condition. This type of cactus is small and does well in pots and containers indoors. With the powder puff cactus, the most important aspect of care will be light and water.
This is a plant that craves lots of sunlight, but doesn’t need to be watered all too often. In fact, like most cacti, it can be easy to overwater this plant. It’s recommended that you leave this plant in soil that has a bit of sand to get rid of excess moisture.
With minimal care, you can enjoy watching the pink flowers bloom atop the head of this gorgeous cacti species!
14. Saguaro Cactus
The saguaro cactus is one of the most recognizable of all cacti species. Its iconic shape which consists of two arms pointing upward are what make this cactus stand out in the desert heat. However, it doesn’t only grow outdoors, and can now be used as an indoor plant for your home!
The saguaro cactus does require water in order to flower. You should also make sure to provide it with liquid feed every 2 to 3 weeks. Besides that, this is one of the easiest desert plants to care for, and can be left facing a sunlit window for hours on end.
Best Outdoor Cactus Plants
15. Starfish Cactus
The starfish cactus is one of the most unique plants on this list, and for a good reason. First and foremost, these plants should only be grown outdoors or they can be grown inside of a greenhouse. When you find out why you might be hesitant to get this plant into your home. Nevertheless, there are lots of great uses for the starfish cactus.
The starfish cactus, as the name suggests, has a unique star-shaped design that sets it apart from any other cactus on our list. What else sets it apart? Well, when this flower blooms, it will open up revealing an almost teeth-like pattern on the inside of it. When the starfish cactus blooms, it has a horrendous odor that almost resembles rotting meat!
But, don’t worry. The starfish cactus is harmless and has been used by homeowners that have a fruit fly or other type of infestation. The starfish cactus will produce an odor that will attract these species, and therefore provide a solution if you find that these fruit flies are destroying your surrounding plants. Make sure to not overwater it, and keep it in humid dry environments either in your greenhouse or outdoors.
16. Star Cactus
Star cactus plants are one of the most unique types of cactus to dot your garden with! That’s because they are flat in the wild, and almost resemble a pizza or pie with the wedges that make up its design. These wedge sections meet in the middle, and the wedge lines are usually dotted with small white spikes to give them an amazing contrast.
You can expect the star cactus to flower during May, and they are some of the most interesting and varied species to come from the Americas. You can find the star cactus growing wild in Texas. However, they are now widely available for sale and use among cactus growers in the United States.
For those that want cactus plants that are flat to complete their garden, we highly recommend the star cactus. When the plant blooms, you can see it from afar, since the flower will grow directly on top and in the center of the star cactus. This is also a great conversation piece for those that want to wow their guests or those that want to be known as the neighbor with the most amazing types of cactus plants in their garden!
As far as flowering cacti go, this is also one of the best types of cactus since it produces flowers ranging from yellow to light pink.
17. Hedgehog Cactus
The Hedgehog Cactus is one of the most popular species of plants out there. That’s because they produce vibrant green flowers or even blood red and orange flowers! You can tell the hedgehog cactus apart by the edible fruits that grow atop its body along with the flowers.
The hedgehog cactus does well in outdoor arid environments and is native to both Mexico and the United States. The types of cactus have a globe-shaped cactus body, which makes them attractive to people that want both a traditional-looking garden while also having a pop of color produced by the pink and red flowers that line the top of this cactus.
The flowers sit atop a small arm-like protrusion, and they are shielded by several spikes. This is an easy cactus to maintain outdoors, since they require very little water and will need direct bright sunlight.
18. Pineapple Cactus
The pineapple cactus is one of the most unique types of cactus plants out there! Just one look at this cactus will let you know why its name is given to it. Some various small yellow fruits and flowers line the top of the cactus which resemble tiny pineapples!
The pineapple cactus is a bit rare to find in your local stores, but it is well worth the hunt. That’s because it can serve as both a combination piece and it can complete your garden if you’re looking for a bright color cactus that is easy to maintain.
The pineapple cactus should be watered sparingly. When it is initially planted into your garden, it’s okay to put a little bit of water around the soil so that it fits more easily into your garden. However, no watering should be done afterward. Until the weather warms up in the summertime, you can sit back and relax as you watch your pineapple cactus grow!
19. Bishop’s Cap Cactus
If you have a garden with rocky soils and need a cactus that will stand out among the rest, we recommend using the bishop’s cap cactus! This is a striking cactus that resembles the above-mentioned star cactus, but it is spineless! This makes it the perfect cactus for homeowners that have curious pets.
However, just because it doesn’t have spines or spikes doesn’t mean it’s any less beautiful. This cactus gets its name from the unique star-shaped design that resembles a bishop’s cap. It can be planted in rocky soil and does well in gravel too. If you have an indoor garden that is surrounded by gravel and pebbles, we also think the bishop’s cap cactus will do well here too.
What makes this cactus also beautiful is the small flowers that grow on top of the cactus in the middle. They look almost like daisies and can range in color from yellow to orange. If you want a cactus that is easy to maintain and serves as a great talking piece, then there’s no better option than the bishop’s cap cactus.
20. African Milk Tree Cactus
The African milk tree cactus is a type of cactus that is native to Central Africa. However, it is now widely available in the United States and is used mostly in outdoor settings. It can grow fairly quickly, making it a good choice for those that want full-bodied landscaping.
Its unique body shape consisting of a large body and leaves surrounding the areoles makes this one of the most coveted on our list.
Bright and indirect light is best for this plant. It will also need to be pruned often due to its small root system that is nothing in comparison to its height, which can grow up to 9 feet tall outdoors.
If placed indoors, make sure to have adequate drainage for the African Milk Tree Cactus. Different types of soil are well tolerated by this plant, so it’s a no-brainer for beginner gardeners!
21. Fishhook Barrel Cactus
The fishhook barrel cactus is one of the best species to grow outdoors, and it can live an astonishing 50 to 100 years! What makes this cactus so well-liked is its intimidating rounded barrel body.
However, it is also quite beautiful and can grow up to 6 to 10 feet tall. The fishhook barrel cactus will need to be watered when first planted. However, it’s fine to withhold water afterward and even after its blooming period. Covering the surrounding areas with pebbles or gravel is recommended.
22. Feather Cactus
The feather cactus might look a little bit intimidating to some, but its unique shape makes it one of the best cactus species to use to decorate your indoor space or your outdoor patio. This feather cactus has white flowers surrounding it and is known as a feather cactus because of the web-like material that surrounds it. We recommend researching whether or not the feather cactus can withstand outdoor temperatures in your area, since frost can easily develop within the feather-like areas on the outside of the cactus.
Like most other cactus species on this list, these are relatively low maintenance and don’t require a lot of water to keep alive. They can bloom in just about any condition, from full sun to partial shade. That’s because the feather-like flowers protect the plant from the sun and harsh conditions.
If you want a cactus that does well in a container garden, such as indoors, then the feather cactus is a good first choice. Make sure to buy a container that can hold the feather cactus comfortably and is dedicated to the single plant.
23. Cholla Cactus
Looking for an outdoor cactus to help protect the perimeter of your property? This is one of the best types of cactus plants to do so! Its dense spines, small yellow flowers, and twisted stems are what make the Cholla Cactus stand out among the crowd.
Their cactus flowers grow at the tips of the stem and are covered by a series of spines that twist and turn. They are also sometimes called jumping cactus, and they should only be grown by experienced gardeners! Make sure to not brush up on these flower cacti.
For care, leave them in bright, direct sunlight for hours. They are free-standing and will grow in just about any condition, making them the easiest, yet some of the most stubborn, cacti for outdoor gardens.
24. Prickly Pear Cactus
The prickly pear cactus is one of the most recognized plants in the United States and the Sonoran Desert. It produced edible fruits that are known as tuna, and they are a rich pink or magenta color!
The prickly pear cactus is best left outdoors, and it does well in extreme heat environments. If you’re looking for a plant that you can comfortably leave outside on your patio without having to worry about upkeep, then this is the best plant for your home.
If your home has coarse soil or if you live in a mountain area and want to preserve the beauty of the surrounding landscape, this is a beautiful cactus that can provide a pop of color without disrupting the nature around your area.
25. Golden Barrel Cactus
The golden barrel cactus, as the name suggests, is growing more and more popular and can be used for both indoor and outdoor gardens. However, we recommend using this mostly for outdoor purposes if you can grow it outside. The golden barrel cactus gets its name due to the many sharp thorns that line the outside of the cactus, which creates a yellowish color surrounding the cactus.
While the golden barrel cactus is still predominantly green underneath, the thorns give it that popular golden halo that so many homeowners want to complete the look of their garden. While this is a beautiful cactus and can be maintained easily, even in harsh and hot conditions, it’s important to know that the golden yellow spines that surround the cactus are extremely large and can be dangerous if tampered with.
Make sure to only use this cactus for your home if there is someone available to keep a close eye on pets and children that come close to the cactus.