The cactus is a prickly plant that will decorate your home with abstract and interesting shapes. Known for its iconic look, it’ll bring some serious character to your interior space.
There’s no doubt the indoor cactus is a very popular houseplant and will make a fantastic addition to your indoor jungle. But before we go any further, let’s clear up how we refer to these impressive botanicals. The official name for cactus is Cactaceae, derived from the Greek word ‘kaktos’ meaning ‘spiky plant’. The English dictionary lists both cacti and cactus as the plural meaning of these much-loved houseplants. So, don’t be afraid to use both when talking about them!
Anyway, moving on, let’s learn a bit about cacti and why they could be your perfect plant mate.
Where do cacti come from?
Imagine a cactus in its natural habitat… what do you see? If you’re thinking of a desert, you’re not wrong, but they can also be found across Canada, the US and the southern point of South America such as Patagonia. There are even some varieties in Africa and the Caribbean.
They are usually found in dry, arid regions and are used to living in drought and surviving intense desert heat. These impressive houseplants are perfect for newbie plant parents or people without much time to care for their botanicals because they don’t need much watering. In fact, it’s better to underwater cactus than overwater them.
Handling a cactus
Our first tip is to handle it with care! Not all cacti are prickly or barbed, but most houseplant cacti are. We would recommend popping your spiky friend on a high shelf or window sill that is out of reach of toddlers or pets, to avoid sore hands or paws. It’s also a good idea to wear gloves when handling your cacti or wrapping it in newspaper before picking it up.
Caring for a cactus
Cactus are very low maintenance botanicals and are perfect for newbie plant parents because they’re so easy to look after. However, it’s a bit of a myth that they don’t need any water. They do! But just the right amount. We’d recommend a little drink every 3-4 weeks, ensuring any excess water drains off. Draining water is super easy. Simply tip the cactus upside down over your sink (remembering to protect your hands) after you’ve given him some water, and let the water drain away.
We’d also recommend using specialist cactus soil as this will allow good drainage and won’t retain too much water. Knowing how to care for your cactus will keep him in better health and looking in tip-top condition.
Try to give your cactus more water in spring/summer and less over the winter months. It’s a good idea to allow the soil to completely dry out before watering him again.
Position in your home
Cacti love sunny, dry spots, so try to make sure you pop him a place that ticks those boxes. Window sills with low humidity are perfect. Generally, sunlight is important all year round. Make sure he is in the sunniest part of your home all year round. This can mean moving him 1-2 metres closer to a window in winter.
How your cactus will grow
All cactus plants have the ability to flower, but it’s important to know that flowers usually appear on fresh growth, which is why you may not always see flowers. There are a few things you can do to encourage fresh growth. Encourage your plant to follow a natural growth cycle. This means he must be dormant during the colder months and then reawaken in the spring. During the winter we’d recommend popping your prickly plant somewhere dry and cold (not dark) with no water. Then as we come into spring, move him into a sunnier spot and begin watering again.
Don’t worry, this isn’t going to be a list of names to call your cactus. It’s a quick look at the cacti varieties and nicknames out there at the moment. There are over 2,000 types of cacti, so we won’t go through all of them, but here are some of our favourites.
- Bunny Ear Cactus (Opuntia microdasys): originally from Mexico, this is one we stock and is so delightfully named. Its name is very fitting as some of the stems grow in a way that looks like adorable little rabbit ears.
- Mother-in-Law’s Cushion (Echinocactus grusonii): a round and sort of pouffe shape, we guess the person who named this one wasn’t on the best of terms with their partner’s mother. Also known as the golden barrel cactus, it is covered in ribs of sharp spines.
- Old Lady cactus (Mammillaria hahniana): another Mexican cactus, this is a pretty round variety that has very white or grey spines all over it. It also has a ring of pink flowers near the centre.
Favourite cacti in the range
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Mini Cacti Plant Family£46.00 View Product
Medium Cactus£14.99 View Product
Mini Cactus£7.50 – £10.99 View Product