Moon Cactus Kokodame

The 12 Best Cacti for your Home

Filling your home with a variety of plants is quite beneficial for both you and your household members. Among the advantages are beautiful sceneries, talking pieces, improved concentration, and air purification. But not all of us are as green with our thumbs. We may want to have an array of gorgeous houseplants but never can take care of them properly. That’s where the coveted cactus comes in.

Raising a plant indoors can be quite challenging. Fortunately, there are a number of cacti that will lessen your workload. Cacti are a good choice when it comes to houseplants due to their hardy nature. Killing off these floras is somewhat more difficult than your daisy, daffodil, or dahlia.

In this article, we will look at the best 12 indoor cacti kept for your home. The reasons for which they are so handy inside the home will be discussed as well as some basic information about each plant.

Without further ado, here are the top contenders for the best cacti that can be grown indoors happily.

 

1. Burro’s Tail (Sedum morganianum)

Indoor Cactus Burro's Tail

 
Family: Crassulaceae (Stonecrop family)
Genus: Sedum
Other Names: Donkey’s Tail
 
Native to Honduras and southern Mexico, this succulent is named for the thick stems that hang down, showing off the plaited leaves. Indoors, they typically grow to be about 10 centimeters long, though it may take them half a decade to get to this size.
 
Suitable Indoor Characteristics:
 
Light: The Burro’s Tail prefers an extensive amount of light, especially if there is partial sunlight.
Placement: The best spot for this plant is in a hanging basket in a window that faces the south.
Temperature: If your house sits anywhere between 10 and 16 degrees Celsius, which is about room temperature, it won’t be hard to keep this Sedum alive.
Humidity: Not all that picky, the Burro’s Tail just asks for a spot that isn’t too humid such as the bathroom or the kitchen.
Propagation: This plant is easy to propagate through the leaves themselves.
Non-toxic: Having a plant that isn’t poisonous to both pets and children is a plus for most indoor houseplants
 
Indoor Controversies:
 
Watering: Although it’s a cactus, over and under watering can be an issue. Make sure that the soil is saturated up to the top half-inch and let it dry out completely.
Fragile: If you have children that may be a little too handsy when it comes to plants, the Burro’s Tail may not be the right fit.
 
Potential Problems:
• Leaves turning yellow or wrinkled due to watering issues.
• Black spots forming along the leaves because of the sun. 

 

2. Bunny Ear Cactus (Opuntia microdasys)

Indoor Cactus Bunny Ear Cactus

 
Family: Cactaceae (True Cactus family)
Genus: Opuntia
Other Names: Angel’s wings, Polka-dot Cactus
 
The Bunny Ear Cactus, when thriving in the wild, is solely found in the central and northern regions of Mexico. The name is derived from the stems that show up in a pad-like morphology.
 
Along these stems are thin hairs, as opposed to the typical cactus spine. If you were to break down the species name, Microdasys means “small and hairy”. Fitting as they only grow to about two to three feet tall, at most.
 
Suitable Indoor Characteristics:
 
Light: Getting a fair amount of sun is not a problem for the Bunny Ear Cactus, even if it is bright and direct.
Placement: Choosing a windowsill or ledge that is south-facing will be the best move for this little cactus.
Temperature: Even if you have a house that gets a little cold, the Bunny Ear Cactus is quite resilient to a gradual increase or decrease.
Size: Slowly growing to be no more than 45 centimeters makes this a great candidate for a houseplant.
 
Indoor Controversies:
 
• Harmful: Although they aren’t toxic or poisonous, the small glochids, or hairs, found all over the pads can harm your pet if swallowed in large amounts.
• Soil: A little picky about the soil that they reside in, this species needs there to be more aeration than other members of this family.
 
Potential Problems:
• Root rot may show itself when too much moisture has been added.
• Brown splotches along the leaves may be due to inadequate temperature.

 

3. Blue Chalk Sticks (Senecio mandraliscae)

Blue Chalk Sticks Indoor Succulent

 
Family: Asteraceae (Daisy family)
Genus: Senecio
Other Names: Slender Leaf Senecio
 
Primarily found in South Africa, this succulent is loved for the finger-like leaves that take on a silvery-blue hue. They are relatively petite, reaching a maximum height of three or four inches in height.
 
As for width, they only spread out around two or three feet, making them easy to place in a small corner. During the summer months, you may even be able to see the elusive white flowers that take shape.
 
Suitable Indoor Characteristics:
 
Water: This plant does not need much water, as you would expect with a South African succulent. In fact, once a week is all you need.
Humidity: Again, moisture isn’t all that important for these succulents. It can do just fine in areas with too much or too little humidity.
Potting: The act of repotting seldom happens, making your life a lot easier when it comes to indoor plant care.
Placement: The ideal location for your Senecio is in a room that has plenty of direct sunlight. Just be sure to give it breaks every once in a while.
• Propagation: These individuals are easy to propagate through the simple act of leaf cuttings.
 
Indoor Controversies:
 
Soil: One picky characteristic from the Blue Chalk Stick succulent is the soil it resides in. Do your research and provide it with the right amount of drainage and organic material for the best results.
Light: Although being able to put your plant in direct sunlight is easy, they can also suffer from being overexposed.
 
Potential Problems:
• When the silver-blue leaves start to turn more purple, you may be giving your plant either too much or too little sunlight.
• Stems and leaves taking on a dark brown coloration generally are signs that your plant is experiencing root rot

 

4. Coral Cactus (Euphorbia lactea)

Euphorbia lactea Indoor Cactus

 
Family: Euphorbiaceae (Spurge family)
Genus: Euphorbia
Other Names: Mottled spurge, Elkhorn, Dragon bones, Candelabra spurge
 
With lots of names, the Coral Cactus is famously named for the fan-shaped growth that develops over the base. This green development makes it look as though it belongs under the sea.
 
In reality, this plant can be found in the tropical regions of Asia and India. The Coral Cactus grows to be about 9 to 15 inches in height, making it somewhat tall for a small plant.
 
Suitable Indoor Characteristics:
 
Soil: As far as where their roots reside, the Coral Cactus isn’t all that particular about the type of soil used.
Temperature: If your house has average temperature ranges, then keeping this Euphorbia happy shouldn’t be all too difficult.
Potting: Being quite little, the need to repot this plant is few and far between.
Placement: Putting this plant in a spot that has access to indirect, bright sunlight and plenty of airflow makes for the happiest Coral Cactus individual.
 
Indoor Controversies:
 
Poisonous: The Coral Cactus is indeed poisonous, and should be kept away from any pets or children. The sap itself can also cause skin irritation.
Water: The balance between over and under watering can be a challenging feat when it comes to this type of succulent.
 
Potential Problems:
• Small black spots showing up on the leaves are usually a sign that your plant has root rot.
• Brown patches can be due to a myriad of problems such as temperature, disease, or pests.

 

5. Desert Candle (Euphorbia acrurensis)

 
Family: Euphorbiaceae (Spurge family)
Genus: Euphorbia
Other Names: Cactus King
 
Native specifically to South and West Africa, the Desert Candle Cactus is a unique addition to your indoor plants. The stems are ribbed and slender, reaching up to the sky as a normal cactus does.
 
The difference is in the leaves, which are small, oval, and jutting out at a perpendicular angle from the stems. Even when grown indoors, this Euphorbia can reach five to eight feet in height.
 
Suitable Indoor Characteristics:
 
Soil: Some plants require you to carefully plan for the right pH levels. Not this cactus. They’re relatively easy going when it comes to the soil.
Placement: Choose a windowsill that receives a good amount of bright, indirect sunlight and watch how this plant leans in the direction of the sun.
Water: Infrequent watering is pretty common for this Euphorbia, making your life a lot easier.
Temperature: As long as there aren’t any cold drafts, your Desert Candle should be quite happy with how warm the room is.
Fertilizer: Less is more when it comes to these plants. If you’re unsure about how much to add, or when, you can forego giving your Desert Candle any at all.
 
Indoor Controversies:
 
Growth: As you might guess, the fact that this plant grows to be so large may be a problem. Consider how often you’ll need to repot so that it continues to thrive in your home.
Sunlight: Although more is better, you can burn the leaves if you’re not careful.
 
Potential Problems:
• The shriveling up of leaves is a sure-fire way of telling if you need to adjust your watering schedule.
• Root rot can be common for those who don’t give their Desert Candle the right soil and drainage. 

 

6. Echeveria ‘Curly Locks’

 
Family: Crassulaceae (Stonecrop family)
Genus: Echeveria
Other Names: None
 
This delicate succulent ranges from Mexico to Argentina in the tropical regions. Surprisingly, they can live in elevations upwards of 4,000 feet, making them a worthy contender for your indoor plants.
 
Echeveria is recognized by their seafoam colored leaves that grow in a rosette pattern. The edges of the leaves take on a pink hue, for an element of frilled decadence.
 
Suitable Indoor Characteristics:
 
Soil: As long as you choose a soil type that drains properly and can stay relatively moist, you shouldn’t have a problem.
Placement: Even though this plant is a succulent, it does not like a lot of sun. To make the most of this curly succulent, put it in a spot that has partial or light shading.
Water: Not adding a lot of water works in favor of the Curly Lock succulent.
Growth: Being around 12 inches tall and 10 inches wide, you won’t need to repot these individuals all that frequently.Indoor Controversies:
Humidity: Being from the tropics, this Echeveria needs to be properly saturated either through regular misting or a humidifier.
Potting: It’s true that you only need to repot these individuals every once in a while, though when you do, be extremely careful. The Curly Locks succulent is as fragile as it appears.
 
Potential Problems:
• The roots may shrivel up and become frail when the watering schedule is off.
• Leaves that develop black spots are an indication of sunlight issues. It also may be a sign that your Curly Locks has developed a fungal infection.

 

7. Fishbone Cactus (Epiphyllum anguliger)

Fishbone Cactus Indoor Cactus

 
Family: Cactaceae (True Cactus family)
Genus: Epiphyllum
Other Names: Moon Cactus, Zig-Zag Cactus, Ric Rac Orchid Cactus
 
Growing tall in the desert lands of Mexico, the Fishbone Cactus is somewhat untraditional in the way that it looks. Instead of sporting spines, as most members of Cactaceae do, this species has leaves that zig and zag. They are also smooth, and won’t prick you. They generally reach about five inches in length and six inches in width.
 
Suitable Indoor Characteristics:
 
Placement: Putting these individuals in a southward facing window that has indirect or medium-light exposure is best.
Water: A useful attribute to the Fishbone Cactus is the fact that it does not need a whole lot of water.
Temperature: The average household can happily keep this species of cactus, just as long as there are no sudden drops.
Fertilizer: This Epiphyllum does sprout flower buds during the right seasons, and you don’t necessarily need to give additional food in order to do so. Just keep in mind that these flowers only last for a day or two at most.
Potting: The best pots for these individuals are baskets or unglazed pots. Fortunately, you don’t need to repot these plants all that often.
 
Indoor Controversies:
Soil: Not as hardy as their cactus counterparts, the Fishbone Cactus is somewhat picky as to what soil it is placed in.
Humidity: Be mindful of how much moisture you need to add to this type of cactus.
 
Potential Problems:
• Branches that shift to a yellow or off-white color generally show you that the plant is uncomfortable with the existing temperature.
• If you need to handle a Fishbone Cactus, do so carefully as they are quite fragile. 

 

8. Moon Cactus (Gymnocalycium mihanovichii)

Moon Cactus

 
Family: Cactaceae (True Cactus family)
Genus: Gymnocalycium
Other Names: Ruby Ball, Red Cap, Red Hibotan, Hibotan Cactus
 
A South American inhabitat, the Moon Cactus is popular amongst plant enthusiasts for the flowers that sprout out the top. These can range anywhere from red, orange, pink, to yellow.
 
The stems are somewhat typical for a cactus, standing at about six to 12 inches tall. The Moon Cactus has been deemed a beginner-friendly plant due to how easy it is to keep happy and healthy.
 
Suitable Indoor Characteristics:
Water: These individuals do better when given not enough water rather than not enough. This makes keeping your indoor plant alive much more easily.
Humidity: Misting and the addition of a humidifier are all that the Moon Cactus needs in order to remain happy.
Temperature: As with most members of Cactaceae, these plants will adjust to just about any temperature range, as long as there isn’t a sudden drop.
Potting: This Gymocalycium is smaller than most other members of cacti, meaning that you don’t need to repot as often.
 
Indoor Controversies:
 
Soil: Too high of a pH and this plant can become quite stressed out. Be mindful of what will help these Cymnocalyciums thrive before putting it into just your average soil.
Light: One tricky aspect to the Moon Cactus is that different parts of the plant like separate intensities of sunlight. The lower half of the cactus does better when exposed to direct sunlight, while the top half prefers shade.
 
Potential Problems:
• Rotting can be shown when the stems turn a dark brown shade.
• Yellow, on the other hand, is either the result of overwatering or an issue with light exposure. 

 

9. Old Man Cactus (Oreocereus trollii)

Old Man Cactus

 
Family: Cactaceae (True Cactus family)
Genus: Oreocereus
Other Names: Old Man of the Andes
 
Found along the dry regions of Argentina and Bolivia, the Old Man Cactus was named for a reason. The small white hairs give off the impression that this cactus has an old man’s beard.
 
These hairs fully envelop the columnar stems and act as a protector from the heat. Lying underneath, are a good amount of yellow spines.
 
Suitable Indoor Characteristics:
 
Light: If you have a room with moderate sun exposure, then having a happy Old Man Cactus shouldn’t be all that difficult.
Water: Forget to water your plants? That’s just fine when it comes to this plant. The Old Man of the Andes is relatively simple as far as a watering schedule goes. Just be careful not to add too much.
Temperature: Unless there is a cold draft in your home, this species is easy to keep alive and well.
• Humidity: Some plants require additional moisture. These individuals don’t require any further misting beyond the water that you add to the soil.
Fertilizer: The beautiful flowers that sprout in the summer months don’t need any help at all.
Potting: Many plant owners associate the word “slow-growing” with the Old Man Cactus. Sounds quite fitting, given the name. Because of this, you don’t really have to worry too much about repotting.
 
Indoor Controversies:
 
Harmful: At first glance, this cactus may look soft enough to touch. Keep any members of the household from petting this Old Man as the hairs are irritation to the skin and can quickly become embedded.
Soil: Having a soil that drains properly is a must for this cacti. Compared to other members of Cactaceae, further research must be provided before choosing the most adequate soil medium.
 
Potential Problems:
• Although these plants grow quite slowly, in the event of a sparsely haired individual, there may be an underlying issue involving pests.
• The stem may turn brown and soggy if rotted through.

 

10. Prickly Pear Cactus (Opuntia vulgaris)

Opuntia Vulgaris Indoor Cactus

 
Family: Cactaceae (True Cactus family)
Genus: Opuntia
Other Names: Sabra, Paddle Cactus
 
Surprisingly, the true native habitat is somewhat unknown, they likely first were found in regions of Mexico, South America, Australia, and South Africa.
 
Taking on more typical cactus morphology, these individuals sport paddles with long spines. The leaves themselves are quite small and actually fall off during the right seasons, making them deciduous. Bright yellow flowers erupt from the tips of the paddles.
 
Suitable Indoor Characteristics:
 
Location: Placing them in an area of the house that has direct sunlight will help with the development of fruits and flowers. A general rule of thumb is a south or west-facing window for the best results.
• Easy to propagate, these individuals can be duplicated from either the seeds or the pads themselves. Most choose to propagate through the seeds.
Water: On par with most members of Cactaceae, you shouldn’t have to worry about not adding enough water. Instead, focus on how adequately the water can be drained out the bottom.
 
Indoor Controversies:
 
• This plant is susceptible to being root bound, meaning that you should likely repot it once you start to see any signs of slower growth.
• Overwatering is quite common for the Prickly Pear Cactus. Be mindful of how much water you’re adding and let the plant dry out between sessions.
 
Potential Problems:
 
• Root and stem rot are a common issue for these plants.
• Fungal diseases can quickly infect and kill members of Cactaceae if not treated properly. Look for black splotches as a precursor. 

 

11. Star Cactus (Astrophytum asteria)

Star Cactus Astrophytum asteria

 
Family: Cactaceae (True Cactus family)
Genus: Astrophytum
Other Names: Sand Dollar Cactus, Sea Urchin Cactus
 
You may have noticed a theme with the common names chosen for this cacti. That’s because it resembles a starfish that you would find at your local tide pool.
 
Instead, the desert regions of Texas and Mexico tend to grow native individuals. The main body of this species is round with ridged sides that sport small clusters of hairs. They only grow to a height of two to six centimeters, making them quite small.
 
Suitable Indoor Characteristics:
 
Water: The best recipe for this starfish-shaped cactus is to add water when water is needed. They are quite easy to please, even when given relatively low levels of water.
Soil: The average soil mix should be more than enough for this cactus.
Fertilizer: Are you unsure about the act of fertilizing your plants? Then don’t worry about it. The Star Cactus doesn’t really need this step in order to survive.
Propagation: If you want to go ahead and make new plants from the old, then propagating through seedlings is the way to go. Fortunately, this is one of the easiest ways in which to do so.
Temperature: Relatively average in their temperature requests, the Star Cactus can withstand lower temperatures when compared to other members of Cactaceae.
 
Indoor Controversies:
 
• Under watering, though quite difficult will make them turn brown and unappealing for any visitors to see.
• Direct sunlight is a must for the Star Cactus. If you don’t have an adequate place with these requirements met, consider buying an indoor LED plant light.
 
Potential Problems:
 
• Even though these plants are quite small, they do require repotting. Without it, they run the risk for dying.
• If you notice small white fuzz coating the main body of this species, be on the lookout for mealybugs. 

 

12. The Blue Hens and Chicks (Echeveria glauca)

Echeveria Glauca Indoor Succulent

 
Family: Crassulaceae (Stonecrop family)
Genus: Echeveria
Other Names: Old Hens and Chicks
 
Individuals of the family Crassulaceae are native to the semi-desert regions of Mexico, South America, and Central America. If you were to break down the scientific name, “glauca” means “blue” in Latin.
 
This name fits quite well since the blue rosette is made up of various clusters. These colonies contain hundreds of plants within one individual. This species essentially looks like a leathery desert rose.
 
Suitable Indoor Characteristics:
 
Water: One perk to owning a Blue Hen Cactus is that they are drought tolerant. If you forget to water them, don’t fret, as they’ll quickly grow back.
Temperature: This species of cactus can survive a larger of temperatures than most, making them ideal for a home setting.
Placement: Those who want a petite plant to sit in the windowsill that gets a lot of sun can rely on this Echeveria.
Propagation: Making a new individual from the old is easy through the act of leaf cuttings.
Fertilizer: Adding food, even during the growing season, is not needed or recommended.
 
Indoor Controversies:
 
Maintenance: The bottom half of these plants quickly become riddled with dead leaves that need to be removed to prevent the infestation of pests.
• Soil: The pH level and soil type are important considerations to make before taking care of a Blue Hen Cactus.
 
Potential Problems:
• The shriveling, wilting, or dropping of leaves may all be signs of a poor watering schedule that needs to be modified.

 

The 12 Best Indoor Cacti for your Home

Download Infographic