Today's Gardener (todaysgardener.com) participates in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program.
Few forms of plant life can create such an iconic floral display with so little effort as cacti. They are categorized as succulents because they have the ability to store water inside their bodies and use it during dry seasons. The best thing about cacti is that they can be displayed in myriad different ways.
In separate, decorative containers, floral arrangements, shared containers, sand terrariums, indoor window boxes, or even cans, small cups, or in outdoor gardens – they always create talking points. Cacti are indoor sun-loving plants that need perfect drainage and fast-draining cactus soil with the addition of sharp sand or grit. Water every ten days during the hottest part of the summer and cut off water in autumn to force dormancy. Most are toxic and not safe for children. Cacti come in a variety of shapes, sizes, textures, and colors and they all have a strong character. Here is a list of 64 gorgeous cactus plants to try cultivating in your indoor garden and tips on how to care for them.
TIP: Balance warm, cool and green tones and limit yourself to one color palette for a powerful statement.
64 cactuses with flowers
Euphorbia milii – Crown of Thorns
This is a dense, shrub-like cactus differently called Christ thorn that doesn’t look like cactus at all. It has clusters of small, oval green leaves and small flowers that resemble petals in pink, red, or white. Poisonous if ingested.
Cultivation: Plenty of light each day with the addition of grow lights. Cactus soil. Temperature between 16 and 24 degrees C.
Austrocylindropuntia subulata – Eve’s Needle
Native to South America, this succulent cactus has cylindrical green leaves, yellow spines, and bright red flowers that emerge from the tips of the leaves during the summer.
Cultivation: It is self-sufficient in the home, needing watering once a week during the summer, plenty of light.
Echinocereus coccineus var. inermis– Spineless Hedgehog
This is a cold-hardy species with medium-green skin and scarlet red flowers. It produces flowers in mid-spring to early summer. Unfortunately, it is considered an endangered species in the wild and usually grown from seeds. There can be clusters of even 50 stems with a scarlet cup on top.
Cultivation: Full sun and well-draining soil are a must.
Astrophytum ornatum – Monk’s Hood
Another desert cactus flower with the same care as Opuntia is a small cactus that has a round shape, long and thin yellow spins on the ribs, and a yellow flower on top.
Cultivation: Temperature of 13-29 degrees C, bright light, and cactus compost.
Rhipsalis spp. – Mistletoe Cacti
Another one of those cactus plants that grow best in a hanging basket where their cascading growth habit can be fully appreciated. Their flowers are followed by red or white mistletoe-like berries, hence the name. The stems photosynthesize and can be smooth or hairy, pencil-thick, or very thin.
Cultivation: Grow them in a soilless mix and indirect light. Too much or too little water will damage the plant, so wait for the top inch to feel dry.
This is a beautiful purple and green cactus with short, black spines and eye-catching magenta flowers.
Cultivation: Full sun and light shade in summer, water when the top 1 cm is dry, and reduce watering after summer.
Pilosocereus pachycladus – Blue Torch Cactus
This is a small desert cactus with cylindrical vivid sky blue stems and orange-white hair and short yellow spies. Nocturnal flowers are white or red in summer. A real show-stopper. Make sure you have enough space before you buy it.
Cultivation: Full sun, cactus, or loam-based compost with grit, reduce watering to once a month in autumn.
Opotunia microdasys -Bunny Ears Cactus, Polka Dot Cactus
It is a long-time favorite among collectors and beginners. It has a polka-dot pattern and oval stems that appear in pairs like rabbit’s ears. Its pickles can irritate the skin, though. Yellow flowers also appear and red fruits.
Cultivation: Keep the minimum temperature at 10 degrees C, full sun all year, take cuttings to propagate. Check for any sign of inadequate care such as poor growth and use artificial light to save the plant in that case.
Melocactus matanzanus – Turk’s cap Cactus
One of the smallest species, this cactus flowers when young. It has starry white and brown spines and small rose-pink flowers. Buy one in flower if you want to be sure it will bloom.
Cultivation: 12-30 degrees C, moist compost from late spring to late summer, shade in summer. Always search for types that have already produced flowers.
Matucana aurantiaca – Orange matucana
It has light green stems, red spines, and orange-red flowers, making it altogether a dazzling display.
Cultivation: Light shade in midsummer, cactus fertilizer at half strength, loam-based compost, or cactus compost.
Lophophora williamsii – Dumpling Cactus
The stems of this cactus multiply and make clusters that produce pale pink flowers. Plant it in a deep pot.
Cultivation: Full sun and light shade in summer. Water well in summer, water sparingly in spring and autumn. Address any issue with pests immediately.
Hatiora Gaertneri – Easter Cactus
You’d easily guess why this plant is called so. It produces green trailing stems and starry scarlet, orange or pink flowers which last for weeks. Plant it in a hanging basket.
Cultivation: Keep temperature 7-24 degrees C, position in the bright indirect sun, moderately high humidity, a half-strength balanced fertilizer in spring and summer.
Ferocactus maccrodiscus – Candy Cactus
The candy cactus produces a low-wide, domed stem with grey-green ribs, curved and cream-colored spines, and large white or pink striped flowers in spring. Other varieties of Ferocactus are also available and their nicknames are long-spined barrel cactus, ford barrel cactus, fire barrel cactus, or coast barrel cactus.
Cultivation: They all require full sun and some shade in summer, keep dry in late autumn to late winter, use soil-based compost, sand, and perlite and sow from seed.
Echinopsis subdenudata “Tufty” – Easter Lily Cactus
This is a dainty gray-green cactus, almost spineless, or has very short spines so it is safe for children. It produces white flowers from late spring to late summer, sweetly fragrant.
Cultivation: Water minimally in autumn and keep dry in winter.
Echinopsis chamaecereus – Peanut Cactus
This cactus variety forms clusters of finger-like, ribbed stems and soft spines. First, they grow upright but then trail, so they can be grown in a small hanging basket. Flushes of large, bright red flowers appear in spring and summer.
Cultivation: Use a half-strength high-potash fertilizer in summer, take offsets and check for mealybugs.
Echinocereus viereeckii -Hedgehog Cactus
This is a cactus that forms dense clusters of bright apple-green stems and yellow spines, accompanied by large, funnel-shaped magenta flowers.
Cultivation: Full sun and some shade in summer, inspect regularly for insects, and avoid root rot.
Echinocereus reichenbachii – Lace Hedgehog Cactus
This is a small and cylindrical species with dark green stems almost obscured by its brown, black, pink, or white curved spines that appear to form a lacy design. Large purple or pink flowers with a sweet fragrance appear at the top of the stems in summer or spring.
Cultivation: Provide a little shade in midsummer. Use a cactus fertilized once a month from spring to autumn.
Echinocactus grusonii – Golden Barrel Cactus
With its colorful prickly stems, this plant makes an exciting, textured feature. It has pale green ribbed globes with short yellow spines. Small yellow flowers are often unnoticed. It is a solitary species and you should wear gloves when handling it.
Cultivation: Grow it from seeds. Prone to root rot. Check for aphids and scale insects.
Coryphantha macromeris – Big Needle Cactus
Native to Mexico, this cactus is easy to grow and a great choice for beginners. It has short, spiky stems, long and brown spines, and daisy-like, bright rose-pink or magenta flowers.
Cultivation: Maintain temperature at 5-30 degrees C, plant in cactus compost and water when the top 3 cm of the soil is dry.
Copiapoa hypogaea – Underground copiapoa
This plant is native to Chile and has low-growing dimpled stems that partially grow beneath the soil to protect themselves from the sun. It has golden-yellow scented flowers that appear in summer.
Cultivation: Use a half-strength high-potash fertilizer once a month in spring and summer.
Cleistocactus winteri – Golden Rat’s Tail
This is an amazing and unique species with long, trailing stems and coral tubular flowers. It is perfect for a large pot or a hanging basket.
Cultivation: Full sun and some shade. Sow seed or take stem cuttings. Prone to rotting.
Acanthocereus tetragonus “Fairy Castles”
Fairy-castle cactus has bright green ribbed stems that form small clusters. Short creamy-white bristles produce a decorative striped pattern down the stems. The nocturnal white to yellow flowers rarely appear in indoor conditions, at least not until the plant is large.
Cultivation: Provide full sun, and shade in summer. Keep dry in winter. Use a granular fertilizer in spring.
Ferocactus latispinus – Devil’s Tongue
This is a spiky cactus that has a plump, round stem covered with thick, red spines, giving the plant its name. Cream spines combine with them to form a ball of colorful spies. Purple or yellow flowers appear in late summer.
Cultivation: Low humidity, filtered sun and repot annually.
Discocactus flagelliformis – Orchid Cactus, Rat Tail Cactus
This cactus is real fun – no way it is called disco. It has flat and thin stems and red, funnel-shaped flowers in spring, making the plant ideal for hanging baskets.
Cultivation: Water regularly from spring to early autumn. Moderate humidity and occasional misting is advisable.
Cereus forbesii – Peruvian Apple Cactus
This species has gray-green stems covered with brown spines and large, scented white or pink flowers in summer. They open at night and close at dawn.
Cultivation: Filtered sun, low humidity, and fertilizing once a month.
Cephalocereus senilis – Old Man Cactus
This tiny guy is covered in fine white hairs that resemble an old man’s beard and it will definitely create a talking point. It produces red, yellow, or white flowers, but very rarely.
Cultivation: Filtered sun, low humidity, temperature of between 10-26 degrees C.
This genus includes over 200 species often nicknamed Wart Cactus and grows many crown-shaped flowers. Some of those species are:
Mammillaria elongata “Pink Nymph”
Pink Nymph forms a family of longer cacti, that’s why it is named so. It is a small clumping cactus, easy to grow and propagate, so it is great for beginners. Each one of them bears stunning pink flowers, especially in spring and fall. Mammillaria elongata var.albispina is another common type with its golden spines and small pale yellow flowers.
Cultivation: Check when the top of the soil dries out, then give plenty of water about 4 days later. Water it less in midsummer.
Mammillaria prolifera multiceps
This species produces shorter cacti family adorned with yellow flowers.
Cultivation: Place next to a west window, sheltered from the rain.
Mammillaris pulmosa – Feather Cactus
Feather Cactus is a little deceiving species. Soft and fuzzy at first glance, but it certainly has spines that quickly stick in your fingers. It generally blooms in spring and has white flowers.
Cultivation: Plant it in a deeper and larger pot since you won’t be able to water it if it fills the entire container. Provide full sun to partial shade.
Mammillaria rhodantha – Rainbow Pincushion
When in full bloom, this cactus has a ring of bright pink flowers around the top. It is very easy to grow and it thrives indoors with minimal care.
Cultivation: Partial shade, minimum watering outside the active season, and cacti mix.
Mammillaria gracilis fragilis
This cactus adds a lot of visual interest to an arrangement because it is a small and clumping variety of more than 30 small cacti. Only a few have sharp spines and some don’t have them at all. The flowers are daisy-like, white with a yellow center. It offsets quickly, grows well indoors and it is easy to take care of.
Cultivation: Water moderately and provide some full sun, partial or light shade.
This is a cactus flower with white spines and dark pink blooms.
It has round and squat shape and a large flower with a pink striped pattern.
Mammillaria polythele f. nuda
It has pink flowers and a knobbly appearance of most pincushion cacti.
Mammillaria saboe subsp. haudeana
It looks like a double cactus. It produces pink flowers that look like shooting stars.
Mammillaria hahniana -Old Lady of Mexico
This is a fluffy species with short spines and smaller pink flowers. Its hair can cover the entire body. Never wet the spines.
Mammillaria carmeneae – Carmen pincushion cactus
It has small globes covered with soft white spines and yellow-centered white or pink flowers.
Mammillaria magnimamma – Mexican Pincushion
This is unique-looking cactus because of its long, curved spines. The flowers are white or cream with red veining.
Mammillaria spinosissima cv “Un Pico”
This is a hybrid species with long, straight white spines and pink flowers in the center, at the top of the cactus. It is a hybrid form, resilient and easy to grow
Mammillaria humboldtii var. caespitosa
This is a slow-growing succulent that forms clusters of small cacti and large, dark pink flowers. The white spines are little and delicate.
This one is unusual because it produces golden flowers on top of yellow spines and grows white hair in between its warts.
Cultivation: Place mammillarias in well-lit positions, with plenty of sunlight and adequate watering. Vulnerable to rot in summer, so be sure their space is well-ventilated. Decently resilient to cold.
This cactus has long silver spines and multiple beautiful orange flowers. It grows offspring in clusters, so allow them adequate space to grow.
Cultivation: Plenty of water and place in a well-lit spot.
As its name implies, it originates from Brazil. It is round and fat as a ball and covered in soft white spines. It produces beautiful, bright orange flowers and looks especially stunning if planted with other cacti.
Cultivation: Place it in a well-lit, well-ventilated spot. Vulnerable to rot in summer and aphids. Kept indoors, their flowers are of poor quality. So keep them in a sunny spot year-round.
Opuntia species – Prickly pear, Paddle Cactus
These species have pads that are flat and usually rounded. The spines are small, but they are dangerous. The flowers do not appear until the cactus has grown significantly.
Cultivation: Plenty of sunlight, enough water. They grow vertically if not given enough light and they droop and become shriveled if they lack water.
Opuntia microdasys var. albispina – White Bunny’s Ear
Angel Wings or Bunny Ears makes a strong and charming presence in a collection with its white and fluffy spines that can be dangerous and difficult to remove. The spines can be either white (Angel Wings) or yellow (Bunny Ears). It produces oval-shaped, flattened green stems dotted with spines that resemble bunny’s ears. The flowers are yellow and bowl-shaped with white rims.
Cultivation: Position in light shade in the peak of the summer and water when the soil is almost dry. Lean on the drier side with watering in autumn. Keep in a square pot filled with neutral color stones for better contrast to shape and visual effect.
Echinocereus pentalophus – Lady Finger Cactus
Otherwise known as Ladyfinger Cactus, it produces magenta flowers that develop in abundance so it makes up for blooming for only a few weeks. The blooms are followed by edible green fruits. It grows erect, finger-like, and tightly grouped stems with sharp white spines along the ribs. Display in a hanging basket.
Cultivation: Water more often after flowering. Place in a well-lit spot.
Echinocereus rigidissimus – Rainbow Cactus
Rainbow Hedgehog is a very popular curly type prized for its dark and purple spines that cover its body so it looks almost purple. Vivid purplish-pink flowers appear in spring and grow quite large.
Cultivation: Provide good ventilation, water regularly, and provide plenty of sunlight.
Eriocactus leninghausii – Lemon Ball
Yellow Tower or Lemon Ball has bristly golden spines and a lovely yellow flower once it reaches its cylindrical shape.
Cultivation: Strong and slow-growing, it needs enough sunlight and regular watering.
This cactus species blooms multiple deep orange flowers and is used for breeding with other cacti. Also, it has a short, slender, and wriggling form. Resistant to cold and hot weather.
Cultivation: It appreciates sunlight but also cool climate during winter., Allow it to rest and give very little watering during winter.
This cactus has long, white, needle-like spines and pink flowers that are very beautiful. It has the ability to self-pollinate.
Cultivation: Provide strong sunlight to encourage healthy color and spines. Water regularly because the spine color fades if it is too dry.
Another species with strong spines, but they have a gradient color that goes from white to red. The flower blooms only for two days – such a pity.
Cultivation: Vulnerable to rot in summer, so keep it in a well-ventilated spot.
Gymnocalycium mihanovichii var. friedrichii cv. “Hibotan Nishiki”
This is an amazing variation of the Moon Cactus with spots and red to brown color. The reason for the red color is the loss of the original pigment due to mutation. It produces wonderful flowers.
Cultivation: Water regularly.
Gymnocalycium baldianum – Chin Cactus
Chin cactus has lovely deep green skin and amazing spines. What’s more, it produces magnificent flowers in white to pale pink, hot pink, scarlet or purple. Such an amazing sight to have in your collection.
Cultivation: Water regularly all year round to make sure the skin stays the same.
Also called Parodia scopa, this cactus has a beautiful round shape covered in fluffy white hair and spines that can be red or white. It grows faster than other Notocactus species, without releasing seedlings. It also forms an amazing flower at the top.
Cultivation: Very hardy and strong. Enough sunlight is all it needs and fertilize it after the flowering season.
Astrophytum myriostigma – Bishop’s Cap
This species is filled with tiny white stars that the plant looks solid white in color. It grows in a vertical, miter-like shape that has earned it the nickname “Bishop’s Cap”. It produces a large yellow flower in the center in early summer.
Cultivation: Good ventilation, bright sun, and minimum watering in the winter months.
Echinofossulocactus multicostatus – Wave Cactus
Beyond compare. Inspiring awe and admiration.
Members of this genus are also called Wave Cacti or Brain Cacti because of their shape. They originate from Mexico. As for this species, it blooms purple striped flowers during spring and can grow large enough to upstage the plant’s charming green body.
Cultivation: Easy to grow and very strong. Place in a well-lit spot and water regularly all year long.
This unusual species expands in a plump shape and you can’t but wonder how it feels like when you touch it. The skin is pale green and hairy in the middle. If the hair is fluffy enough, it will produce flowers.
Cultivation: Give good ventilation to prevent rot. It is tolerant of light shortages.
This is one of the most commonly grown cacti in cultivation that’s is it hardly believable that it doesn’t have a common name. It is a cylindrically shaped succulent with 5-8 sharp ribs lined with yellow spines. These scales on the ribs are small, white, and arranged in various, interesting patterns. It produces yellow flowers, grows to be 40 cm high and 15 cm wide. It grows in zones 10-11.
Cultivation: Full sun, porous soil, and very minimal watering. Propagate from seed.
Astrophytum asterias – Sea Urchin Cactus
Also known as Sand Dollar Cactus, this is a grayish-green, spineless cactus with smooth and vertical ribs, white areoles, and covered with fine white scales. The star of the show is yellow flowers with orange-red centers. It grows no more than 8 cm high and 10 cm wide. It grows in zones 10-11.
Cultivation: It appreciates porous, alkaline soil and full sun. Keep fairly dry except during the rich, growing season. Graft the top onto a hardier cactus.
Schlumbergera truncata – Christmas Cactus
Christmas Cactus or Thanksgiving Cactus- these succulent cacti is called so because it is frequently purchased around that time when it normally blooms. Pink, red and white are the most common varieties, as well as orange and yellow. It makes a stunning contrast in a pastel yellow pot. So adorable!
Cultivation: Keep in light shade and water your Christmas cactus infrequently. Provide filtered sun, moderate humidity, and apply a balanced liquid fertilizer monthly until early autumn.
This species has an adorable little shape and relatively soft spines, so they have enchanted everyone even outside the usual cacti enthusiasts. It produces offsets and grows in clusters. They awaken in early spring and produce lots of little pink flowers.
Cultivation: If the end of your cactus plant is pale green, it lacks sunlight. Mix akadama, mulch, and kanuma soil and sprinkle in some granulated fertilizer.
Gymnocalycium mihanovichii – Moon Cactus
This is one of the most beautiful cactus flowers blooming in summer and spring. It originally comes from Japan and now has become popular around the world. This cute and colorful cactus comes in a variety of hues, including red, pink, and yellow. It doesn’t contain chlorophyll, so you need to graft it onto another cactus. This is because it takes nutrients from the stock plant. The flowering period is in April and May. It is very hardy and slow-growing.
Cultivation: Do not overexpose it to direct sunlight. Give the plant water after the soil has dried, about twice a month.
Originating from northern Mexico, this compact cactus has large, pointed, three-angled, grayish-green tubercles and features showy, apricot-tinted cream flowers across a wing around the top of the plant. It can grow up to 10 cm high and 15 cm across. It thrives in zones 10-11.
Cultivation: Grow it under glass, in strong light, and in a very open cactus mixture. Keep it virtually dry except in the active season.
How long do cactus flowers last?
Cactus flowers last only 1-3 days, but they are often gigantic compared to the size of the plants. Although they last that short, cactus flowers feature rich colors and simple, refined forms.
Does my cactus need sun?
Cacti usually need full to the bright sun with light shade in summer, so they won’t survive indoors without artificial grow lights. Desert species require the sunniest position whereas jungle and rain forest cacti dislike direct sunlight. All, however, need enough light essential for photosynthesis.
How to deal with spines?
Cactus spines can hurt and stick in the skin like a tiny fishhook. To be safe, display them away from activity areas and keep them out of the reach of children. Use gloves, a shirt with sleeves, and newspapers when repotting and inspecting cacti. Use sticky tape or white glue to peel the spines off the skin.
Why my cactus died?
Most probably because you overwatered it in winter. Inspect the roots and repot the plant immediately.
Related to succulents, cactus flower plants are colorful and fun to have in your indoor garden, especially for creating unusual displays.
Always ensure plenty of suns, even artificial lights, and light shade in summer, quality, and pest-free cactus compost or loam-based mix with grit. Water when the top 2 cm of the soil dries out and once a month in the autumn. Tolerant of dry indoor air. Don’t water in winter. Use a half-strength high-potash fertilizer in the growing season. Grow from offsets. Look out for aphids, mealybugs, scale insects, and be wary of root rot.