A List of Outdoor Cactus Plants & How to Care for Them

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Cacti are renowned for their ability to thrive in arid and desert-like conditions, making them an excellent choice for outdoor gardening in areas with dry climates. With their intriguing shapes and textures, cacti can add a unique and striking aesthetic to any garden or landscape. Suppose you want to incorporate outdoor cacti into your gardening endeavors; this article is for you. We made a list of outdoor cacti and how to care for them. Let’s dive in!

#1. Saguaro Cactus (Carnegiea gigantea)

The iconic Saguaro cactus is famous for outdoor landscapes, particularly in arid regions. It features tall, branching arms and can grow up to 40 feet (12 meters). Saguaro cacti require total sun exposure and well-draining soil. Water them deeply but infrequently, allowing the soil to dry out between waterings.

Find an in-depth article about the Saguaro cactus here >>

#2. Prickly Pear Cactus (Opuntia)

Prickly Pear cacti are known for their paddle-like stems and vibrant flowers. They come in various species and are hardy plants suitable for outdoor gardens. These cacti thrive in full sun and well-draining soil. While drought-tolerant, they benefit from occasional deep waterings during the growing season.

#3. Barrel Cacti (Echinocactus & Ferocactus)

Along with the Opuntia cacti, Barrel cacti (Echinocactus or Ferocactus) are also full of candidates. They are characterized by their round, barrel-like shape and prominent ribs. These plants are excellent choices for outdoor gardens, as they are resilient and low-maintenance. We want to mention two particular plants from these genera: Echinocactus grusonii & Ferocactus wislizeni.

3.1. Golden Barrel Cactus (Echinocactus grusonii)

We want to mention one particular cactus – Echinocactus grusonii. The Golden Barrel cactus is a visually stunning plant with a spherical shape and golden spines. It is native to Mexico and thrives in outdoor gardens with total sun exposure. This cactus prefers sandy or loamy soil with excellent drainage. Water it sparingly during the growing season, reducing watering in winter to prevent root rot.

3.2. Fishhook Barrel Cactus (Ferocactus wislizeni)

The Fishhook Barrel cactus is a unique species with hooked spines and ribbed stems. The plant is first found in the southwestern United States and northern Mexico. This cactus requires full sun and well-draining soil. Water it sparingly during the active growth period, reducing watering in winter to mimic its natural dormancy.

#4. Agave Cactus (Agave)

Agaves, often called “century plants,” are succulent plants resembling cacti. This cactus comes in various shapes, sizes, and colors. Some agave species can grow quite large, so provide enough space in your outdoor garden. Agaves thrive in full sun and well-draining soil. Water them deeply but infrequently, allowing the soil to dry out between waterings.

#5. Cholla Cactus (Cylindropuntia)

Cholla cacti are known for their distinctive cylindrical stems and spiny appearance. Cylindropuntias are highly adaptable and can thrive in a variety of outdoor environments. These cacti prefer full sun and well-draining soil. Water them sparingly, as overwatering can lead to root rot.

#6. Yucca Cactus (Yucca)

Yuccas are perennial plants with striking sword-like leaves and tall flowering stalks. They are well-suited for outdoor gardens, as they are hardy and drought-tolerant. Yuccas prefer full sun and well-draining soil. Water them deeply but infrequently, allowing the soil to dry out between waterings.

Caring for Outdoor Cacti

  1. Sunlight: Most cacti thrive in full sun, so full sun, for at least 6 hours daily.
  2. Soil: Cacti require well-draining soil to prevent root rot. To improve drainage, use a sandy or loamy soil mix with added perlite or coarse sand.
  3. Watering: Cacti are adapted to arid conditions and have low water requirements. Water them deeply but infrequently, allowing the soil to dry out between waterings. Be cautious not to overwater, as this can lead to root rot.
  4. Protection from Frost: While many cacti are hardy and can withstand some cold temperatures, prolonged exposure to frost can be damaging. Protect your outdoor cacti during frosty periods by covering them or placing them within a sheltered area.
  5. Pests and Diseases: Cacti are generally resistant to pests and diseases. However, look for common issues such as mealybugs, scale insects, or fungal diseases. Treat any problems promptly with appropriate organic or chemical treatments.
  6. Pruning: Some cacti may require occasional pruning to remove dead or damaged parts. Use clean, sharp pruning tools and protective gloves to avoid injury from spines.
  7. Fertilization: Outdoor cacti typically do not require frequent fertilization. Apply a slow-release fertilizer formulated explicitly for cacti during their growing season.

View the full guide for cactus care here >>


You can create a stunning desert oasis in your backyard by selecting the suitable cactus species for your outdoor garden and providing them with proper care. Enjoy these remarkable plants’ unique beauty and resilience as they thrive in your outdoor landscape.

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Succulent City chief editor


Succulent City

Hey everyone! Welcome to Succulent City! We are all about succulents, cacti, and a bit about air plants. Ten years back, in 2013, we began the journey with succulents. It started as a simple hobby, crafting and selling charming succulent-themed pins and decorations. But as time passed, our fascination with these remarkable plants grew, and we gained extensive knowledge about them. Therefore, Succulent City is the blog as you see it is now. Enjoy your visit and happly planting!

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Posted in Cacti