If you’re new to the cacti world and you’re already fascinated by the magnificent saguaro cacti, well, don’t get too excited –that’s just the tip of the iceberg!
Cacti are quickly increasing in popularity as the latest house plants décor nuggets. And quite rightly so! Their antique and alien looks set them apart and makes them seem like living sculptures. And literally anyone one can grow them – they require little water, some sun, and probably lots of neglect. Yes, neglect!
No, seriously. That’s just how easy it gets when it comes to growing cacti. See how easy it is to take care of your cacti or succulents here.
Throw in some exotic, rare specimen in the mix and the story becomes more interesting. Their quirky and striking looks adds a tinge of charm to your indoor aesthetics. These rare cacti may require extra effort in taking care of them but every minute spent is totally worth it.
Ready to take them on?
Gymnocalycium Mihanovichii – Rubi Ball
The Rubi Ball cactus, also known as the red cap cactus or the Hibotan cactus, is a showy and brightly colored cacti variant of the moon cactus. It pairs perfectly with a dark contrasted planter like this modern one from Greenaholics.
Although usually red in color, they can come in different shades such as purple, white, yellow or even orange.
The stem is globose (fancy word for spherical), colored and possess rigid ribs which divide it into several segments. The ribs have white markings that hold the brown spines which grow to 1 cm long. The Rubi Ball is a bloomer producing pale pink flowers and gray green fruits.
The Rubi Ball cactus contains little to no chlorophyll and therefore it must be grafted to another species for survival. The graft is mostly a Hylocereus cactus that makes the bottom green part. This is a parasitic relationship where the top colored Rubi ball depends on the lower Hylocereus cactus for food and even support. What a weird relationship right?
Growing a Rubi Ball is quite straight-forward. They prefer partial shades but won’t mind a few hours in bright, direct sunlight. You’ll want to keep them away from the hottest summer day times as this may injure the delicate flowers. Use a commercial cacti mix that’s well-draining. Be easy on watering. These plants are desert survivors and can go for quite a while without water. Let loose a deluge and only do so again once the soil completely dries out.
Stenocereus Hollianus Cristata
This spiny, exotic cactus is an easy care and may suit both indoor and outdoor gardeners. Compact and wavy in appearance, this cactus embodies true versatility in the rare cacti space. It can survive literally anywhere –full sun or partial shade, any can do.
The spines which may be white or cinnamon brown in color minimize water loss and this makes stenecereus a real plant camel. Give it a thorough pouring and allow the soil to dry out completely in between the watering. It loves well-draining cacti mix so that it doesn’t sit on damp soil for long. Ensure there is good air circulation around it for optimum growth. Learn more about the importance of soil for cacti here, a lot of our friends found this very helpful!
Dinosaur Back Plant
The dinosaur back plant, also known as Myrtillocactus geometrizans cristata, is an interesting plant that’s native to the northern and central parts of Mexico. It can be huge, growing to a height of 5 meters or 16 feet for those that need a bit more perspective. Although these can get very massive, when they’re babies it’s a great aesthetic to have indoors, a pot like this would suit it well!
It has a one-of-a-kind appearance that results from its intertwined tree trunk that’s usually cluster forming. The Dinosaur Back Plant is blue in color and may be tipped with a bold hue. These semi-hardy cacti has a waxy body and would suffer if exposed to anything below 25 degrees Fahrenheit.
The dinosaur back plant doesn’t need lots of water. Ensure you’re using well-draining cacti mix to prevent root rot. Keep it in bright direct sunlight or in filtered sun. This cactus produces creamy blooms and teeny fruits during spring or summer.
Rainbow Hedgehog Cactus
Pink and pretty, Echinocereus Rigidissimus Rubrispinus (quite a name!) is a showy cactus that thrives in full sun. It is globose in shape, completely covered with little spines that are pink in color.
Though quite cold hardy, this cactus doesn’t do well when exposed to frost and may succumb to scarring. Use soils with high drainage capacity especially those fortified with perlite. The Rainbow Hedgehog cactus requires little water during winter and none when the humidity levels are sky high.
It produces brilliant pink blooms with a white shade at the center. If you want a beautiful cactus, this is definitely the one!
Emerald Idol— Opuntia Cylindrica Cristata
A member of the prickly pear family (which actually produce edible fruits— check it out here!), the Emerald Idol is a fascinating rare cactus with an antique appearance. It grows in a curvy form, marked with white ribs that are covered with small spines.
Water only when the soil is bone dry, as this cactus can quickly rot if given too much to drink. This sun lover prefers a brightly lit window sill or indirect sunlight. Use porous potting mix and set it in a well ventilated space. Avoid exposing the emerald idol to frost as this may lead to an early grave.
Using a squeeze bottle like this for your mini or baby cacti will allow you to control the watering a lot more too!
Lophocereus Schotti— Totem Pole
The Totem Pole cactus is not your average hostile type of cacti. It sets itself apart from the common cacti landscape by its spineless, smooth and tall physique. Though slow growing, Lophocereus Schotti can grow huge and live for many years.
This rare cactus is native to the Baja California Peninsula and thrives in full sun in its original home. If growing it indoors, place it in a south facing window for maximum bright sunlight all day long. Here’s some tips for propagating your succulents indoors.
Propagation is via cuttings as this cactus doesn’t bloom or produce seeds. Avoid feeding it too much water otherwise it will be plagued by pests and diseases.
Echinopsis cv. ‘Haku-Jo’
Quite a fast grower, the Haku-Jo cactus is a Japanese cultivar believed to be a chimera – a fancy word alluding to the fact that it may be having genes of different species. It is dainty and globose in shape having wooly areoles embedded with sharp, brown spines growing in clusters.
This plant is hard on flowering but when it does, it produces lightly-scented white flowers that resemble trumpets. Caring for the Haku-jo is easy –set them out in full sun during summer and ensure they don’t get wet during winter.
Orange Cob— Lobivia Famatimensis Cristata
Squat and tightly forming, the Orange Cob cactus is a spring or summer bloomer giving forth gigantic flowers that may be red, orange or pink in color.
Its body is covered with a dense network of dark orange spines. This cactus may easily rot on you and prefers being kept dry during winter. It doesn’t mind some frost and so it might make an awesome addition to your outdoor collection. Just ensure you plant it on well-draining soils.
Opuntia Subulata – Eve’s Needle
This popular shrubby cactus is tall growing and may reach to a height of 60 cm. Thought to be a native of the Andes of Peru, the Eve’s Needle does well in lots of sunlight. Just like any other cactus, it is water-saving and therefore requires little water for survival.
If you’re looking for some pop and color, the Eve’s Needle may not be your best fit as it takes long to bloom. However, when it does, the flowers are red with reddish fruits just beneath. If you want color, Hens and Chicks is not a bad choice!
Be sure to protect this plant from frost— but that doesn’t mean that you can’t grow it outdoors.
There you have it… 9 rare cacti! Are you going to go hunt for them? Get one for us if you find any!
Join our exclusive Facebook group, Succulent City Plant Lounge, and let us know if you ever capture any of these 9 rare cacti.
Happy planting! 🌵