9 Most Rare Cacti that are Hard to Find

9 rare cacti

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. And quite rightly so! Their antique and alien looks set them apart and make them seem like living sculptures. And literally anyone 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 specimens 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

Gymnocalycium Mihanovichii Rubi Ball
Rubi Ball @suzy2510

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.

Check our article about the best soil for succulents if you need some pointers.


Stenocereus Hollianus Cristata

Stenocereus Hollianus Cristata
Stenocereus Hollianus Cristata @plantasia75

This spiny, exotic cactus is easy to care for 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 anywhere –full sun or partial shade.

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 a 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.

Dinosaur Back Plant

Dinosaur Back Plant
Dinosaur Back Plant @justin.carrier

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 have 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 a 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

Rainbow Hedgehog Cactus
Rainbow Hedgehog Cactus @agirlwithagarden

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.

Watering a cactus is not an easy task, that’s why you need to know How Often to Water A Cactus!

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

Emerald Idol Opuntia Cylindrica Cristata
Opuntia Cylindrica Cristata @likeplantlight

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 a 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

Lophocereus Schotti Totem Pole
Totem Pole @succulentsaddicted

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 are some tips for growing 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’

Echinopsis cv. Haku-Jo
Echinopsis cv. ‘Haku-Jo’ @spina_di_cacti

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 to get to a flowering phase 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

Orange Cob Lobivia Famatimensis Cristata
Lobivia Famatimensis Cristata @succume_right_meow

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 in well-draining soils.

Opuntia Subulata – Eve’s Needle

Opuntia Subulata Eve’s Needle
Opuntia Subulata @ckristufek

This popular shrubby cactus is tall growing and may reach 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 a long time to bloom. However, when it does, the flowers are red with reddish fruits just beneath. If you want color, Hens and Chicks are not a good 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?

Join our exclusive Facebook group, Succulent City Plant Lounge, and let us know if you ever capture any of these 9 rare cacti.

Did you enjoy learning about 9 Rare Cacti that are Hard to Find? If so, you’ll really enjoy the ebook about Rare Succulents You Wish You Knew About. With this ebook you’ll find yourself more detailed answers that’ll help your succulent grow even better! With thousands of succulent lovers enjoying our ebooks, you don’t want to miss out on what works the best to grow your succulents.

Happy planting!

The Moon Cactus (Gymnocalycium Mihanovichii)

Blooming Beauty Moon Cactus Gymnocalycium Mihanovichii

Moon cactus, also known as Gymnocalycium Mihanovichii or Hibotan cactus, is native to desert habitats in various parts of South America; Argentina to be precise. It belongs to the Gymnocalycium genus of globular cacti. These cacti are succulent plants that are very colorful but lack the necessary chlorophyll to produce plant sugars through photosynthesis. This makes the plants to be grafted onto a species that provides plenty of chlorophyll upon which the moon cactus can sustain itself for several years.

The blooming beauty of Gymnocalycium Mihanovichii plants is seen in its vibrant bright colors of brilliant orange, hot pink and an almost neon yellow. The lack of chlorophyll causes this color difference. They are small plants, generally a half-inch across. This makes it common for them to make lovely window boxes or southern exposure houseplants and be sold as gift plants.

Blooming Beauty Moon Cactus Gymnocalycium Mihanovichii
The Beauty of Gymnocalycium Mihanovichii @flowers.cactus

Moon Cactus Has The Following Characteristics:

  1. This plant grows as a globular mass, reaching about two inches in size.
  2.  It tends to produce offsets that grow around the base of the globe where the sides of the globular shape feature seams with prickly quills.
  3. It has a thick base that makes the perfect host for the moon cactus.
  4. Moon cactus is typically grafted to another cactus-like Hylocereus undatus commonly known as the dragon fruit cactus.
  5. This plant may produce flowers from the sides giving it a blooming beauty but does not produce a scent.

Just like other plants, some factors determine the growth of the moon cactus as seen below.


Moon cactus does well in bright but indirect sunlight. Prolonged exposure to direct sunlight can be harmful to the plant. A covered porch that has some shade or an area where direct sunlight is blocked is the best environment for a moon cactus to grow. If the plant is indoors, set it near a window to give it plenty of sunlight. Note that, if the plant does not get enough bright light, the color starts to fade.


Gymnocalycium mihanovichii grows well at average room temperature throughout the year. For your cactus to survive through a winter freeze, bring it indoors or in the garage where the temperature drops below 40 degrees. Alternatively, you can cover them up with a light blanket or sheet to shield them from cold weather. When exposed to hard elements during a hard winter, the moon cactus will freeze.


Just like other succulent plants, moon cactus requires water. Water it regularly throughout the spring and summer months. During the winter months, water less frequently. Ensure the soil is dry before watering the plant. Make use of unglazed pots with numerous drainage holes to prevent standing water at the base of the pot, which further prevents the roots from rotting. Putting a thin layer of gravel at the bottom of your container before adding the moon cactus plant is advisable as it aids in water drainage.

For a more in-depth coverage of your cacti’s water needs check out: “How Often To Water A Cactus: Essential Guide”.


Moon cactus grows well in the regular commercial soil with good drainage. You can opt to use a mixture of pumice or perlite and regular potting soil. Though, we highly recommend this succulent and cacti soil from Hoffman. Our plants here at the office rated it with 5 stars! 

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Try making your own succulent soil at home by checking out “How to Make Your own Succulent Soil at Home“.

Blooming Beauty Moon Cactus Gymnocalycium Mihanovichii
Growth of Gymnocalycium Mihanovichii @plantvalley.shop

Glooming Maintenance & Propagation of Moon Cactus

To maintain the globular shape of the moon cactus, cut off the side shoots. When propagating, use the side shoots or the offsets growing from the plant. Use host plants for the side shoots like the Hylocereus undatus which offers a perfect base for them. Select host plants of the same thickness, height, and diameter.

Prepare the host plant before collecting the side shoots. Cutting at a slant, cut the top of the host plant, then carefully cut the side shoots from the mother plant. Press the two cut pieces together, setting the side shoot on the host plant. Press firmly but not too tight. Don’t allow the cuts of the host plant and the side shoots to dry before finishing the grafting process. To hold the two pieces together, secure the side shoots with a rubber band.

After several weeks, the side shoot should have started growing off the host plant. Remove the rubber band and follow the moon cactus care tips.

Be sure to check out our in-depth ebook on all things propagating. Don’t miss out on “The Right Way to Propagating Succulents Successfully” today!

Blooming Beauty Moon Cactus Gymnocalycium Mihanovichii
Maintenance & Propagation @little_gavin_cactus

Advantages of The Moon Cactus

Due to its fun appearance, it is made an excellent choice for any cactus or succulent garden. It is also seen great in window sills where it grows in a small pot.

The Shortcomings of The Moon Cactus

The major problem faced by the moon cactus is being infested with mealybugs and scales. You can deal with these infestations by use of tweezers, or cotton wool dipped in alcohol. If this does not curb the situation, use an insecticide as your last resort.

The other common problem is root rot which results from overwatering. Always be careful when watering your moon cactus. Want more info on root rot? Check out our piece “What is Root Rot & How Do You Fix it?” for more helpful info.

Blooming Beauty Moon Cactus Gymnocalycium Mihanovichii
The Moon Cactus @suzy2510

Despite these challenges, the moon cactus plant is easy to get, fun to own, and a colorful little plant to add to your collection. Besides, it has relatively low maintenance requirements.

Thank you for reading! Be sure to check out more pieces on the cacti species like “The Beautiful Blue Cacti—Pilosocereus” or even “Why Succulent Plants Are So Popular“.

Did this article help answer your succulent-care questions? We sure hope so! If not, no worries. Succulent City is devoted to aiding all succulent lovers, and that’s why we created a line of ebook guides! Check out our in-depth tips on “All the Types of Succulents for Indoor & Outdoor” or even “Rare Succulents You Wish You Knew About” today! 

Happy Planting! ?