9 Types of Cacti for Succulent Lovers

9 Types of Cacti

For the plant lover you are, cacti are no doubt a top pick. And for a couple of ~good~ reasons.

With the numerous shapes, sizes, and colors, every type of cacti can offer you the ultimate all-in-one decor solution— at home or work. But what’s even more appealing is their simplistic nature that makes caring for them a breeze.

You don’t need some top-level gardening skills to have these desert- dwellers shining — although that would be a nice thing. And no full attention either. Occasional peeks at them can go a long way – of course, coupled with a few very simple care regimens.

Seriously, with all the various types of cacti, there is absolutely no reason why you shouldn’t grow at least one for yourself!

So, with all the types of cacti out there, how do you settle on a few serious plants? This is an overwhelming decision to make, right? Well, you could grow as many types of cacti as you wish. But, there isn’t just enough space and time for that.

For a start, have a look at the following 9 types of cacti.

But before we dive into that… If you want 2 FREE E-Books, sign up here for a FREE 30-day trial of Amazon’s Audible program! Consider it a gift from your friends at Succulent City!

9 Types of Cacti
9 Types of Cacti @csg.succulents

Chollas – Cylindropuntia

These are a type of cacti popular for their barbed spines that grab on tightly to anybody that comes in contact with them (clothes, fur and so on). That’s something to be weary of right there.

Be careful not to touch any species of Cholla with bare skin. You’ll regret it, guaranteed.

The species come in a range of sizes, with some growing to sizes of trees while others being creepers or shrubs. Get your own Cholla on Amazon!

These natives of Mexico and parts of the United States require a well-drained soil and adequate sunlight.

We highly recommend this soil mix by Bonsai Jack. It is one of the best soil mixes on the market for your garden. It doesn’t need to be mixed with any other soil, it helps fight root rot, perfectly pH Balanced & is pathogen-free (ie: won’t kill your plants). This soil is the go-to for our office plants. Go ahead and get the 7 Gallon Bag if you are plant nerd like us :). Pick up some of our favorite soil by clicking here: Bonsai Jack Succulent Soil.

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Additionally, the Chollas do best in temperature ranges of 50° F to 70°F (10°C – 21°C).

Watering is a huge deal before maturity, but always ensure the top soil in your garden is dry before doing it. When mature, watering can be revisited occasionally. In cases of prolonged drought, keep up with the watering routine you’d stick to when the plant is establishing. Give your Chollas a home in these planters! They’ll look great in any home or office!

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9 Types of Cacti
Chollas @fdvlandscape_photography

Christmas Cactus – Schlumbergera Bridgesii

This such a unique member of the cactaceae family in a couple of ways.

For one, it is not a natural desert dweller like the rest. Instead, it’s a coastal resider, the Brazilian coastline being the natural habitat. And that means it can still do well in conditions other types of cacti find unfavorable.

Secondly, they favor low light sites— as direct sun rays can have a devastating effect on the leaves. If your home or office is a lowlight setting, here’s our list of 7 best succulents for low light environments!

Finally, the Christmas Cactus plant lacks the characteristic of spines, present on a lot of types of cacti species, instead of spotting serrated true leaves. The species also develop colorful flowers, including red and pink. If a pop of color is what you’re looking for, get yourself a Christmas Cactus, or check out these 5 succulents with red flowers and these succulents with orange flowers!

As it is not suited to desert conditions like its cousins, Schlumbergera Bridgesii should never sit in a completely dry potting mix. Always water when the mix is partially dry.

The Christmas Cactus plant can do with a little bit of low light. But guess what– if you want to see those blooms… give it some light – indirect, that is.

The Christmas Cactus can develop and become rather large. So, we found this set of 2 beautiful planters—one smaller and one large, that you can transfer your cactus plant through when it gets larger.

9 Types of Cacti
Christmas Cactus @plantgazing

Hedgehog Cactus – Echinocereus

Echinocereus is a genus type of cacti that grow in clusters of 3 to 60 stems. Each of these stems are ribbed with numerous spines on its surface.

The flowers (which are usually large) form at the end of these almost cylindrical stems and develop into edible fruits. Yep… Cacti and succulents can be edible. Check out this list of 6 edible succulents you may like to taste!

The Hedgehog Cactus plant can tolerate temperatures up to 50°F minimum and thrive on moderate watering – once every other two weeks.

Be sure to keep the frost away during the cold months!

Let the plants enjoy the sun – lots of it. Ideally, 6-8 hours a day is fine. They love it that way!

To keep up with the hedgehog theme, we found this adorable hedgehog- themed planter and this cute hedgehog and cactus coffee mug! Check them out!

9 Types of Cacti
Hedgehog Cactus @chubbyplantpeople

Saguaro – Carnegiea Gigantea

Saguaro is one of the few types of cacti that grow up to be huge, imposing, spine-covered trees. This native of Mexico (Sonora Desert) can reach a height of 12 m upon maturity – which can take up to a hundred years! There’s even a grow-your-own kit on Amazon! Take a look, here.

The barrel-shaped stem is the water storage room, expanding considerably to keep as much of it as possible. A mature Saguaro stem can take up more than 700 liters of water in a rainstorm!

Keep your Carnegiea Gigantea in a well-draining soil mix, which you can get here, for optimum growth. And while at it, have it get access to a healthy amount of sunlight.

And this type of cactus plant needs very little watering to thrive – basically once a month during the growing seasons. With all the water-saving capacity this cactus has though, you may need a large watering can! In winter, when the plant is dormant, consider watering once or twice for the whole season.

9 Types of Cacti
Saguaro @abitofeastandwest

Peyote – Lophophora Williamsii

Another spineless member of the cactaceae family.

Peyote is recognized for its chemical components that give a general high feeling when ingested – used mainly by religious groups.

This type of cactus plant can attain a height of up to an inch and a diameter of 2 inches. The stem is green in color and globular with a number of ribs dotted with fuzzy hairs.

Give your Peyote cactus a well-draining mix and cut back on watering as soon seedlings are good to go.

Make a point of shielding your plant against direct sun rays. The Peyote does best in temperatures 70°F to 90°F (21°C -32°C). If keeping outside, try keeping your Peyote under this sun-blocking shade cloth! Helps keep your plants from becoming sun-burnt.

Just so you know: unless you’re a member of the Native American Church, stay away from the Peyote. Due to its dwindling population, growing this type of cactus plant has been outlawed and it’s only permitted to members of NAC specifically those in Arizona, New Mexico, Colorado, Oregon and Nevada.

9 Types of Cacti
Peyote @j.lithops_conophytum

Bunny Ears Cactus – Opuntia Microdasys

The Bunny Ear Cactus is one of the most grown type of cacti species, owing to its rabbit head appearance.

It lacks a central stem, instead, it is composed of pad-like segments of varying length and breadth. Each of the segments are covered by lots of glochids occurring in clusters. And they cause some serious irritation on the skin, so beware of the deceivingly fine darts.

The Opuntia Microdasys does best with temperatures of up to 100°F (38°C) but prefer readings below this during the cold season – typically between 50°F and 65°F (10-18°C).

Don’t fret too much about water. The general rule for cacti holds – the less the better. Pick up your watering can as soon as the potting mix is dry at the top.

Check out a more in-depth conversation about the Bunny Ears Cactus in our article, here!

9 Types of Cacti
Bunny Ears Cactus @synthesispgh

Old Lady Cactus – Mammillaria Hahniana

This is a solitary growing type of cactus with the stem bearing a cylindrical shape. The entire plant is covered with white hairs and spines, hence the name “Old Lady.”

Summer and spring are the seasons when the Old Lady Cactus grows up pink blossoms at the apex.

Mammillaria Hahniana is quite hardy and can tolerate temperatures as low as -5°C (23°F) to -10°C (14°F). Find out what a “hard” or a “soft” cactus is, here

The ideal watering frequency is once a week during the growing seasons and once a month in winter.

Want to see those blossoms? Be sure to let the sun shine on the Old lady.

9 Types of Cacti
Old Lady Cactus @b.e.s_garden

Epiphyllum

This is a collection of close to 20 epiphytic cacti endemic to Central America.

The stems are broad and flat, usually with lobbed edges. Epiphyllum Oxypetalum is a particularly popular species in this genus.

These cacti aren’t so fond of direct sunlight, so shielding them under other plants is highly recommended.

Use a well-draining mix and apply a sporadic watering regimen in order to have healthy Epiphyllum plants – once every two weeks for spring to fall and once a month during winter.

9 Types of Cacti
Epiphyllum @a.planted.life

Star Cactus – Astrophytum Asterias

The Star Cactus is native to Mexico and parts of the United States. The plants are small and globular, reaching a maximum height of 2 inches and a diameter of 6 inches. The stem is ribbed with each rib having a couple of white hairy areoles.

The blooms, which are yellow, come out to play between March and May.

Astrophytum Asterias do love sunlight, so be sure to expose it to the rays every few hours per day for better growth.

Water this plant once every two weeks during the growing seasons. Reduce this frequency when the plant enters dormancy in winter – once a month should do it.

Do the Star Cactus sound like the plant for you? Take a look at our article dedicated to this unique plant, and find out more!

9 Types of Cacti
Star Cactus @galateasart

Think you’ve found your ideal type of cactus to incorporate into your unique lifestyle? Check out this amazing opportunity to help get your collection started… Have you heard of Succulents Box? They offer more than 200 varieties of succulents, that are organically grown in California, along with monthly subscription boxes of fresh succulents and air plants! Starting at just $5/month, you could be on your way to creating a beautiful succulent garden, all from the comfort of shopping at home! Click this link to learn more about Succulents Box and start your subscription today!

Comment below which types you’ve added to your own home or garden, or share with fellow succulent lovers in our exclusive Succulent City Plant Lounge Facebook group!

For additional succulent content, we’re on Instagram and Pinterest! Check them out for daily succulent inspiration!

Want to enhance your succulent knowledge? We have some additional articles for you to try out! Take a look at Can Succulents Survive in My Work Environment, Why the Prickly Pear Cactus is One of the Most Popular Cacti, 9 Cacti That are Hard to Find, and What Adaptations Does a Cactus Have. You’ll be a succulent and cactus guru in no time!

Happy planting, friends! ?

The Beautiful Blue Cacti —Pilosocereus

The Beautiful Blue Cacti—Pilosocereus

Did you know that cacti can be bright blue? Yup, that’s right—those photos you’ve seen on Instagram of blue cacti are not fake nor photoshopped! There’s a genus of columnar cacti called Pilosocereus that are so vibrant and blue that you almost won’t believe they’re real. They often have contrasting orange spines too, which makes them look even more beautiful and unreal!

Even though most Pilosocereus cacti have an otherworldly color, they’re not rare or hard to track down. Species like Pilosocereus pachycladus are widely cultivated, so you may even be able to find one at your local garden center!

Like all cacti, Pilosocereus love to soak up the sun and hate the cold. If you want to learn more about where these amazing cacti came from and how to care for them in your own garden, keep reading!

The Beautiful Blue Cacti—Pilosocereus
The Beautiful Blue Cacti—Pilosocereus @florariym40

Origins of the Pilosocereus

Pilosocereus is a genus of tall columnar cacti that can be found in warm areas of the world like Mexico, Brazil, and the Caribbean. There are about 50 different species of cacti in this genus, and although not all of them are that vibrant bright blue color we love, many of them are!

Many species of Pilosocereus also have white wool covering them, which is how the whole genus got its name. Pilosocereus roughly translates to “hairy candle” in Latin. It’s probably one of the funniest plant names we’ve ever come across, but it makes sense! These blue cacti have a columnar shape that resembles a candlestick, and they are pretty hairy because of all that white wool! 

Two other things that make these blue cacti unique are their beautifully colored spines and flowers. Many of them have bright orange spines and vibrant blue flowers that match their beautiful blue stems. These are some of the most colorful cacti we’ve ever come across, so they’re a great way to inject a little color into your garden! 

One more thing to note about Pilosocereus is that they can get to be really tall. Some species reach 32 feet before they’re done growing! Because of how tall they get, most succulent gardeners plant them outdoors in the ground instead of keeping them in pots inside. They also tend to do better outdoors because they need so much direct sunlight, so that’s something to keep in mind. 

The Beautiful Blue Cacti—Pilosocereus
Bright orange spines @trexplants

How to Care for Pilosocereus Cacti

By now you’re probably dying to get your hands on one of these bright blue beauties so you can plant the cactus in your garden. But first, you’ll have to learn how to care for it! Keep reading to find out what you need to do to keep the newest addition to your succulent collection happy and healthy.

Water and Soil Requirements  for Pilosocereus Cacti

Pilosocereus seem to be able to handle more water than other succulents and cacti, especially in the summer, but you still have to be careful not to overwater them! If they sit in too much water or soil that doesn’t drain well, their roots will start to rot. That’s why it’s important to use a cactus soil that has lots of gritty ingredients. We like this one because it has perlite, sand, and limestone, which all promote drainage and help the soil dry out faster. 

Pilosocereus are pretty thirsty cacti! Some gardeners report that theirs need water almost daily during the warmer months. We recommend watering your Pilosocereus plant about once a week for most of the year, and then watching it closely in the summer and giving the plant more water as needed.

Before you give your cactus a drink, always remember to test the soil first. This helps prevent overwatering and root rot. Stick your finger or a moisture tester in the soil. Do this about once a week during the colder months and once a day when it’s warm outside. If the soil is dry a few inches down, give your cactus some water. If not, wait to water the cactus and check the soil again later. 

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The Beautiful Blue Cacti—Pilosocereus
Pilosocereus are pretty thirsty cacti! @charleen_aiden

Temperature and light requirements for Pilosocereus Cacti

Pilosocereus are from hot countries like Brazil and Mexico, so they love warm weather and full sun! They grow best in tropical temperatures of 70 degrees or higher and need lots and lots of bright, direct sunlight. Don’t be afraid to put them in full sun, even during the summer months. In Brazil, Pilosocereus grow in full sun in temperatures as high as 125 degrees, so you likely won’t have to worry about sunburn with this cactus like you would with other succulents. 

One thing you do have to worry about when it comes to growing Pilosocereus is frost. In their native environments, they don’t really face temperatures lower than 50 degrees. If there’s a cold snap, your cactus may get damaged. So make sure you take measures to protect your cactus by using a frost cloth when the temperature dips. And of course, don’t try to grow a Pilosocereus if you live somewhere that gets lots of snow and ice! 

The Beautiful Blue Cacti—Pilosocereus
Top view of the Pilosocereus cacti @jacquelinetaylor9611

Fertilizer Requirements for Pilosocereus Cacti

Pilosocereus cacti are already fast growers, but fertilizing them can help them grow even faster! They grow fastest in the summer, so that’s the best time to fertilize them. Use a water-soluble, balanced fertilizer, like this one, up to once a month during the summer. 

Before you apply fertilizer to your growing cactus, make sure you dilute it to half strength so it doesn’t burn your plant. If the package says to use a tablespoon for each gallon of water, use a half tablespoon instead.  

There you have it! Those are our best tips for keeping your Pilosocereus cactus happy and healthy.

Now that you know more about them, are you going to get one of these amazing blue cacti Pilosocereus for your garden? Let us know in the comments section below! Happy planting! 

The Beautiful Blue Cacti—Pilosocereus
Blue cacti Pilosocereus @florariym40

We really believe this cactus will add a gorgeous pop of color to your garden. We wish knew about them years ago!

Are you already growing a Pilosocereus (or 2)? Drop a comment down below on some care tips you’ve experienced with your cactus! And share your photos in our exclusive Facebook group, Succulent City Plant Lounge, today!

Looking to add some additional cacti to your garden? Check these cacti out with our articles in The Soft Monkey Tail Cactus, The Rat Tail Cactus: Everything You Need to Know, Everything You Didn’t Know About the Star Cactus, or 9 Rare Cacti That’s Hard to Find!

Loved learning about this cacti and now inspired to add more to your collection?! (We don’t blame you) Check out Succulent City’s new line of ebooks covering topics from, “All the Types of Succulents for Indoor and Outdoor,” “Different Types of Planters,” and many more helpful in-depth ebooks. Head to this link to view our full line of ebooks and get started with our complimentary guide.

Happy planting! ?

All You Need to Know About Echinopsis Cactus- Succulent Lovers

All You Need to Know About Echinopsis

Echinopsis cactus is for the prickly cacti lovers.

This article goes deep down to each detail of the Echinopsis genus and its over 100 species. It is a guide to everything that you need to understand about one of the largest species of cacti plants.

All You Need to Know About Echinopsis
For Echinopsis Lovers @bitkidunyasix_

Introducing The Echinopsis Cactus

This amazing Echinopsis cactus plant has its origin in South America. The plant is sometimes referred to as the hedgehog cactus, Easter lily cactus, or sea urchin cactus. By now you might have understood that the Echinopsis genus is spiky or prickly appearance gives it the nicknames. It is a plant that is densely covered with spines.

The Echinopsis represents a genus that is one of the biggest with 128 species. The genus is home to plants species of different sizes. There are large-sized plant species and small-sized species too.

What is common in all of these plants is the beautiful flowers present in each. The giant flowers (4-6 inches in size) are often multicolored with a beautiful blend. The colors and types of flowers can vary from the original Echinopsis thanks to the extensive hybridizing done on the plants.

Did you know that unlike most cacti that produce a single flush of flowers annually, Echinopsis plants produce blooms of flowers as long as the temperatures during the day hit 21-degree Celsius?

Already interested in more kinds of cacti? Check out “9 Rare Cacti that’s Hard to Find” for more finds.

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All You Need to Know About Echinopsis
Introducing Echinopsis Cactus @bitkidunyasix_

Where to Grow The Echinopsis Cactus

If you are interested in growing an Echinopsis cactus in your yard, worry less if you experience temperatures of over 21C/70F. If you’re not interested in the flowers, you can still grow them in any environment.

The high temperatures are only good for the continuity of flowering throughout the year.

During cold winters the plants go dormant. However, you may need to take them inside when the bite of the cold is too much to avoid their succulent water-filled bodies from freezing also. Check out “Summer & Winter Succulents: What’s the Difference?” for a full guide to understanding different succulents during different seasons.

Ask most growers of the beautiful hedgehog cactus, and they will tell you the cold season is vital for a great blooming during the summer.

Just like any other plant, avoid soaking the roots in water-filled soil. If you keep your cactus plant in a pot, ensure that they are shed from direct rains.

For more succulent options during the warm weather, check out “10 Beautiful Flowering Succulents You Need for the Summer“.

All You Need to Know About Echinopsis
They are Great for Your Outdoor and Indoors @mafamilledecactus

Soils & Potting

Cactus species need well-drained soils. High water retention for far too long is a great enemy of the plant’s roots that will end up rotting, in turn, killing your plant.  You can loosen up your potting mix by using perlites and pebbles. It is advisable to add a top sand layer at the base of the plant. You will create abrasiveness that much supports pup formation.

When going for your favorite pot, consider its ability to drain any excess water. The containers can be of any size since the roots of an Echinopsis plant are shallow.

In any case, you are wondering whether Echinopsis species thrive in the ground, the answer is yes. But wait, won’t you like to move your plant around? What if its winter and your plant freezes? Potting solves all these issues.

Watering

What season is it?

Summers are hot, and the plants are growing and blooming. What this means is that the sea urchin cactus will enjoy more water when blooming or growing. During winter and fall, the species is dormant or semi-dormant. They will be better off with little watering to keep them going until the next summer.

The factors affecting the frequency of watering vary from the type of soil used, weather, pot size and design.  To ensure you hit the nail on the head, stick a pencil into your pot and see how much water sticks to its surface. It is always watering time when the pencil surface comes out with little or no water.

The Echinopsis cactus is from the highland mountains of South America. The plants will enjoy more water than they will enjoy a dry pot. Flood the whole container till all the soil is caught up with the water.

Don’t miss your chance to get our ebook on “The Correct Way to Water Succulents” for a full tutorial to taking care of your cacti at home.

All You Need to Know About Echinopsis
They Came from The Highland Mountain @tara_desert

Exposure to Sunlight

Too much of anything is poisonous. Not even the prolonged hot and light-filled days can be spared; they can quickly realize a sunburnt plant.

So, how long should my hedgehog cactus plants be exposed to the sun?

The sun is great for growing plants and the flowering periods. Maximizing on the amount of sunlight that your species will be enjoying will make them more productive. To evade the sunburns, watch out for discoloration on the surface of the plant. If you notice the same, take action and reduce the exposure to the sun.

Separating Pups From The Mother

One of the funniest experiences of the sea urchin cactus is seeing flowers more prominent than the plant itself.

What About Pups?

Some of the Echinopsis species are generous with pups while some find it hard to yield so many of them. Here are some neatly arranged tips for you to follow when pupping.

  1. Separate the pups only when it is the growing times with temperatures above 21-degree Celsius.
  2. Let the pups grow one inch or more in size before separating them.
  3. Pups with wounds (site for attachment to the mother) will require to heal before replanting. Expose the sores to dry under the sun for 7-10 days — no watering during the healing time.
  4. Plant your pups in the same soil mix as the mother.
  5. When finally in the soil, water generously as the baby pups have little or no roots for water absorption.
All You Need to Know About Echinopsis
Types of Echinopsis Species @kaewcactus

Enjoyed learning about the Echinopsis Cactus? If so, you’ll really enjoy our 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! ?

What Is Special About A Cactus?

What Is Special About A Cactus?

These thorny succulents that complement any environment always have and up to this day remain a wonder to humans as well as animals in the wild. A hungry creature will eat anything in its path to stay alive, and as such, they are continually looking for food. The ones that have tried extracting the juices from this plant have done it at their own risk. Most of the time, coming out of the ordeal with nothing but painful stabs in their mouths and paws by the sharp spikes the cactus plant has.

The cacti species has been widely researched to find what makes them worthy of having a whole family named in its honor. What sets them apart from most flora is the physical outlook that no other plant on the planet possesses. And in this piece, we shall look into more features that make these succulents unique and widely loved.

What Is Special About A Cactus?
Variety of short cacti in planters @tara_desert

They Grow Anywhere and Everywhere

Contrary to belief, cacti can be grown in almost all climates in the world and not only the desert climate. This is supported by the fact that some species have been found to thrive in the rainforests and colder environments in different parts of the world. Their resilience to the harsh conditions as experienced in the deserts makes them even more popular. Whatever the location they are brought up in, they find ways to survive, thrive, and produce. As long as they have all their nutritional needs met- in the desert or your backyard, they will grow. Cacti are not fussy plants.

Check out our article about “The Rounded Ball Cactus— Parodia Magnifica” for a look at an amazing cactus variety you probably have not seen before!

They Are Nocturnal Plants

Humans are wired differently, and as you will see, plants too. Some people are morning persons, and others aren’t. Others are more productive during the day and others during the night. Animals also behave the same, some hunt at night and others during the day. And the cacti family are loyal members of the night club. The cacti open their stomata during the night as opposed to a majority of plants. If they open the pores during the day, they will lose most of the water they hold within their tissues, and this will mean a shorter life span. They do prefer the night time because the temperatures are cooler, and the calmer breeze helps them retain most of their water storage.

What Is Special About A Cactus?
Flowering cacti @cactos.e.suculentas.incriveis

They Are Stem Succulents

Most succulents are characterized by the fact that they have thick leaves as their primary water storage tanks. But this is not the case when it comes to the cactus. To begin with, cacti do not have leaves. They instead have another site to store the water they absorb; otherwise, they wouldn’t be here today. Their swollen stem takes up this role, which explains why they are thick, round, and tight to touch. Some even look like they are almost bursting out. Well, now you know why their stems look that way; they are the plant’s primary water reservoir.

Take a look at our piece “How Often To Water Cactus” and see techniques we came up with to better water your cactus.

Their Unique Growth Habits

Cacti display quite an array of different growing patterns that make them very bizarre. The first growth habit is the arborescent cacti, which grow like a tree with a single trunk topped up by several branches. The second type is the columnar cacti that consist of an erect and cylindrical-shaped stem. The stems may or may not be branched, depending on the species. Smaller versions are the ones that grow in a globular manner. These are the ball-shaped shorter and smaller versions of the columnar cacti. The cactus that grow in this pattern are mostly solitary succulents or may develop several clusters that may be sharing the same root.

Other cacti growing in tropical regions develop as epiphytes, which are plants that grow on other plants deriving their nutrients from the surrounding air. Others emerge as climbers that can grow to enormous sizes. These kinds usually have flattened stems with little or no spines.

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What Is Special About A Cactus?
A thick-stemmed and thorny cactus @cappucinoforpt

Unique Physical Cacti Characteristics

Specialized skin surface

The cacti have a waxy, shiny skin that helps them survive the harsh weather conditions in some of their natural habitats. The coating on the skin is ribbed and covers the exterior of most cacti species. The ribs allow the crop to easily stretch without breaking the surface when the plant absorbs water during the rainy season. The ribs also provide some shade to the plant’s skin. The waxy, shiny texture works towards reducing the rate at which evaporation is taking place. 

The spines

Well, the needles are perhaps the most known feature that characterizes a cactus as one. The sharp prickly features are not only for aesthetics but also helps the plant to survive. One of the ways it has done so is by taking the place of leaves when compared to other plants. The reduced number or lack thereof the leaves means the plant has fewer stomata, which consequently means less water loss. Secondly, the spines protect the plant from animals and humans from interfering with it. The needles also help the succulent shed its skin and insulating the crop during the cold, dry weather.

In some cactus, these spines help collect rainwater by directing the droplets towards the plant’s roots. The needles also provide shade to the succulent from the hot glazing sun.

Take a look at the article for “Taking Care of the Old Lady Cactus” for a look at a cactus with little spines and interesting features.

What Is Special About A Cactus?
Different cacti species @kaktusyesilii

Specialized root system

Cacti plants have a somewhat different root system as compared to the other flora found growing in harsh conditions. As opposed to having deep roots, they have an extensive, shallow root system that spread widely to all directions and sit right below the surface. Whenever there is a downpour, torrential, or light, the roots absorb the water from the surfaces above them faster and more efficiently. These roots grow exponentially during these wet times, but when it gets drier, they wither and break off from the parent plant to conserve water further.

Their flowers 

All cactus species have flowerets that grow at least once in their growth cycle. Some get flowers very early in their infancy and some take months and years to develop. Some even never get to bloom because of the conditions they are exposed to in their habitats. Well, the flowering part is not what makes them unique but how the individual flowers look like. The flowers have both the petals and the sepals combined, and they have numerous stamens around a multi-lobed stigma. The petals are at least ten in number. The flowers bloom in different sizes and colors, all dependent on the species.

Some of these flowers develop into fruits that both humans and animals can eat, although one should take caution, as some of these fruits are poisonous and not safe for consumption.

Be sure to not miss our article “Why is the Prickly Pear Cactus One of the Most Popular Cacti?” to see this cactus. See why it’s so popular!

Areoles

An areole is a raised structure on the surface of the cactus that the spines originate from. This is the distinguishing trait that only the cactus family possesses. These parts of the plant are circular or oval-shaped; they appear like raised fusion-discs and are fully covered by small hairs or sharp spikes. Some other plants have spines, but if they do not come from an areola, they are not cacti.

What Is Special About A Cactus?
Potted cacti @nannipereira

The cactus species never ceases to amaze, and if you were to house all the types in your backyard, you would run out of space. The traits mentioned earlier should, with no doubt, convince you that the cacti are a unique and special family of plants. With their exotic-looking features, any setting should be glad to host these wonders of nature.

Thank you for reading! Don’t run out of cactus content! Check out more from the cactus species like “Everything You Need to Know About the Brain Cactus” or “Does the Bunny Cactus Hop?” for more fun cactus facts and info.

If you liked this read, you’re going to love our full in-depth ebooks! With so many of our succulent lovers asking for more, we listened and can’t wait to share it with you here! With our very detailed ebooks, you’ll get more information than these short articles, some ebooks are 30+ pages, perfect for a weekend read. 

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.

Light

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.

Temperature

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.

Water

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”.

Soil

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! ?

 

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