Flower Care Flower Facts Flower Information Garden Plants

Cactus Flowers: Varieties and Care Guide

Pink strawberry hedgehog cactus flowers blooming

When you think of cacti, you probably imagine spiky plants sitting in the desert. And while these succulent plants are certainly sharp, cactus flowers also offer tremendous beauty. If you provide flowering cacti with the proper care, you’ll be rewarded by stunning blooms that range in color from yellow to red to pink.

We’ve gathered up a list of some of the best types of flowering cacti that you can grow at home. You can tuck these plants indoors for a dose of beauty, Plus, we’ve provided some care tips to help keep both you and your desert-dwelling friends happy.

Cactus Flower Varieties & Care Tips

One of the best aspects of owning cacti is their low-maintenance lifestyle. Heading away for vacation for a week? No worries, your cactus will be fine. Forget to water the cactus in your office lobby? That’s okay, the plant will still survive!

Since they’re so easy to care for and offer beautiful blooms, cacti can be a great addition to homes, offices, and more. If you’re interested in adding one of these plants to your home, check out this list of flowering cacti that work well as houseplants. Once you find one you like, you can pick one up from a nursery or order plants online.

Christmas Cactus (Schlumbergera x buckleyi)

Growing zone: 9–11

Sun: bright, indirect light

Soil: well-draining and moist

Water: water when the top few inches of soil is dry

As its name suggests, the Christmas cactus produces bright pink or red during the winter months, often around the end of the year. Although it’s a cactus, it’s a bit different from other types of cacti; it’s native to the tropical South American rainforest rather than a desert, and has leather-like leaves that lack spines.

Powder Puff Cactus (Mammillaria bocasana)

Growing zone: 9–11

Sun: bright, direct light

Soil: well-draining

Water: water thoroughly when the top half of soil is dry

At first glance, this cactus may appear to be covered in hundreds of tiny hairs. But when you take a closer look, you’ll realize these “hairs” are actually spikes! Not only do these plant’s spikes make it unique, but so does its growth habit. Over time, the plant will continue to produce more and more stems, leading to a clustered appearance. The plant also produces super cute, tiny, pink flowers.

It’s native to high elevations in Central Mexico, where it has become quite rare. As such, people are now prohibited from collecting this cactus from the wild.

Powder puff cactus flowers blooming

Strawberry Hedgehog Cactus (Echinocereus engelmannii)

Growing zone: 9–11

Sun: full sun

Soil: well-draining

Water: wait until soil is almost dry then saturate

Also known as the saint’s caucus or Engleman’s hedgehog cactus, this cactus flower produces cylindrical stems that range from 4–12 inches tall. The stems are covered with long spikes that demand that you treat these plants with caution. As long as you provide them with enough light and the proper care, they’ll reward you with large magenta flowers each spring.

Claret Cactus (Acanthocereus tetragonus)

Growing zone: 10–11

Sun: Full sun

Soil: Well-draining

Water: Water well then allow soil to almost fully dry before watering again

Also known as the kingcup cactus, this type of hedgehog cactus is known for its clusters of sharp spines as well as bright red flowers. All of the plant’s stems often become covered in these fiery flowers at the same time, leading to a jaw-dropping display of beauty. And since this cactus remains quite short, it’s easy to fit into just about any space.

Star Cactus (Astrophytum asterias)

Growing zone:  9–11

Sun: Full sun

Soil: Well-draining

Water: Allow soil to dry out in between waterings then water well

Also known as the sea urchin cactus or sand dollar cactus, this lil’ guy is native to the deserts of the Southwest United States and Northern Mexico. While it was once abundant in its native range, it’s now considered an endangered species in the United States. That said, it’s relatively easy to find as a houseplant.

It maxes out at about three inches tall, which means it can fit into even the smallest of spaces. Place it in a pot and stick it on the corner of your desk or nestle it beside plates and mugs on a sunny kitchen window. If you provide this cactus flower with the proper environment, you may be rewarded by yellow flowers with red interiors.

Blooming star cactus flower

Rat Tail Cactus (Aporocactus flagelliformis)

Growing zone: 10–11

Sun: Full sun

Soil: Well-draining and acidic

Water: Allow soil to dry out in between waterings then water well

With trailing stems that can grow over five feet long, it’s no surprise the rat tail cactus is such a popular houseplant. The plant produces bright pink, red, or orange flowers in the spring and early summer. While the stems may appear harmless, you should be cautious of the many small spikes that dot the stem.

Flowering Cactus Care for Homes

If you want to keep your indoor cacti happy, keep the following tips and tricks in mind.

Choose a Well-Draining Soil

Since cacti are desert-dwelling plants, they’re used to growing in sandy and well-draining soils. That means you’ll want to plant these spiky plants in a soil mix that mimics their native soils. A mix that is designed for cacti and succulents is the best bet, but you can also mix 3/4 sand with 1/4 peat-based potting mix.

Along with choosing a well-draining potting mix, you should pay attention to the type of pot you choose. While materials including terra cotta, ceramic, and plastic are all suitable, the pot must include drainage holes.

Provide Lots of Bright Sun

One of the reasons cacti fail to produce flowers is a lack of light. Most cacti thrive when they receive at least six hours of bright, direct light. Yes, that’s right, we said direct light! While many houseplants prefer indirect light, the majority of cacti like their light as bright as possible.

Placing them near a south-facing window is often the best bet. However, they can also thrive near a west-facing window or in the middle of a brightly-lit room. If you find you don’t have an area that receives at least six hours of bright light, you may want to use a grow light.

Take Note of Spikes

While not all cacti have razor-sharp spikes, some do. If you decide to bring a pincushion-like plant into your home, it’s important that you take the proper precautions to keep you and everyone around you safe!

If you live with pets or small children, keep your cacti out of reach of curious and unknowing hands and paws. This may involve placing a cactus on a high shelf or tucking it on top of a stack of books.

You can also consider opting for less spiky cacti such as the Christmas cactus or Easter cactus.

Add Beauty with Cactus Flowers

While cacti sometimes get a bit of bad rap for being tough and dangerous plants, they can also add color and charm. Once you’ve selected a flowering cactus (or two) to add to your home, provide them with the right care, and watch as they light up the space with bright blooms.

If you want to add even more natural beauty to your world, consider planting some flowering trees and check out plants and flowers that attract hummingbirds. And if you don’t have room for an outdoor garden, don’t worry! You can always order a flower delivery when you need a bit of fresh beauty in your life.

Shop All

You Might Also Like