If you’re looking for ways to liven up a space or add a bit of personality to your home, look no further than the fascinating cactus. Not only do they come in all shapes and sizes, they are seriously low maintenance too. Here are 10 reasons why you need more cacti in your life.
1) There are over 2000 species to choose from!
Whether you want something small, tall, fuzzy or smooth, there is definitely something for everyone! The ‘Spikey Pack’ is the easiest way to start a collection and it’s also a great way to discover new favorites!
2) Because geometry is cool!
You may have hated that class in school, but the mesmerizing and complex geometric patterns in cacti is pretty darn incredible. Some theories suggest that the spiral arrangement of their tubercles and ribs not only give structure to the plant, but also allow for expansion and contraction that occurs when they are watered. Others even suggest they act as miniature fins, keeping the plant cool in hot weather by casting tiny shadows onto the plant. Awesome.
3) Not all of them sting!
Many species of cacti have a wooly covering and others have a rubbery texture that are completely thornless! Be careful though, there still could be thorns hiding underneath that fuzzy outer layer. Some examples of these include Espostoa 'Peruvian Old Lady', Cereus 'Ming Thing' , and Echinopsis 'Domino Cactus'.
If you ask any collector why they love their cacti so much, many will tell you hands down that it’s because of their showy flowers! Every cacti species is capable of producing flowers if given proper watering, fertilization and light. However, some (not all) take many years to achieve this but it’s totally worth the wait!
(I didn’t have many photos of their blooms but your Gymnocalycium 'Purple Moon Cactus' would be a good fit here)
5) Super easy to propagate.
Many varieties can be propagated and will root easily when taken in their natural growth season. Here, I cut off an offset from this Mammillaria elongata 'Copper King' with clean, sharp scissors and placed in a shady spot to callous for at least a week (it’s a good idea to treat both wounds with sulfur powder).
Plant the offshoot in a small pot that contains a mix of 50% potting soil to 50% pumice and cover with a fine layer of grit to help hold it upright. Water right away but do not water again until the soil is completely dry to the touch. Check every couple of weeks for roots by tugging on it with tweezers or (tongs if it’s huge!). If you feel resistance then it has rooted! Note: Cooler months will require much less water.
6) Are also easy to grow from seed!
Cacti seeds are larger than those of other succulents making them a little more forgiving when it comes to germination. There are some great growing guides online, simply search “how to grow cacti from seed” or feel free to contact me on Instagram @LittleEmeraldThumb. (not sure which images u want here so I attached them all in the email)
7) Improves air quality and gives a better night’s sleep!
Cacti are said to be the best at reducing radiation and bacteria. At night, they absorb carbon dioxide and release oxygen which helps give you the sweetest of dreams!
8) They come in blue.
Need I say more? The glaucous blue coating on this Tephrocactus geometricus helps protect the plant from the elements by wicking away water and acts as a built-in sunscreen. Other examples of cacti with this blue hue include Melocactus azureus, Myrtillocactus geometrizans 'Blue Candle', and Myrtillocactus geometrizans cristata.
9) So that you can create your own Frankenstein plant.
Grafting is by far one of the most interesting things that can be done with cacti. It is actually a way to quickly grow species that are naturally slow growers or don’t produce offsets . The top part (the scion) doesn’t have to waste energy growing roots when it is directly grafted onto a rootstock. Grafting is also done to help cultivar mutants such as the Moon Cactus to survive since they lack chlorophyll. The rootstock of this captivating plant is usually Hylocereus undatus (aka dragon fruit) which helps with photosynthesis. Without it, the brightly-colored, chlorophyll-lacking moon cactus wouldn’t be able to survive!
10) Low Maintenance
Cacti are masters at storing water so if you’re constantly busy (who isn’t?) or planning a vacation, they’ll be just fine until you return. The spines of a cactus are actually modified leaves so they, along with their waxy coating, work together to retain moisture for long periods of time.
Your new cacti won’t ask for much; give ‘em a splash of water, a bit of sunshine, and a touch of love and they’ll reward you for years to come!