Cacti are the perfect low-maintenance plants, yet visually stunning gardens. They require very little care and attention, which is excellent for people who don’t have the time to devote to their garden. Moreover, these desert dwellers are surprisingly diverse. There are many different shapes, sizes and varieties of cacti out there! Thus, we’ve compiled a list of 6 types of cactus plants you can introduce your garden with, to give you some inspiration – scroll down to find out more!
Prickly Pear Cactus
The first type of Cactus plants is called “Prickly Pear Cactus”, a pretty succulent plant that grows in clusters with long green stems and small, sharp spines. The plant is native to Mexico and its stems & fruits are widely utilised in food and medicines in the Mexican culture. According to the studies, the pulp in prickly pear pectin can lower the levels of ‘bad’ cholesterol and maintain the ‘good’ ones. Apart from this, the fibrous pectin in the fruit can significantly lower the need for insulin in diabetics.
This huge, reaching for the sky, green columnar cactus never fails to fascinate the onlookers. This type of cactus is composed of thick, tall, fluted and columnar stems, 18 to 24 inches in diameter, having several large branches (arms) bending upward giving it a distinct look. It is also home to a dense cluster of creamy-white, three-inch wide flowers with a yellow centre that blooms during desert nights of May and June and closes by the next midday. Given its moderate growth rate, you can keep them as indoor houseplants as well. Just keep them in bright sunlight and water once a month.
One of the popular types of cactus plants, the Barrel cactus is a plum, round and ribbed-shaped plant that is perfect for a beginner gardener. The Barrel cacti can survive for decades, grow a maximum of up to 3 feet when kept indoors and also feature cute yellow, pink, orange or red flowers. Therefore, if you are looking for an attractive addition to your succulent display, count this one in.
Star Cactus belongs to the cactus species of Cactaceae. Also known as starfish or sea-urchin cactus, star cactus is a tiny, dwarf-sized indoor plant that beautifully enhances any garden aesthetics. Endangered in the wild, the showstopper of this type of cactus plant is the cluster of white & yellow flowers and a star-like appearance. Most importantly, the plant grows well in the UAE and does fine with minimal care; just like the case with most succulents out there.
Among the nearly endless cactus varieties, the beautiful, bright and colourful moon cactus steals the show. Moon Cactus is also known as Gymnocalycium mihanovichii or Hibotan cactus and made up of two different cacti grafted together. Over 80 species of Moon cactus are found in different parts of South America. Since they are devoid of the necessary chlorophyll to produce plant sugars via the process of photosynthesis, the plants are grafted onto chlorophyll species to help the moon cactus thrive for several years.
One cactus that paints the drab days of winter pink, magenta and lilac, is the Christmas Cactus. Christmas Cactus don’t settle in hot, arid environments, unlike other cacti. Since they are native to the tropical rainforests of Southern Brazil, they don’t take in the dry conditions like other cacti. Just water them thoroughly, provide partial or diffused light and feed with a balanced fertiliser during the early spring and summer. Schlumbergera truncata, Schumbelgera bridgesii and Rhipsalidopsis gaertnerii are the three types of Christmas Cactus that you can grow indoors.
Tending to cactus plants is a whole new level of experience in itself. After all, what’s not to like in them? So, if the aforementioned types of cactus plants have piqued your interest, introduce them to your garden right away!