Cactus house plants are available in all sorts of weird and wonderful shapes, and sizes. The two types originate from the desert (most popular) or the forest and differ in appearance and the natural habitat they thrive in, which reflects on the care needed for each of them.
Rat’s Tail – Aporocactus Flagelliformis
The rat’s tail type is a good option for those that like to display hanging plants. At first glance it looks like a dread-lock type of hair style with flowers or a kind of Medusa look, because the stems grow outwards and hang over the pot. This blooms plenty of deep pink or red tubular shaped flowers along the stems.
Peruvian Apple – Cereus Peruvianus
The Cereus peruvianus is also known as the columnar cactus because the stem’s grow upright, similar to a column. The image to the left shows them growing with a single stem; however, they can grow many. There is some confusion in reference to the scientific and common names for this cacti.
Bunny Ears – Opuntia Microdasys
We can see the obvious reason an Opuntia microdasys gets it’s common name of bunny ears (the pads that grow in the shape of rabbits or mouse ears). These grow an oval pad type stem that has polka dot looking glochids (hair spines) covering them, evenly. A grower has to be careful not to remove the glochids by accident.
Christmas (Thanksgiving) – Schlumbergera Bridgesii
The Christmas cacti plant is the most popular of the forest type and has similarities with the Easter cactus. The main difference between these two is the period when the flowers bloom. This blooms between November – January and the Easter species displays it’s flowers in April or May.
Easter Cactus – Hatiora Gaertneri
The Easter cacti is classed as a forest type cactus which has stems and leaves that grow arched over (similar to the Christmas plant), although the leaves are different when comparing both of these. The bell shaped flowers bloom in a bright red or pink within spring and look lush.
Orchid – Disocactus Ackermannii
Orchid’s are very popular cacti plant’s that bloom and display beautiful flowers – with many petals, up to 4 -7 inches wide. There are a fair few of these named the orchid cacti that are not the Disocactus ackermannii, which are hybrids such as the Disocactus × hybridus or Epiphyllum hybrid.
Golden Barrel Cactus – Echinocactus Grusonii
This cactus is more suitable for growing in rockery settings within a garden, or in a patio or desert style landscapes. They do flower, although it seems to be quite hard to get them to bloom. This globular shaped cacti is available with spines and spineless. The stem is ribbed.
Elyssa Goins is an experienced house plant hobbyist who maintains over a hundred plants. She is a gardener, beekeeper, and a proud mother of four. She is a member of the American Horticultural Society, has a published study in the National Social Science Association, and loves to talk about her love of plants. For the past twenty years, she’s been all about growing and caring for various fruits, veggies, herbs, livestock, kids, and houseplants. Managing a big garden to feed four growing kids and raising dairy goats has taught her so much about being an excellent plant parent and now is her time to share with you.