Desert cacti hail from throughout the arid regions of the America’s and surrounding islands. There are no desert cacti native to the old world and only one jungle species from Madagascar. But you can grow them in some of the most unusual places; outdoors, indoors, in an old boot, in an old tree stump, on a roof or on a windowsill.

There are small rounded, flat, or cylindrical plants; there are shrubby, segmented and sprawling. There are also the large columnar and tree-like giants. Although even within each of these groups growing conditions vary from one plant to another. (That is why we always send out a care guide with each plant.)

Most cacti prefer a nutrient rich, rocky soil with good drainage. For indoor plants, use a premixed cacti potting soil or make your own. Outdoors the soil in the area should be free draining and not prone to water pooling during wet weather. Add pumice, rocks and sand to aid drainage.

Their ability to survive in extremely hot, arid, harsh habitats is a truly fantastic attribute of cacti. However the notion that cacti do not need water or that they actually must avoid water in order to survive is definitely untrue. The reality is water is essential for all cacti to live. Their reputation comes from their ability to survive in areas where water is available in small amounts or is delivered infrequently.

Cacti love sunlight, so be sure not to plant them in a constantly shaded area. With your indoor plants, a sunny windowsill or a room that has plenty of natural light is the ideal choice. Here are a few cacti that are perfect for beginners:

REBUTIA SPECIES

Native to Argentina and Bolivia. The plant is generally small, colourful, globular or flattened. Flowers are funnel shaped with floral tubes that often extend and curve upwards over the plant. Floral tubes features scales and may have hairs but not spines. The colours vary from red, white, pink, orange, yellow and a two – tone colour as well.

MAMMILLARIA

Mammillaria Plumosa var Roseiflora This is the largest cactus genus and the plants originate primarily from the USA and Mexico. Most species are ideal for windowsill cultivation and will reward you with a ring of small flowers for long periods through the summer. In Holland, Mammillaria zeilmannianais is the traditional Mother’s Day plant, and the Dutch nurseries produce millions of them especially for the occasion.

ECHINOPSIS

Native to South America, they are known as hedgehog cactus, Sea-urchin cactus, or Easter lily cactus. Some are known as peanut cactus. The 128 species range from large and treelike types to small flattened-globose cacti. The flowers are quite large in size and form a tube stem before opening. They like full sun but require afternoon shade from the hot weather. Don’t over water as they like to keep dry and well drained soil is required.

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