Switch up traditional houseplant styles and grow your own cactus garden indoors.

By Julie Bawden-Davis

Want to bring the beauty of the desert into your home? Grow an indoor cactus garden. With their striking architectural shapes and eye-catching colors, indoor cactus plants make an attractive addition to the home.

How to Pick the Best Cactus

They may be a bit on the picky (and prickly) side, but when you're armed with helpful information, you can have luck growing cactus indoors. In order to have a successful indoor cactus, it's important to buy healthy plants. Look for plants that appear robust. Use a pencil or similar object to gently poke the base of each cactus. It should be firm. If the base is wobbly or squishy, avoid getting the plant, as it most likely has root rot. Another sign of good cactus health is dry soil.

Indoor Cactus Care Tips

The following cactus plant care tips will help you grow healthy desert plants.

  • Provide abundant light. Most cacti are from the desert, where sunlight is abundant. Indoor cactus requires ample light to grow well, which means light from an unobstructed southern or eastern window. If you don't have sufficient light coming through a window, get full-spectrum indoor lighting, which are light bulbs that simulate sunlight. They can be put in any type of fixture. If your desert garden experiences low light for an extended period of time, the plants are likely to develop root rot. They may also attract pests, such as mealybugs.
  • Avoid temperature extremes. Cacti require even temperatures to grow well indoors. Aim for growing them between 65 to 85 degrees Fahrenheit. This means keeping them away from drafty areas and doorways during the cold months of the year.
  • Water sparingly. For the best cactus care, it's vital to avoid overwatering your plants, which can lead to root rot. In their natural desert environment, cacti get watered only when it rains infrequently, so they're used to dry conditions. Water cactus with warm water when the soil has dried out.
  • Feed periodically. For the healthiest indoor cactus garden, fertilize the plants every two months. Cacti respond well to fertilizers with an NPK ratio of 15-15-30.

How to Grow Mini Cactus

Some cacti that grow outdoors in desert regions reach several feet tall and wide at maturity. Feel free to try growing large indoor cactus, but you'll have more luck with small specimens in an indoor cactus garden.

Some easy-to-grow mini cactus plants include Chin cactus (Gymnocalycium) and hedgehog cactus (Echinocereus coccineus). Both of these are flowering cactus plants. You can also add a splash of color to your cactus garden by growing the ruby ball cactus, which is also a Gymnocalycium. This plant features two cacti in one. The top part is a striking red color and the bottom is green.


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