Houseplant of the Month - Cacti
With their strong architectural shapes, cacti make a bold statement in any bright room.
Like succulents, cacti have low maintenance needs, making them a very easy houseplant option and an ideal feature piece for your desk or coffee table.
Whilst cacti are members of the succulent family, their spines classify them as a separate group. All cacti are ‘Americans’, ranging as far north as western Canada down to the southernmost tip of South America. They have adapted to cope in all landscape conditions from high and low altitude deserts to tropical rainforests, where they climb up or live upon trees.
Desert cacti are the most familiar range, heralding from the hot American deserts and high Patagonia plains. They are usually covered in masses of spines, earning names such as ‘Mother-in-Law’s armchair’ or ‘Prickly Pear’. This group prefers a sunny, south facing room.
The forest cacti are from tropical areas and need to be treated slightly differently to their desert-growing cousins. They prefer an east facing room or partial shade, mimicking forest conditions. The most common types of these are the Christmas Cactus, Easter Cactus and Orchid Cactus.
All cacti prefer an open, free draining compost to thrive. Premixed cacti-compost is ideal and readily available, else mix John Innes No2 with 30% extra grit or fine gravel by volume.
Allow their compost to dry out between watering as they don’t like being soggy and feed in the spring and summer with a formulated cacti feed as they need less nitrogen than foliage plants.
- Grow in a bright, sunny room
- Water little and often and allow to drain before repositioning
- Don’t let these plants sit in water else they won’t be happy
- Occasionally apply a cacti feed as a tonic
- Rarely needs repotting
For more information on Cacti that are suitable for your home, refer to our handy leaflet here.