Indoor cacti are pretty to look at and can be a great addition to any room. They’re also relatively easy to grow if you know the proper steps. In this article, we’ll go over essential care instructions for how to grow cactus plants indoors so you can have yours thriving in no time.
First, let’s talk about what precisely an indoor cactus is. An indoor cactus is a plant from the opuntia genus, including prickly pear, cholla, organ pipe, and saguaro. These plants sure do love living indoors. They can be grown in small, decorative pots or even your planter outside. If you’re looking to grow one indoors, the key is light exposure and water.
Keep reading for tips on how to keep your indoor cactus plants happy!
How Long Does It Take Cactus Plants To Grow?
Cacti grow at a slow rate, and indoor cacti are no exception. It takes about six months for an indoor cactus to reach maturity. After that, many indoor cactus plants will bloom. As adult plants, cactus tend to grow at the rate of about one inch every year.
How to Grow Cactus Plants Indoors
How often you need to water your indoor cacti, how much light they get, and what temperature range is best will all depend on which type of indoor cactus plants you’re caring for. The tips below are general for most types of cacti and will provide an excellent base of knowledge for caring for cactus plants indoors.
Ideal Lighting for Cactus Plants
Generally, indoor cactus plants need to be near a window that gets a good amount of natural light. The sunlight needs to hit the surfaces of the cactus without any shade from other plants or objects, and it should also not be too hot. If your indoor cactus doesn’t get enough light, it will turn yellow and stop growing.
Cactus plants prefer bright sunlight but not direct sunlight. Indoor lighting works just fine as long as it’s bright enough that your plant can photosynthesize through the day with minimal sun exposure (about five hours of indirect or filtered natural light).
Ideal Temperature for Cacti
An indoor cactus plant needs a temperature range of 65 to 75 degrees Fahrenheit to thrive. If the indoor temperatures are too hot or cold, they can develop root rot or other issues.
How to Grow Cactus Plants Indoors – The Watering Schedule
You can water your indoor cactus plant once a week or when the soil feels dry. If you’re not sure how long to let it go without water, try waiting until the top inch of the pot’s surface is dry before giving them water again.
If you’re looking for other ways to ensure your indoor cacti have enough water, you can try misting them with a spray bottle or using humidity trays. To make indoor cacti more humid, place an inch of pebbles at the bottom of your pot and add water to cover it before adding soil on top. The stones will retain moisture for up to two weeks!
Lastly, if your indoor cactus is in bright sunlight during the day (whether artificial or natural) then be sure they’re not sitting directly in it as this could scorch them, regardless of how well you water them.
How to Grow Cactus Plants Indoors – Planting and Repotting
It’s best to plant indoor cacti about an inch below the surface of the potting soil. Indoor cactus plants should also be repotted every three to four years when they start becoming root-bound in their containers.
Pruning Your Cactus Plants Indoors
Indoor cacti don’t need to be pruned, generally, but if they are overgrown or have leaves that are dying off, it’s a good idea to cut them back. It’s best only to do this in the spring when new growth starts up again.
Propagating Cactus Plants
Indoor cactus plants can be propagated by cutting off a healthy stem or leaf. You’ll want to cut it at the base and pot it up in damp soil with some sunlight exposure. The new plant will grow roots after about two weeks, so make sure you keep your indoor cacti away from direct sunlight for 12 hours per day while they’re rooting.
Fertilizing Your Indoor Cactus Plants – What To Use?
Fertilizers explicitly made for cacti and succulents work best because they typically contain no harsh chemicals which could hurt indoor plants. With indoor cactus plants, the best option is a water-soluble, organic fertilizer.
How to Grow Cactus Plants Indoors – Tips on Pests
Pests are not as common indoors, but pests such as mealybugs can sometimes show up under bright lights and near windowsills where they enjoy the heat. If this happens, try lightly spraying them with water, then use a soap spray product with insecticidal properties. Or try spraying them lightly with neem oil.
How to Choose the Right Cactus Plants for You
Now that we’ve covered everything there is to know about indoor cactus care, let’s get growing! The first step is deciding what type of indoor cactus plant you’re interested in caring for, based on light exposure needs and temperature range requirements. Then purchase your chosen variety from your local nursery or online.
We’ve provided a list below of the best cactus for indoor gardening for those looking for a specific kind of indoor garden plant but who don’t have time to research options.
What Is The Best Type Of Cactus For Indoor Growing?
There are a few different indoor cacti that work well in indoor gardens. But the best indoor cactus to grow is one that has a temperature range of 65-75 degrees Fahrenheit. That way, your indoor cacti will be comfortable no matter what time of year it is! Here are some indoor cactus recommendations.
Echinocereus rigidissimus (Golden Spine)
This cactus thrives and blooms during the summer months when it’s hot out. It can grow up to six inches a year, so it’s also great for indoor cactus gardeners who don’t have much time.
Echinocereus triglochidiatus (Fairy Cane)
This indoor cactus is the perfect choice if you’re looking for something that will tolerate colder temperatures and low light levels during the winter months since they thrive in these conditions.
Opuntia chlorotica (Claret Cup)
If you want an indoor cactus plant with flowers at all times of the year, this one has vibrant red blooms from spring through fall when grown near enough to natural or artificial sunlight. This particular species prefers warmer temperatures which makes them ideal indoor plants for carefree indoor cactus gardeners.
Mammillaria heyderi (Heyder’s Pincushion Cactus)
This indoor species is perfect for those who want a plant that thrives in low light levels and tolerates colder temperatures. Its tolerances make it the best indoor cactus to grow if you don’t have natural or artificial sunlight nearby.
Carnegiea gigantea (Saguaro Cactus)
If you’re looking for something unique, this type of indoor cactus provides dramatic height with beautiful blooms all year long. It’s also one of the most cold-tolerant indoor plants around. However, this variety prefers warm daytime temperatures most, so be sure to put them near sunny windowsills during the day but away from them at night.
Christmas Cactus (Thanksgiving Cactus)
These indoor plant varieties have narrow leaves with sharp spines on their outer edges. The spines provide a beautiful contrast against red flowers. They do well indoors and prefer warm daytime temperatures and low light levels during the night.
Opuntia fragilis (Golden Barrel Cactus or Ladyfinger Cholla)
This indoor cactus is perfect for those looking for a plant that thrives in low light levels and tolerates colder temperatures. It’s also easy to care for indoors because it doesn’t need much watering!
Sclerocactus papyracanthus (Fishhook Cactus)
If you’re looking for an indoor cactus with dramatic spines, this one has stunning red flowers all year long as well. It’s excellent at growing tall indoors, so it will make a statement wherever you place it. Just be sure to keep them away from windowsills during the day since they thrive during nighttime hours when there’s less incoming sunlight.
Cereus peruvianus var monstrosa (Queen of the Night)
These indoor plants are known for their beautiful blooms, which grow up to six inches long. They need plenty of water and full sunlight to thrive indoors, but they do well in low light levels as long as they have sufficient watering.
Echinocereus turekianus (Golden Hedgehog Cactus)
This indoor cactus has beautiful blooms that make for a great addition to any indoor garden or home decor arrangement. These plants are known for their tolerance to colder temperatures. It’s best to place them near windowsills during the day if you want optimal bloom production while keeping them away from direct sun exposure. This reduces flowering success rates and is harmful to indoor plants with sensitive skin.
How to Grow Cactus Plants Indoors – The Wrap-up
Cacti can be rewarding indoor plants if you know how to take care of them. Indoor cactus gardeners must invest in good quality soil, pots, and containers for their plants since this provides the best environment for healthy growth indoors. In general, cactus plants can be grown with little effort, time, or money. Just be sure to pick the best variety for you and get growing!