Cacti are plants that can store water in their leaves and stems which allows them to survive in very dry places. These hardy desert plants have been in and out of the horticultural scene for a long time but have recently become popular with lovers of the bohemian trend as indoor potted Cacti fit perfectly within a minimalist Palm Springs or Joshua Tree aesthetic.
I am a strong believer that once you own your first prickly little friend, an addiction will take a hold of you. This is because they have so much character and are so incredibly simple to care for — you just can’t help but admire them. For example, in summer you only need to water most Cacti sparingly once a fortnight and then from April through to October you can leave them completely alone — no water required.
Propagating a Cactus is also very simple. Using a clean sterilised knife, simply cut off one of the “arms”. Leave the cutting to dry out and callus over to prevent a fungi outbreak (roughly two weeks), and then place it in Cactus and Succulent potting mix and you are good to go!
Top Tip: If you are in the market for a Cactus, have a good hunt through Trademe and Facebook Marketplace first, as frequently you will come across large specimens that are being cut out of gardens with large cuttings going for cheap or even free. Decent sized Cacti in a shop cost a lot as it takes such a long time for them to grow to a decent size. That’s why you only see small specimens for sale in all your major NZ indoor plant retailers.
So, you want to purchase your first Cactus, great! Now to decide what variety to buy and what pots should you plant them into. Below I will outline my personal top 3 favourites and the pots I recommend that best suit our desert pals.
RECOMMENDED POTS AND PLANTS TO ACHIEVE THE LOOK:
- San Pedro Cactus (Echinopsis pachanoi)
The San Pedro Cactus is arguably the most well-known and popular cactus out there although they are not always easy to find in your usual plant shops. This is because they are also a powerful hallucinogenic when consumed. Hailing from South America, this column shaped Cactus is incredibly fast-growing and produces beautiful big white flowers in summer making it a very rewarding and exciting Cactus to grow. To get the most out of your San Pedro, place indoors in a sunny spot.
- African Milk Tree (Euphorbia Trigona)
African milk tree is native to Central Africa where it can often be used to create hedges, probably quite effectively I would imagine due to its spiky thorns! Technically a succulent, this plant likes bright indirect light the best which suits many homes well. The African Milk Tree will grow small, delicate leaves that are shed every year and replaced by new ones.
- Prickly Pear (Opuntia Cactus)
The Prickly Pear Cactus is native to parts of North America where it gained its name from the large oval shaped edible yellow and red fruit it produces (see image below). If using indoors, the prickly pear must be placed in a spot that gets direct sunlight, such as next to a window.
POTS TO PLANT IN
These wooden pots give a warm earthy vibe and look incredible against fresh white walls.
These planters are available in two sizes on The Green Room website here.
Old World Pots
Cacti together with weathered, antique looking pots are a match made in heaven.
Aged Terracotta or Concrete Pots
To achieve a weathered or aged look on a budget, buy a large terracotta pot, a pot of natural yoghurt and a brush or sponge. Using the brush or sponge, completely cover the surface of the pot in yoghurt and leave it in a shaded place until it achieves the desired look, at least one month.