Best Small Cactus Species to Grow Indoors

Cacti is one of the most undemanding plants found in different sizes. Some grow huge, and others grow small to fit into pots. The truth is that a new trend has recently made its way into homes, growing small cactuses.

The best is that you can find a cactus with or without sharp spines and flower buds in different colors to place on a desk, table, or in a hanging basket. Here is our list of small cactus plants you can grow in your living space to keep on a desk or a table.

Sand Dollar Cactus/ Star Cactus

small dollar cactus

There is nothing cuter than the star cactus Astrophytum asteria. From a bird’s eye view, the sand dollar cactus looks like a sand dollar and a star. It is a friendly spineless cactus with a chubby round body.

The star cactus is easy to grow and works perfectly as an indoor plant. The round chubby body extends up to six inches wide and has ridged sides covered with white dots. The indoor cacti bloom yellow flowers with orange centers between March and May, growing under the right conditions.

As the blooms fade out, it makes place for berries in late spring. Growing indoors in a sandy potting mix, it needs full sun and occasional watering. As the cactus stores a lot of water, it helps to be careful not to overwater, leading to root rot.

It is also a friendly cactus, not poisonous to humans or pets.

Christmas Cactus

christmas cactus

Another friendly small plant is the Christmas cactus Schlumbergera bridgessii, also known as the Christmas Cactus Schlumbergera. Unfortunately, many people get confused with this succulent, thinking it is the Easter Cactus or Thanksgiving Cactus.

The Christmas cactus blooms around the festive season hence the name. Caring for it is simple and makes for an ideal holiday gift. The cactus blooms reddish to pink and does not enjoy bright sunlight too much.

You can propagate the plant using cuttings, and it grows well indoors. Yet, during the growing season, it helps to keep your plant watered and water sparingly as fall arrives to produce the gorgeous blooms.

You can grow the Christmas cactus in a well-draining mix, which is non-toxic to humans and pets. The best part is this plant has no spines.

Moon Cactus

moon cactus

A recognizable indoor cactus is the moon cactus Gymnocalycium mihanovichii. The cactus plant has a unique shape ranging from red, orange, and pink, to yellow. Hence, the neon colors you find in the ball-shape appearance.

Another thing is that the moon cactus is grafted and is a human design. It is also an ideal indoor cactus if you are a first-time plant parent. The cactus is low-maintenance and placed in a bright spot away from direct sunlight.

The moon cactus is like any other cacti in watering, as it needs a little to thrive. You will find that it will bring a pop of color into your living space, which is slow growing.

Bunny Ear Cactus

bunny ear cactus

The Opuntia microdasys is another cute indoor cactus, but it does have spines. The bunny ears cactus also goes by the typical name angel wings cactus or polka dot cactus. It is a cousin of the prickly pear cactus found in the southwest.

The plant is native to South America in Mexico, growing in arid to semi-arid environments. It has a unique bunny ear appearance, and growing them indoors is simple. Hence, it needs a dry with low humidity condition with a sunny spot.

But an important thing to remember is that it can grow up to three feet and needs trimming to keep it at a small size. It is also a slow-growing desert plant with no spines but glochids with white, brown prickles.

Sea Urchin Cactus

sea urchin cactus

The Echinopsis ancistrophora, known as the sea urchin cactus, is native to Argentina and Bolivia. Many gardeners see this cactus as the best small cactus plant to grow indoors.

The plant grows in a small spherical ball that forms large clumps. The cactus grows yellow radial spines resembling spider legs, and it grows while flowers quickly.

When in bloom, it produces large orange blooms or white flowers as well.

Easter Cactus

easter cactus

The Easter cactus blooms in spring are gorgeous. The plant is called the Hatiora gaertneri, sometimes confused with the Christmas cactus plants. It makes for great indoor cacti and needs a humid but cooler environment to bloom yearly.

Your plant is not a true cactus and is more epiphytic as it grows in the rainforest and not desert cacti. But as with most succulent plants, it loves bright to partial light with medium watering.

A potting mixture of soil and perlite is ideal for the Easter cactus and is non-toxic to humans and pets.

Barrel Cactus

golden barrel cactus

The golden barrel cactus Echinocactus grusonii looks like a golden ball or a pincushion cactus. You find them growing in Mexico with a spherical globe reaching up to five feet high. This outdoor plant produces long yellow spins to give it a golden glow. The cactus loves full sun with small amounts of water to thrive.

Rat Tail Cactus

Now, this is one indoor cactus that grows well in a hanging basket. The Cleistocactus winteri you find growing in Central America and Mexico. The trailing stems look like a rat’s tail, giving it the nickname rat tail.

The stems can reach up to four feet in length and bloom in spring to early summer with violet-red flowers. Depending on the variety you have, it can produce large pink or orange flowers with a tubular shape.

The blooms last a couple of days, and you can propagate your cactus with the stems. Still, you need to handle the plant with care while growing those spines.

Old Lady Cactus

The Mammillaria hahniana is a sun-loving cactus with a powder puff shape. It grows long spherical stems up to 14 inches tall and 8 inches wide. When you cultivate this beauty indoors, it needs a sunny spot.

It also helps to provide the old lady cactus with some outdoor time during the summer. The reason for the interesting name is the thin white yet flexible hairs growing up to five centimeters long.

Once the plant matures, the hairs grow thicker with a curl cloaking cactus.

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