Small succulents are so last year. Spice up your home décor by taking your succulent game to the next level: cactus envy. The indoor cactus trend is adding a tasteful desert-edge to homes all over the world – and we’re here to tell you how to do it.
But first, why cacti?
They offer tons of benefits to both you and your home and are pretty much as low maintenance as it gets – lazy girls, this one’s for you.
First, having plants around the house has been shown to increase happiness, concentration and memory retention. And like all plants, cacti purify and moisten air through respiration and transpiration. But, unlike ordinary houseplants, cacti add art to a room with their structured, sculpture-like figures.
You can eat them, too!
Studies have also shown that cacti can have a multitude of health benefits when consumed. Cacti are rich in vitamins C, A, E, calcium, iron, pectin, fiber and lots of other great things for your body! Eating cactus leaves and/or extracts have proven to reduce hangovers, lower cholesterol, lower blood sugar, aid in weight loss, and even fight cancer cells.
A piece of art, air purifier, mood booster, study-buddy and health food in one - why not cacti?
PHOTO: Window Oak Creative
What kind(s) should you get?
There are over 1750 species of cacti, so it can be a bit overwhelming to figure out which ones you should buy. Globular cacti are generally the best type to have indoor, because they require less sunlight than their columnar cousins. Here are a few we recommend:
- Balloon Cactus
- Golden Ball Cactus
- Lemon Ball Cactus
- Rainbow Pincushion Cactus
- Zebra Cactus – not globular, but has a high tolerance for lower light levels
But, if you have a window in your home with at least 3 hours of direct sunlight each day, you should definitely try out some of these other easy-to-grow varieties:
- Fairy Castle Cactus
- Desert Gem Cactus
- Giant Saguro – huge! - great as a corner plant
How to Style
When it comes to styling your cactus plants, you can’t really go wrong. But here are ideas that might help get your creative juices flowing…
- line potted cacti in a row on a windowsill or shallow shelf(s)
- mix and match small cacti in one planter, like this
- create a display of various sized and types of cacti on a table, counter, nightstand, etc.
- DIY unique planters like these
- put one large cactus in a corner or next to a couch
Not all cacti are the same; some will require more water or less light than others. Below is a general guideline to cactus care, but please remember to seek care information about the specific kind of cactus you have, just in case!!
Cacti need a special kind of porous soil, different from most houseplants. You can usually find cactus potting soil at nurseries or online, but you can also make your own. Cactus soil is made to emulate the natural, arid, low-nutrient soil found in desert climates. The easiest way to make your own cactus soil is to combine equal parts washed sand, soil, and pebbles.
*It is super important that your cactus is planted in a pot with a drainage hole. Otherwise, water will sit in the soil for too long, and your plant may be overwatered and wilt. This means, unfortunately, no terrariums!
And, of course, make sure to wear gloves when potting your cactus!
Cacti naturally live in deserts. In these types of climates, it usually downpours for a day and then won’t rain again for weeks, months or even years. You want to mimic this. So don’t water your cactus often, but when you do water it, water it a LOT (you should see water flowing out of the bottom of the pot). Generally, cactus plants will need to be watered every 6 weeks in the winter (dormant season), every 2-3 weeks in the spring (growing season) and every 1-2 weeks in the summer. If you are unsure when to water, wait until a few days after the soil is completely dry from the last watering. If your cactus is underwatered, you will see crispy, shedding flakes. If it is overwatered, it will appear pale and limp. Overwatering a cactus is easier than you’d think, so be careful!
It is recommended to add a liquid fertilizer to the water as well; the fertilizer will differ depending on the type of cactus and where it came from.
It is also important to take note of what kind of water you are feeding your cactus. It is best to use collected rainwater or distilled water, rather than tap.
Cacti need lots of sunlight, especially during their growing season, so the best spots for them are near windows with lots of sunshine. If your cactus is getting too much sunlight, it will develop yellow or brown spots. If it is receiving too little sunlight, you will notice the plant reaching towards the sunlight more than usual. You should rotate your cactus every two weeks to make sure that every side is getting an even amount of sun.
It might sound like a lot, but it’s really not! Long story short: put your cactus near a window with a lot of sun and flood it with water every couple of weeks.
Show us how you style your cacti on Instagram with #coolgirlscare