They’re thorny and notoriously slow to grow, but cacti have a lot going for them as houseplants. Not only can they be very conservatively watered, but they also come in a surprising array of beautiful shapes and colors. An excellent addition to a desk, windowsill, or anywhere else in the home, their unusual silhouette makes them appealing and intriguing, particularly when paired with colorful pots. Here are four reasons why you should bring a cactus into your home:
Cacti are Low Maintenance
Members of the succulent plant family, cacti have thick, fleshy bodies intended to store water for long periods. In the wild, this evolutionary advantage makes them one of the few plants to thrive in hot, dry desert conditions – that thick flesh also ensures the sun doesn’t dry them out too quickly. Forget to water a fern or flower before a long weekend away, and you’ll likely come back to a wilted or dying plant. Cacti, on the other hand, will still be strong and healthy, ready for that belated watering, and willing to offer botanical forgiveness.
Cacti are Surprisingly Beautiful
Though the word “cactus” tends to bring to mind an iconic, ultra-prickly saguaro towering in the desert, there are more than 1700 species of cacti in the world. Small-sized cactuses are perfect for windowsills or brightening up a work desk, and offer a wide variety of shapes to choose from. Whether you prefer tiny bubble-shaped Echinocactus to grace your favorite corner or lean more towards the exotic Astrophytum myriostigma (“Bishop’s Hat”), they’re a step above the common fern or cut flower arrangement. While they are slow to grow and flower, if they’re well cared-for, cacti can produce some spectacularly colorful blooms to admire.
Cacti Need Little to No Upkeep
While infrequent watering needs are a big benefit for forgetful plant-keepers, cacti take it a step further: they need no pruning or trimming. Because they’re a plant with a very slow growing speed, cacti-keepers never have to worry about discovering an unruly or overgrown plant pot. Cacti take many years to outgrow a well-sized pot, if they do at all, so planting chores like soil changes or transplantation aren’t likely to be needed either.
Cacti Play Well in Groups
Much like their smooth-leaved succulent cousins, cacti take well to being planted in groups, even within the same container. Rather than worry about them competing for resources or battling it out through aggressive root systems, cacti enthusiasts enjoy planting groups of their favorite varieties together in a pot or dish. Some cactus lovers even stage small props, like diminutive people figurines, in and around their thorny companions’ pots for a novel appearance.
The next time you’re tempted to add a traditional plant to a favorite counter or your workspace, consider something a little sharper instead. Cacti are beautiful, unusual, and – perhaps best of all – even come with built-in protection against poking by nosy workmates or overly-curious pets inside the home.
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