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The most common houseplants seen today are the various cactus plants, owing to how easy it's to take care of them.
If you have visited your nearby plant store, it would be a typical scene to encounter shelves full of cactus and succulents. However, due to our misconceptions regarding these plants from dry areas, we take cacti to be boring and worthless in front of flowering plants.
But, that isn't true, as most cacti will give rise to flowers when placed under proper conditions. Hence, we thought of giving you a bit more details about the various cacti variants available in the market, which can be a viable source of getting beautiful seasonal flowers. Yes, getting flowers from these cactus plants might be a bit time-consuming, but it's a beautiful memory to catch a small cactus being covered in flowers.
So, do keep reading to know more interesting facts about flowering cactus plants.
If you enjoyed this article, why not also read about do cactus grow and does cactus have water, here on Kidadl?
Well, the thing that defines cactus plants is that it has thorns in place of the usual leaves, along with a broad stem that can store water.
As you might know, cacti are succulents with a broad water-holding stem that contains chlorophyll to create energy for the plants. However, what makes cacti distinct is the presence of areoles, cushion-like structures called trichomes or plant hairs and spines or barbed bristles. Because cactus plants don't have branches like a tree, they can't be defined as ones, but some cacti species can reach the height of a tree.
Now, there are different species of cacti, a number which is thought to be way over 1,700. Another feature that makes a cactus distinct is the presence of a wax layer on the stem that prevents evaporation of moisture. The usual cactus plants like bunny ears cactus, prickly pear cactus, or moon cactus that are kept as indoor cactus plants are usually small because of being kept in small pots. But, those cacti can grow to a large size when left on the ground and in the wild.
Flowers are, in fact, an important part of cacti, as it helps the plants to reproduce. In nature, the flowers are short-lived. This is the reason why every kind of cacti isn't popular as flowering houseplants. When it comes to the popular choices like the Christmas cactus, Thanksgiving cactus, or the Easter cactus, these aren't true cacti and are rather succulents. But, these are popularly grown as flowering plants that have beautiful blooms during the respective holidays.
There are various indoor cactus plants that are good for home, so let us introduce you to some species.
When it comes to the 10 best large cactus plants to grow indoors, we will suggest you look for options like the golden barrel cactus, blue myrtle cactus, saguaro cactus, Mexican fence post cactus, candelabra cactus, prickly pear cactus, organ pipe cactus, Mexican giant Cardon cactus, Mexican lime cactus, and the blue columnar cactus. All of these have the ability to grow to the size of small plants when taken good care of at home.
Do remember that even though most of these cactus plants would require sparse watering, the full growth potential is only achieved under direct sunlight. So, when grown indoors, try to place the plants in a position where it gets bright direct or indirect light or supplement it with growth lights. At the right season, most of these plants also have spectacular flowers with multiple petals.
The barrel cactus is known for having flowers on top of its drum and based on the variant, the flowers can be yellow, orange, bright pink, or red. When dry, the flowers usually burst to spread the seeds, which leads to more golden barrel cactus or other cacti variants of the barrel cactus near the mother plant.
The saguaro cactus is also known for having beautiful white flowers, and under proper condition, the blooming season lasts from May to June.
Other cactus variants that can be good for your home include the gold lace cactus that has tiny white flowers and the angel wing cactus for pink and yellow flowers. The gold lace cactus is also sold under the name of ladyfinger cactus because of its long finger-like body. And, the flowers are typically found at the end of these branches of a ladyfinger cactus.
Even though the top of a moon cactus may look like a flower, it's actually a grafted small cactus. Hence, moon cacti generally don't grow very well and last only for a short time. For smaller cacti options, try spider cactus or the powder puff cactus, or even the spectacular dwarf Turk's cap cactus.
Now, coming to the care of a cactus plant, the most important thing you need to remember is to avoid overwatering.
There are several things to remember while taking care of any type of cacti. Hence, we are going to mention 13 things that you might not have known about taking care of cactus houseplants.
First of all, misting alone can't be a good way to water cactus plants. You need to regularly water your cacti based on the level of moisture that the plant requires. You'll usually find the instructions from the shop or nursery that sells the cactus.
Most of these plants will require plenty of water during the winter months, especially when kept in smaller pots. Just make sure that the soil is cacti-friendly and well-draining, or else the stem of a cactus may quickly develop a rot due to the standing water. However, in the winter months, you need to reduce the frequency of watering as it gets colder, and most cacti stop growing as the temperatures go down. Along with creating a watering schedule, you can check the soil for dryness to feel if it needs any water.
Also, try to keep your plant away from drafts of air coming from the air conditioning, as it may cause harm. Similarly, during the colder months, try to keep your plant away from drafty windows and instead keep it in a warm environment.
Along with good sunlight, a cactus plant would also need an ample amount of fertilizer to have the best growth. Try to find a fertilizer that has been made specifically for cacti, and it's best to go with an organic option. Rather than overfertilizing the soil, try to find the optimum amount based on the size of a plant.
Another thing to note is that cactus can often be quite soft and fragile, though they are durable plants, especially when kept in small pots. Hence, remember to be gentle while taking care of it or repotting it. However, this also lets you propagate the plant, as a cactus can quickly grow from a stem or a broken segment.
Finally, let's talk about the flowering of a cactus. Most cacti need to have a dormant period to flower. That's why to get the best blooms from a Christmas cactus or an Easter cactus, people typically make the plants go through a simulated period of dormancy. This may include refraining from fertilizing or watering the Easter or Christmas cactus, as well as keeping it in the dark and cold room. However, true cactus may need plenty of light to bloom, and it may take up to 30 years to get flowers.
There are many benefits to keeping cactus in your home, the best one being the ornamental value of the plants.
Other than that, it's pretty easy to take care of cacti, and the plants often thrive on little maintenance. Hence, the cactus can be a great stepping stone to gardening for those who haven't taken care of a plant before.
On top of that, like any other plant, cacti houseplants also help to purify the air around your house.
The amount of sunlight required by a cactus is based on its species, but most cacti enjoy bright direct or indirect sunlight.
As plants of the dry desert, cactus plants do enjoy basking in the sun, especially during the summer months. A south-facing window is often the best place to keep a cactus to let it access bright direct light.
Most house cactus plants should be given enough sunlight for six-eight hours daily to retain their health. During winter, when the sunlight is almost non-existent, the best trick is to use warm grow lights to mimic the sunlight.
Yes, cactus plants definitely have roots.
The roots of any cactus plant are pretty important to fetch the much-needed water that it stores in the fat green stem. However, the roots of most cacti have a shallow spread in the soil. A key feature of most cactus plants is that it has the ability to grow roots quickly, especially at times when there is rain, to increase their storage of water.
The main root of a cactus is called a tap root, which helps to anchor the plant while the lateral roots work to gather water. And, there are also some cactus plants like the Arizona queen of the night, which have succulent roots to store food and water.
Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly facts for everyone to enjoy! If you liked our suggestions for the 43 best flowering cactus plants: you probably didn't know about! then why not take a look at poisonous cactuses or cactus-like plants.
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