10 Best Cactus Plants to Grow Indoors

Reviewed by Sabrina Lopez | August 23, 2022

Small house cacti. Cactuses in pots close-up

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Cacti and succulents are some of the best options when you need plants that grow well indoors—or that perfectly complement a desert-inspired interior design scheme. Most cacti are require little care and don’t do well in frosty weather, so they’re just as comfortable in your home as you are. Best of all, they’re low-maintenance succulents, ideal for anyone who forgets to water regularly.

If you’re looking for an easy way to bring a little bit of the great outdoors into your home, an indoor cactus plant might be the perfect option. Let’s look at some of the best cactuses to grow at home.



Top 10 Indoor Cactus Plants



Pincushion Cactus

Fast Facts:

The common name pincushion cactus is a blanket term covering the whole genus of cacti called Mammillaria. Right now, there are 200 known species of these cacti. Pincushion cacti are crowned with a circle of flowers when they bloom, and their spines are short and sometimes furry in appearance. 

Most Mammillaria are native to Mexico but also can come from other hot, tropical places such as the Caribbean and some South American countries. These cacti only grow to about 6 inches tall. 

Full sunlight is no problem for pincushion cacti. They grow best in sandy topsoil, which is gritty and drains well. You don’t want to use soil that retains too much water when caring for a pincushion cactus. You can water them weekly or once every two weeks.



Bunny Ears Cactus

Fast Facts:

Even though it doesn’t flower often, the bunny ears cactus is a popular houseplant because it resembles rabbit ears. When they flower, those flowers pop up on top of the stems, and they are a cheerful yellow hue. This cactus’s Latin name, microdasys, has the amusing meaning of “small, hairy,” just like a rabbit’s ears. 

The bunny ears cactus should have a mixture of loose soil and sand so that it can retain some water but let the rest go. The soil should never be wet, just damp. In the summertime (when the water evaporates faster), you should water your bunny ears cactus twice a month. During cooler months, you can get away with watering it once a month. It thrives in full, direct sun.



Prickly Pear Cactus

Fast Facts:

There are many species of prickly pear cactus, but they’re all a part of the genus Opuntia. These species of cacti, grouped under the common name prickly pear cactus, can grow more than 20 feet tall in nature. When cultivated indoors, most varieties of prickly pear cactus grow to be shorter than a foot.

Prickly pear cacti resemble bunny ears cacti because of the shape of their stem pads. These produce a popular pink or red fruit on the top of their stems known as tuna in Mexico. Prickly pear cacti are right at home on your windowsill in full sun. You can water them once or twice a month, and they do best in sandy or gravelly soil that drains well.



Golden Barrel Cactus

Fast Facts:

The golden barrel cactus is rare in the wild—it’s an endangered Mexican cactus, so you would be doing a favor to the environment as well as your living room by cultivating one. 

It takes a while, but the spherical and radially symmetrical golden barrel cactus can reach about 3 feet in height. It’s round, squat, and perfectly pleased in whatever vessel complements your interior design, whether it’s a unique, sculptural planter or a simple terracotta pot.

Your golden barrel cactus should be watered once a week over the summer; you can move to about once a month or less during the cooler seasons. When growing your baby cactus, it loves the bright sun but shouldn’t be placed in full sunlight. Once the cactus matures, it can handle full sun.



Saguaro Cactus

Fast Facts:

These cacti are probably the most stereotypical cactus species that come to mind when we think of desert climates and the Wild West. Saguaro cacti are important in Mexican culture and history, having been used as food and to build shelters for centuries. The saguaro cactus‘s white flower is also Arizona‘s state flower.

Saguaros can technically tower up to 40 feet tall. You can grow them outdoors if your home is in a warm climate. If you do, place them in a roomy pot in case the weather gets cold, and then you can move your saguaro inside.

If you want to add a baby saguaro to your cactus garden, plant it in a well-draining pot in gritty soil that dries quickly. You can even add cactus fertilizer to your saguaro’s ceramic pot to help it complete its growth cycle. You should water your saguaro sparingly—once or twice a month—and the soil needs to dry completely between each watering. They love full sunlight.



Torch Cactus

Fast Facts:

The flowers on the torch cactus, sometimes known as cereus (“candle” or “torch” in Latin) cacti, are brilliant when they bloom. They come in many colors because this popular cactus has been bred to produce many hybrid varieties. However, the torch cactus resembles its namesake most when it’s topped with bright red flowers. These are columnar cactus plants, which grow upright and tall, with vertical segments along their length. 

You should plant your torch cactus in special potting soil designed for cacti, mixed with some rocks. Unlike the other cacti on this list, the soil should remain moist; like our other cacti, the plant pot should be well-draining. Torch cacti do best in partial shade. You should water them deeply twice a month during the growing season (summer) and once a month in winter.



Ball Cactus

Fast Facts:

Like the pincushion cactus and the torch cactus, there are many different varieties of ball cactus. The common name describes a few dozen cacti species in the Parodia genus. Ball cacti are rounded and have radial symmetry. Sometimes, their flowers can get bigger in diameter than the cactus itself. They are usually about 4 to 6 inches tall, but they can eventually reach a foot in height.

These little balls covered in spines flourish as indoor plants and are easy to take care of in every season. They prefer plenty of sunlight, as long as they’re not in full sun. Like the torch cactus, ball cacti need soil that retains a bit of moisture, so using cactus potting soil and gritty textured rocks or gravel mixed together will keep them happy. Make sure its pot has drainage holes. Water your ball cactus about twice a month just to keep the soil moist.



Golden Rat Tail Cactus

Fast Facts:

The appearance of the rat tail cactus, also known as the monkey tail cactus in Spanish, will make a splash if you want a unique addition to your succulent garden. This columnar cactus grows in a cluster of rope-like stems which are densely covered in spines. It is a succulent from the Cactaceae family.

Sandy and loamy soils are best for this cactus because they drain well. You should water it about once every two weeks in the summer; you can decrease the watering frequency to about once every five weeks in the winter. Over time, these cacti can grow about 3 feet long, but in your home, they should grow a few inches long.



Chin Cactus

Fast Facts:

The name chin cactus encompasses about 70 different varieties of Gymnocalycium cacti. These are miniature, round cacti which grow close to the ground. Since they are small, they complement other small cacti and succulent plants, such as aloe and Ferocactus varieties. Chin cacti can also be grouped in a large pot by the aesthetically savvy succulent grower

Chin cacti prefer sun but not full sunlight, and they need to be planted in sandy and gritty soil that dries out frequently. In the summertime, you can water your chin cactus about once a week, but you can decrease that to about once a month when the weather cools.



Hedgehog Cactus

Fast Facts:

Echinocereus is a genus that encompasses about 70 species of commonly named hedgehog cacti, much like several other stars on our list. Its flowers are comparatively huge, open during the day, and close at night for the week that the hedgehog cactus is blooming. 

The cylinder-shaped hedgehog cactus doesn’t often grow to more than a foot tall. Sandy soil that drains fairly quickly is best for the hedgehog cactus. You should water it twice a month in the warmer months and once a month in cooler weather. The hedgehog cactus will be happy in bright, full sunlight.



Our Recommendation

These 10 easy-to-care-for flowering plants are wonderful cacti to start with. Depending on where you live, some can thrive outdoors, but each can also make excellent indoor plants. There are many additional cacti you can explore beyond our list, including the Christmas cactus and the African Euphorbia.

When choosing cactus plants for your indoor succulent garden, always choose a pot with drainage holes, and be mindful that the water you use must be able to drain out. To promote the health and growth of your cacti, you can fertilize them once or twice a year with special cactus food.



Cactus Plant FAQ

What are the benefits of a cactus plant?

Cactus plants provide several benefits to your home, including improved air quality. They can be a fantastic introduction to your home if you’re looking for a way to get the air purifying benefits of plants in your home without worrying about upkeep and remembering daily care. 

Where should I put a cactus in my house?

You should place any cacti plants in your home facing south. This area of your home gets the most direct sunlight during the day, which is an essential component of cacti health.  

How can you tell if a cactus needs water?

You can tell when your cactus needs water by monitoring its appearance. Though cacti don’t need much water, you’ll see puckering on the cactus’ skin when it’s dehydrated. Visually, your cactus and the soil surrounding it will appear dryer than usual when it needs water.