10 No Fuss Cacti - What’s The Best Low Maintenance Cactus

Small Potted Low Maintenance Cactus
(Image credit: nakorn tannonngiw)

If you’re thinking of adding plants to your collection or even getting one started, consider these no fuss cacti. They are often quite unusual, and most are easy maintenance or low care. Most can grow outside during the warmer months and move indoors during colder winters.

10 Easy Cacti

1) Gymnocalycium are among the easiest cacti to grow. The genus includes 70 species that are native to several countries in South America. These are also called Chin cactus and include the Moon cactus. Some are dwarfs and most form clusters as they grow.

2) Mammillaria is the largest genus of the plant, with 170 types or more. Some estimate 200 to 300. Some are easy to grow but some are more difficult. If you’re new to growing cacti, choose carefully. Consider the hahniana, also called the Old Lady cactus. These are mostly native to Mexico or South American countries. 

3) Echinopsis is also called the Hedgehog cactus and includes over 100 species. These prickly 128 species include a small group called the Peanut cactus and are native to South America.

4) Hatiora is a tropical cactus. Some types grow as big as a landscape shrub. This group includes the type Dancing Bones. Hatiora gaertneri is commonly known as Easter cactus. Avoid overwatering. Native to southeastern Brazil.

5) Rhipsalis is another tropical cactus. This type can’t take direct, full sun. Drunkard's Dream is one variety. These are “characterized by branched, interwoven thin shoots,” according to online info.

6) Astrophytum includes a specimen called Star cacti. This is a small genus. These have a globular shape, with some that are columnar. A few have no spikes, which is good for new growers. Some can take direct sunlight. Also consider Astrophytum ornatum Bishop’s Cap.

7) Schlumbergera is a small and popular genus of cacti. It is also easy care. This variety is native to the coastal mountains of southeastern Brazil. This type will not tolerate full sun. It prefers bright and moderate indirect lighting. This includes Christmas cactus and Thanksgiving cactus. Both can bloom fully in maturity with the right care and lighting. 

8) Ferrocactus, can sometimes reach 6 feet (2 m.) or even taller. These include a Blue Barrel, Fire Barrel, and a Mexican Red Barrel. Many have long lasting flowers. There is a spineless variety, Ferocactus glaucescens forma nuda. Many of these types are found in southwestern Texas down into Mexico. 

9) Rebutia globular are small and cute. Blooms grow from the lower part of the stem. Flowers are large compared to the small size of the plant. In addition, they are hardy, germinate easily, and freely clump. They don’t require much care and they’re resilient. Watering depends on where your cactus is placed. If it is outside in direct sunlight, you may need to water regularly as compared to when it is indoors. 

10) Opuntia is often planted in sunny beds outside here in western N.C. You’ve seen it with yellow flowers, crowding into a contained bed. Careful planting is required with kids and pets. 

Becca Badgett

Becca Badgett was a regular contributor to Gardening Know How for ten years. Co-author of the book How to Grow an EMERGENCY Garden, Becca specializes in succulent and cactus gardening.