Cacti With Pink Flowers
(Image credit: Kannapon1860)

One of the easier plants to grow is a cactus. It will thrive with a bit of neglect and just wants to live in a well-draining medium with occasional water. There are numerous cacti for beginners from which to choose. Such low maintenance cacti are perfect for dorm rooms, apartments, and even office settings.

Choosing Beginner Cactus

Even if you believe you have a “black thumb,” you can successfully grow an easy cactus. Beginner cactus come in a wide range of sizes and shapes, some with amazing colors as in the case of grafted varieties. Succulents, like cactus, just need the right light and container situation to thrive with little special care from you. 

Looking for an easy to grow cactus? These types of plants are perfect for a novice interior gardener. There are both tropical and desert varieties of cacti. The one you choose will depend on your growing conditions. If you live in a space with little natural light, choose a tropical specimen. If you have a nice sunny window and low humidity, select a desert species. It is easier to choose a cactus that is suited to your growing conditions than it is to change those growing conditions. However, if you lack bright light, you can always use a grow light to help the plant along. Using a dehumidifier can help reduce ambient moisture and help the plant thrive. 

Types of Cacti for Beginners

Your low maintenance cactus could be from a huge range of genera. Inside each genus there are numerous varieties of species and subspecies from which to select. Mammillaria are a large genus of plants with especially easy care and cute, smaller forms. They like bright light, well draining soil, and water when the soil is dry. Other genera that are perfect for new growers are:

Tips on Easy Cactus

Whether you choose a desert or tropical variety, these are all sensitive to overwatering. Use an unglazed container which will allow excess moisture to evaporate easily. Do not allow any moisture to collect under the roots in a shallow dish. Use a nice gritty, well draining soil that will help remove moisture. 

Water your plant when it is dry to the touch and reduce watering by half in winter. Give most cacti bright light, with the exception of tropical species, which need filtered light. Feed in spring with a good cactus fertilizer. With a little more care, these types of cacti will thrive, and some may even bloom for you!

Liz Baessler
Senior Editor

The only child of a horticulturist and an English teacher, Liz Baessler was destined to become a gardening editor. She has been with Gardening Know how since 2015, and a Senior Editor since 2020. She holds a BA in English from Brandeis University and an MA in English from the University of Geneva, Switzerland. After years of gardening in containers and community garden plots, she finally has a backyard of her own, which she is systematically filling with vegetables and flowers.