Growing Desert Gems: Information On Desert Gems Cactus Care

Several Small Potted Colorful Cacti
desert gems
(Image credit: Scott Webb)

Gardeners who like fun, bright décor will want to try growing Desert Gems. What are Desert Gems cacti? These succulents have been dressed up in flashy colors. While their colors are not true to the plant, the tones certainly add flair. They come in a host of jewel tones, which don't fade. As an added bonus, care for Desert Gems cactus is minimal and perfectly suited for a novice gardener.

What are Desert Gems Cacti?

Most cacti are green with maybe a bit of blue or gray mixed in. Desert Gems cactus plants are natural plants that turn the color scheme on its head. While they have been artificially colored, they are still natural cacti and grow just like any plant. They stay relatively small and work nicely in a combined dish garden or as stand-alone specimens that bring a pop of color to your interior.

Desert Gem cacti are native to parts of Mexico and in the cactus family Mammillaria. They have soft spines but still require a bit of respect when planting. The base part of the plant is a natural green and a special process has been applied to turn the top growth into brilliant colors.

Are Desert Gems cacti painted? According to the growers, they are not. They come in blue, yellow, pink, green, purple, and orange. The colors are vibrant and long-lasting, although new growth on the plant will develop white and green skin.

Tips on Growing Desert Gems

These cactus plants are native to warm, arid regions. They require well-draining soil with plenty of grit. The plants don't develop large root systems and are most comfortable in a small container.

Place plants in a bright location that gets sunshine at least half the day; however, they can still perform beautifully in artificial light such as in an office.

Water when the soil is dry to the touch, roughly every 10-14 days. Lower the watering schedule in winter when they are not actively growing. Feed them once annually in late winter to early spring with a diluted houseplant fertilizer.

Desert Gems Cactus Care

Cacti do not need to be repotted very often, as they thrive in low nutrient soil and crowded conditions. Desert Gems do not need pruning, have low water needs, and are fairly self-sufficient.

If moved outdoors for spring, watch for mealybugs and other pests. These cacti are not cold-hardy and need to come back indoors before cold temperatures threaten. When the plant gets new growth, the spines will be white. To preserve the color, cut off the spines.

These are easy-care plants whose main worry is overwatering. Keep them on the dry side and simply enjoy their bold colors.

Bonnie L. Grant

Bonnie Grant is a professional landscaper with a Certification in Urban Gardening. She has been gardening and writing for 15 years. A former professional chef, she has a passion for edible landscaping.