Plant displays provide diversity of form, color, and dimension. A potted cactus garden is a unique type of display that pairs plants with similar growing needs but various textures and shapes. Multiple cacti in containers form an attractive plant show with ease of care appeal. You can use your potted cactus outside or in, depending upon your climate.
Making a Cactus Container Garden
The huge variety of cactus that are suited to container growing is astounding. There are big specimens, diminutive types, and even many that cascade over container walls. Cacti are succulents and fit well with other types of succulents such as jade plant or aloe. The fun thing about a cactus garden in containers is that there are no rules as long as all the plants have the same care and lighting needs.
If you are a cactus fan, consider making a cactus container garden. The first step is choosing your plants. Cacti come in a wide range of sizes and colors with many providing exotic blooms in the right conditions. Make sure all of your selected plants have the same water, exposure, and temperature requirements.
Cacti in containers are easy to grow but some need lower light and a few, like tropical plants, need more water than their desert counterparts. Ensure all the plants in your potted cactus garden will do well in the same conditions. Some types to consider:
- Red African Milk Tree
- Old Lady Cactus
- Bunny Ears
- Balloon Cactus
- Moon Cactus
- Star Cactus
- Chin Cactus
About Cacti in Containers
No matter if you are growing potted cactus outside or in your home, the type of container is important. Most cacti seem to like being slightly crowded. Additionally, the majority do not have a large root mass and do not need a deep container where excess soil at the bottom will store water. This condition can lead to root rot.
The next consideration is the type of soil. Desert cacti need gritty, well-draining soil. You can purchase a cactus mix or make your own by making a 1:1 ratio of potting soil and horticultural sand. Some tropical cacti will want a soil with good drainage and chunks of bark and other organic amendments. Read your plant tag carefully or ask a reputable nursery so you have the right kind of soil.
Caring for a Cactus Garden in Containers
Indoor cacti need bright light on average but placing them in front of a blazing western facing window may cause them to burn. Desert cacti do not need frequent watering. Check soil manually and when it feels dry, water the plants. Tropical cacti should be kept lightly moist but never soggy. These types also need a lower light than desert varieties.
All types of cacti need half the watering in winter. Start normal watering again in spring. Feed the plants in early spring with a good cactus food. Cover the top of the soil with pebbles as an inorganic mulch that is both attractive and helps with drainage. If you wish, you can move plants outdoors but only once all danger of frost has passed.
With minimal care you can enjoy your potted cactus garden for years.
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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.
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