Cactus House Plants (10 Cacti You Can Keep Indoors)


Some cacti take up lots of space and make a statement in your home.  Others stay small but spread out to cover a large area.

So, what are some cacti you can keep as house plants?  Cactus house plants include: Dancing Bones Cactus, Dog-Tail Cactus, Dragonfruit, Golden Barrel Cactus, Joseph’s Coat, Peanut Cactus, Rattail Cactus, Ric-Rac Cactus, Viejita, and Thimble cactus.  Some of these cacti can tolerate shade, while others need full sun.

Of course, if you have low ceilings, you might want to avoid some of the taller plants, or keep them in a small container to limit their size.

In this article, we’ll talk about 10 cacti you can keep as houseplants.  We’ll also take a look at what they need for light, water, and other important growth factors.

Let’s get started.

10 Cactus House Plants

There are plenty of cacti that will work as houseplants, but here are 10 to start with:

  • Dancing Bones Cactus
  • Dog-Tail Cactus
  • Dragonfruit
  • Golden Barrel Cactus
  • Joseph’s Coat
  • Peanut Cactus
  • Rattail Cactus
  • Ric-Rac Cactus
  • Viejita
  • Thimble Cactus

Let’s begin with

Dancing Bones Cactus

Dancing Bones Cactus (Hatiora salicornioides) is a short cactus that can be kept as a houseplant.  The leaves are long and thin like small pencils, and the plant can produce tiny (less than 1 inch) flowers.  It is also epiphytic, meaning that in nature it climbs up other plants as it grows.

Dancing Bones Cactus
Dancing Bones Cactus is a short cactus that only grows up to 12 inches, making it perfect for a desk houseplant.

Dancing Bones Cactus needs moderate to dry moisture levels, but it tolerates humidity.  Too much water will cause root rot and eventually kill the plant.

Dancing Bones Cactus prefers partial shade.  It prefers slightly acidic to slightly alkaline soil (pH of 6.1 to 7.8).

Dancing Bones Cactus can tolerate some cold.  As an outdoor plant, it is hardy to Zone 9b (as cold as 25 degrees Fahrenheit or -4 degrees Celsius).

This plant grows to a height of 12 inches indoors, with a width of 18 inches.

You can propagate Dancing Bones Cactus by stem cuttings.

You can learn more about Dancing Bones Cactus from the National Gardening Association’s Plant Database.

You can find Dancing Bones Cactus from Mountain Crest Gardens.

Dog-Tail Cactus

Dog-Tail Cactus (Strophocactus testudo) is a tall cactus that can be kept as a houseplant.  The leaves are long and fleshy with thin hair like spines.  It also produces taproots underground and showy, white, fragrant flowers (6 to 12 inches wide) that can turn into tiny spherical fruit.

Dog-Tail Cactus
Dog-Tail Cactus is a tall cactus with trailing fleshy stems that you can keep as a houseplant.
Image Courtesy of user:
Maja Dumat via:
Wikimedia Commons: https://commons.
wikimedia.org/wiki/File:
Selenicereus_testudo.jpg

Dog-Tail Cactus needs moderate to dry moisture levels, but it tolerates both humidity and drought.  Too much water will cause root rot and eventually kill the plant.

Dog-Tail Cactus prefers full sun, but it can tolerate partial shade.  It prefers slightly acidic to slightly alkaline soil (pH of 6.1 to 7.8).

Dog-Tail Cactus can tolerate some cold.  As an outdoor plant, it is hardy to Zone 9b (as cold as 25 degrees Fahrenheit or -4 degrees Celsius).

This plant grows to a height of 8 to 10 feet.

You can propagate Dog-Tail Cactus by stem cuttings.

You can learn more about Dog-Tail Cactus from the National Gardening Association’s Plant Database.

You can find Dog-Tail Cactus from Plant Lust.

Dragonfruit

Dragonfruit (Selenicereus monacanthus) is a tall cactus that can be kept as a houseplant.  The leaves are long with hairy spines, and it can produce large (6 to 12 inch) flowers that can turn into fruit.

Dragon Fruit
Dragonfruit is a tall cactus that can produce large flowers that may turn into fruit.

Dragonfruit needs moderate to dry moisture levels, but it tolerates humidity.  Too much water will cause root rot and eventually kill the plant.

Dragonfruit can tolerate partial shade, but it prefers full sun.  It prefers slightly acidic to slightly alkaline soil (pH of 6.1 to 7.5).

Dragonfruit can tolerate some cold.  As an outdoor plant, it is hardy to Zone 10a (as cold as 30 degrees Fahrenheit or -1 degrees Celsius).

This plant grows to a height of over 8 feet indoors.

You can propagate Dragonfruit by stem cuttings.

You can learn more about Dragonfruit from the National Gardening Association’s Plant Database.

You can find Dragonfruit from Fast Growing Trees.

Golden Barrel Cactus

Golden Barrel Cactus (Echinocactus grusonii) is a short cactus that can be kept as a houseplant.  The spines are long sharp.  It also produces small (2 to 3 inch) yellow flowers.

Golden Barrel Cactus
Golden Barrel Cactus is a cactus that has sharp spines and grows to a height of 2 to 4 feet.

Golden Barrel Cactus needs moderate to dry moisture levels, and it tolerates both drought and poor soil.  Too much water will cause root rot and eventually kill the plant.

Golden Barrel Cactus needs full sun.  It prefers acidic to neutral soil (pH of 5.6 to 7.3).

Golden Barrel Cactus can tolerate some cold.  As an outdoor plant, it is hardy to Zone 9a (as cold as 20 degrees Fahrenheit or -7 degrees Celsius).

This plant grows to a height of 2 to 4 feet, with a width of 2 to 3 feet.

You can propagate Golden Barrel Cactus by division.

You can learn more about Golden Barrel Cactus from the National Gardening Association’s Plant Database.

You can find Golden Barrel Cactus from Arizona Cactus Sales.

Joseph’s Coat

Joseph’s Coat (Opuntia monacantha) is a medium to tall cactus that can be kept as a houseplant.  The leaves have some thorns, but it is not as prickly as other cacti.  It also produces showy yellow flowers.

Joseph's Coat
Joseph’s Coat is a medium to tall cactus that produces yellow flowers and can be kept as a houseplant.

Joseph’s Coat needs moderate to dry moisture levels, and it tolerates drought, humidity, and poor soil.  Too much water will cause root rot and eventually kill the plant.

Joseph’s Coat prefers full sun, but it can tolerate partial shade.  It prefers slightly acidic to slightly alkaline soil (pH of 6.1 to 7.8).

Joseph’s Coat can tolerate some cold.  As an outdoor plant, it is hardy to Zone 8a (as cold as 10 degrees Fahrenheit or -12 degrees Celsius).

This plant grows to a height of 4 to 8 feet.

You can propagate Joseph’s Coat by layering or stem cuttings.

You can learn more about Joseph’s Coat from the National Gardening Association’s Plant Database.

You can find Joseph’s Coat from Mountain Crest Gardens.

Peanut Cactus

Peanut Cactus (Echinopsis chamaecereus) is a short cactus that can be kept as a houseplant.  It has many small thorns and produces showy small (1 to 2 inch) flowers with a brilliant reddish orange color.

Peanut Cactus
Peanut Cactus is a short cactus that produces brilliant reddish-orange flowers, which makes it an attractive houseplant to keep.

Peanut Cactus needs moderate to dry moisture levels, and it tolerates both drought and poor soil.  Too much water will cause root rot and eventually kill the plant.

Peanut Cactus prefers full sun, but it can tolerate partial shade.  It prefers acidic to slightly alkaline soil (pH of 5.6 to 7.8).

Peanut Cactus can tolerate some cold.  As an outdoor plant, it is hardy to Zone 7b (as cold as 5 degrees Fahrenheit or -15 degrees Celsius).

This plant grows to a height of only 4 inches, but it can spread 18 to 24 inches (it grows in clumps).

You can propagate Peanut Cactus by layering, division, offsets, or stem cuttings.

You can learn more about Peanut Cactus from the National Gardening Association’s Plant Database.

You can find Peanut Cactus from Mountain Crest Gardens.

Rattail Cactus

Rattail Cactus (Aporocactus flagelliformis) is a short cactus that can be kept as a houseplant.  It has many small thorns on fleshy trailing stems, and it produces showy small (2 to 3 inch) red or pink flowers in late spring, summer, or early fall.

Rat-Tail Cactus
Rattail Cactus is a short cactus with trailing, fleshy stems, and it can produce small red or pink flowers.
Image Courtesy of user:
Mokkie via:
Wikimedia Commons:
https://commons.
wikimedia.org/wiki/File:
Rat_Tail_Cactus_
(Aporocactus_
flagelliformis).jpg

Rattail Cactus needs moderate to dry moisture levels, and it tolerates both drought and humidity.  Too much water will cause root rot and eventually kill the plant.

Rattail Cactus prefers full sun, but it can tolerate partial shade.  It prefers slightly acidic to slightly alkaline soil (pH of 6.1 to 7.8).

Rattail Cactus can tolerate some cold.  As an outdoor plant, it is hardy to Zone 9b (as cold as 25 degrees Fahrenheit or -4 degrees Celsius).

This plant grows to a height of only 4 to 6 inches, but its long and trailing stems can spread 6 feet or more.

You can propagate Rattail Cactus by division or stem cuttings.

You can learn more about Rattail Cactus from the National Gardening Association’s Plant Database.

You can find Rattail Cactus from Succulents Depot.

Ric-Rac Cactus

Ric-Rac Cactus (Disocactus anguliger) is a tall cactus that can be kept as a houseplant.  It has many thin, broad leaves, and it sometimes called fishbone cactus.  It produces showy fragrant white flowers in summer or fall.

Ric-Rac Cactus
Ric-Rac Cactus is a tall cactus that may produce white flowers and which you can keep as a houseplant.
Image Courtesy of user:
Diego Delso via:
Wikimedia Commons: https://commons.
wikimedia.org/wiki/File:
Epiphyllum_anguliger
,_Jard%C3%ADn_Bot%C3%A1nico,_
M%C3%BAnich,_Alemania_
2012-04-21,_DD_01.JPG

Ric-Rac Cactus needs moderate to dry moisture levels, and it tolerates humidity.  Too much water will cause root rot and eventually kill the plant.

Ric-Rac Cactus needs partial or full shade.  It prefers slightly acidic to slightly alkaline soil (pH of 6.1 to 7.8).

Ric-Rac Cactus cannot tolerate much cold.  As an outdoor plant, it is hardy to Zone 10b (as cold as 35 degrees Fahrenheit or 2 degrees Celsius).

This plant grows to a height of 6 feet or more, and it can spread out very far.

You can propagate Ric-Rac Cactus by leaf cuttings or stem cuttings.

You can learn more about Ric-Rac Cactus from the National Gardening Association’s Plant Database.

You can find Ric-Rac Cactus from Tend GreenPoint.

Viejita

Viejita (Mammillaria hahniana) is a short cactus that can be kept as a houseplant.  It has many small, sharp spines, and it produces tiny (less than 1 inch) showy pink flowers in late winter or spring.

Viejita
Viejita is a short cactus with many small, sharp spines and tiny pink flowers.
Image Courtesy of user:
Frank Vincentz via:
Wikimedia Commons: https://commons.
wikimedia.org/wiki/File:
Mammillaria_
hahniana2_ies.jpg

Viejita needs dry moisture levels, and it tolerates drought.  Too much water will cause root rot and eventually kill the plant.

Viejita prefers full sun, but it can tolerate partial shade.  It prefers slightly acidic soil (pH of 6.1 to 6.5).

Viejita can tolerate some cold.  As an outdoor plant, it is hardy to Zone 9a (as cold as 20 degrees Fahrenheit or -7 degrees Celsius).

This plant grows to a height of only 6 inches.

You can propagate Viejita by stem cuttings.

You can learn more about Viejita from the National Gardening Association’s Plant Database.

You can find Viejita from Altman Plants.

Thimble Cactus

Thimble Cactus (Mammillaria vetula) is a short cactus that can be kept as a houseplant.  It has many small, sharp spines, and it produces tiny (less than 1 inch) showy yellow flowers in spring or early summer.

Thimble Cactus
Thimble Cactus is a short cactus that produces showy yellow flowers. It makes a good choice for a houseplant in a small space.

Thimble Cactus needs dry moisture levels, and it tolerates drought.  Too much water will cause root rot and eventually kill the plant.

Thimble Cactus prefers full sun, but it can tolerate partial shade.  It prefers slightly acidic to slightly alkaline soil (pH of 6.1 to 7.8).

Thimble Cactus cannot tolerate some cold.  As an outdoor plant, it is hardy to Zone 9a (as cold as 20 degrees Fahrenheit or -7 degrees Celsius).

This plant grows to a height of only 6 inches, with a width of 6 inches.

You can propagate Thimble Cactus by offsets or stem cuttings.

You can learn more about Thimble Cactus from the National Gardening Association’s Plant Database.

You can find Thimble Cactus from Plant Lust.

Conclusion

Now you know about 10 cacti that you can keep as houseplants and how to take care of them.  They might provide inspiration to help you to improve your indoor landscape and add beauty to your home.

You might also want to read about 10 climbing vine houseplants in my article here.

If you have trouble remembering to water your plants, you might also be interested in 10 houseplants for dry climates.

I hope you found this article helpful.  If so, please share it with someone who can use the information.

If you want to read some of my most popular posts, check out the “Best of GreenUpSide” page here.  Enjoy!

~Jonathon

jonathon.david.madore

Hi, I'm Jon. Let's solve your gardening problems, spend more time growing, and get the best harvest every year!

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