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Some Desert Cacti for Indoor Plants

While all of the New World cacti donít make good house plants, some of these are excellent for growing indoors. Among these are the following species.


Barrel cactus

Often used as an indoor plant, this is considered very easy to grow. Native to the Southwestern U.S. and Mexico, this is globe-like. It has attractive ribs that are just covered with yellowish spine. As a young plant, this develops tubercles that eventually develop into ribs. During the summer, the urn-shaped blooms open towards the top of the plant.


Old lady cactus

Native to Mexico, this globe shaped cactus grows to about four inches in diameter. This lush green plant is named for the long, flowing white hair-like structures, which are actually specialized bristles. Old lady cactus also has red spines that contrast nicely with the white hairs. When mature, this species produces lovely reddish-violet flowers.


Old man of the Andes

Native to South America, Old man of the Andes has an upright growth habit. Taking the shape of a column, this develops ribs. There are red to yellow spines. They play a secondary role to the long, slender hairs that just cover the plant. It is named for its hairy appearance.

This plant has red, tube-shaped blooms with an irregular shape. They emerge towards the top of the plant. These can be three inches in length.


Plain cactus

Plain cactus makes an excellent indoor plant. Also known as plain chin cactus, this gray-green plant is native to parts of South America. It has an overall dome or globe shape. This species is decorated with notched ribs. Reaching nearly 2Ĺ inches in diameter, it develops reddish-brown bands of color around the body. The spines are light tan. The bicolored blooms consist of dark red outer petals that surround the whitish-green inner petals.


Rabbit ears

This is also known as bunny ears. It has greenish-yellow pads. These have yellow spines occurring in tufts and yellow blossoms.

Several varieties and cultivars of this species are available, including the polka-dot cactus. This has white spines instead of yellow. Known as cinnamon or red bunny ears, Rufida is a cultivar that is known for its red color.


Rainbow cactus

Native to Mexico and parts of the Southwestern U.S., this low growing, ribbed cactus reaches about eight inches in height. The stems are cylinder-like. Rainbow cactus is named for the brightly colored spines that cover the body. These can be beige, pale yellow, purple, maroon or violet-blue. This has bright yellow, wide tubular-shaped blossoms.


Rose pin cushion

Rose pin cushion has single stems. Though this has an overall globular shape, it can become more spreading with age. This species has single stems. Its body is dark green with tufts of reddish-brown or white spines. The blossoms are violet or purple. These appear pretty much over much of the plantís body. However, they tend to be especially numerous towards the top of the globe.


Opuntia verschaffeltii

Native to South America, this is a dwarf, upright opuntia with cylinder-shaped stems. These can be up to six inches in height. This branches to produce knobby, wart-like little green joints. Somewhat hairy, the joints produce deciduous foliage. Somewhat hairy, the aeroles are sometimes dotted with soft, tan spines. This plant has gorgeous orange or dark red blooms.

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