Guest Author - Connie Krochmal
For gardeners in cold climates, indoor light gardens offer a way to grow small, tender species of cacti, such as the following species.
Initially somewhat flat, the ball cacti eventually form ribbed clusters of round ball-like bodies.
Clusters of spines grow from the ribs. From the top of the plants, the showy, funnel-like orange-red blooms open any time between spring and autumn.
Reaching about six inches at most in height, these are much-ribbed with clusters of spines emerging from along the angles or ribs. The shape can range from rounded to more cylindrical.
These plants are best known for their spectacular flowers, which open during the summer and early fall. Very large, these funnel-like blooms appear on short, thick, almost leafy stalks. The flower color can vary from one species to another.
Also known as pygmy cacti, these globe-shaped species remain quite small even when mature. Native to the Andes, these are dotted with tubercles. From spring to mid-summer, these floriferous plants have showy bright yellow or red flowers.
Golden barrel cactus
Though the mature plants may be too large to make good houseplants, the young ones are quite suitable for indoor light gardens. As the plant gets older, it will develop many ribs. Along the angles will be the golden spines for which the plant is named.
Larger plants will have showy, vivid yellow blooms that emerge in the summer months, forming a ring around the rim of the plant.
Opuntias (Opuntia spp.)
Some of the smaller opuntias are suitable for indoor light gardens, including the following.
Bunny ears has new pads that emerge from the top of the older ones. These are covered with closely spaced tufts of very short, bristly spines. Depending on the variety being grown, these can be white, yellow, or reddish-brown.
Bunny ears cactus has vivid yellow blooms that open on very short stems.
Pin cushion cacti
A number of these cacti are suitable for indoor light gardens. These low growing plants are rounded to oblong, and form neat clusters. The bodies are just covered with sharp spines and long white hairs. The star-like blooms open on the top of the bodies with the color varying from one species to another