by Lynn KirkJun 2, 2021

what are the different types of cactus


The types of cactus run the gamut in terms of shape, texture, and size. Three well-recognized shapes include:

  • Round barrels with precise rows of prickly spines encircling the whole
  • Elongated columns that typically stand short, yet ever-so-straight
  • Jointed limbs that erratically reach upward to the sky.

As for their textures, some cacti are smooth and waxy, others ribbed and bumpy. Juxtaposing contrasting textures makes for an interesting garden, as does tucking in a few non-cactus succulents. And when it comes to size, some cactus varieties can grow as tall as trees while others are content to stay small and compact. With thousands of known species, your options seem endless!

Check out the following cactus varieties and photos:


Cactus garden

Fortunately, you can enjoy the rugged beauty and character of different kinds of cactus without traveling to Arizona or an Amazon rainforest. If you live in Zones 7 through 10, an outdoor cactus garden might be possible, depending on the conditions and cactus variety (talk to an expert first!). Raised beds work well, so you can control the drainage and soil.

Or you can make an own indoor oasis for year-round enjoyment without ever leaving home.

Growing conditions and care

Be sure to verify the specific growing needs of each cactus variety, since they vary.

  • Epiphytic cacti grow naturally in shaded conditions, such as high in trees under the shadow of a leaf canopy. No wonder that they care not for bright afternoon sun. They grow on other plant hosts, not in soil.
  • Desert cacti are the ones that welcome sun, sun, and more sun. They’re tough, hardy, and yep, hard to kill.

Check out this blog for tips on cactus care.

Tip: Plant in high-drainage cactus soil and keep on hand a 60-hour heat pack for use when needed.


Cacti are superheroes in the plant world

They’re AMAZING plants for reasons more than their oh-so-distinct appearance.

  • Temperature extremes: Some types of cactus can survive scorching heat that registers 100+ degrees by day, followed by freezing temperatures overnight.
  • Intermittent drought: Since it’s a succulent, a cactus is somewhat self-sufficient—and definitely efficient—when it comes to water. Its fleshy stems store available water for future use, plus it responds quickly to intake any sporadic rainfall that happens to occur.
  • Adaptations: Some cacti also have another incredible survival technique: the ability to adapt to specific climates when needed.
  • Floral array: And though the different types of cactus seem tough and condescending with all their spiny attire, cacti produce some of nature’s most dazzling flowers: multi-colored, multi-petaled, and multi-magnificent!


Quality matters

Succulent Market is one of only a few cactus growers in the United States! You order, and farm-fresh cacti ship that day. Added bonus: Succulent Market does not purchase from other retailers or import cacti from other countries for resale. Succulent Market’s cacti are nurtured on-site by fourth-generation growers of the superhero cactus. Order today, and you’ll agree. Succulent Market is a super grower with super plants and super service!