What is a Cactus (KAK-tus) (Cacti) Plant?

A collection of beautiful cacti that have scales and spines instead of leaves to adapt to extremely dry desert areas. Most of them have thick fleshy stems or branches to conserve water, so they can tolerate drought very well. A cactus is a great addition to the home thanks to its striking shape, size and flowers.

All cactus plants are members of the Cactaceae family, and there are thousands of species of cactus. Desert cacti have a unique, strong beauty, and some of the desert cacti feature the most beautiful flowers in the plant kingdom.

Another type of cacti, the forest cacti are usually found in wooded areas, ranging from temperate forests to subtropical and tropical regions. One of the most popular forest cacti is Christmas/Thanksgiving cactus.

Is Cactus a Succulent?

Succulents are a group of plant families that store water in their stems, leaves and roots. Cacti store water in their stems, which makes them a sub-category or a genus within the succulents groups of plant families. All cacti are succulents but not all succulents are cacti. 

Botanical Name Cactaceae
Common Name Cactus, desert cactus, forest cactus
Plant Type Succulents 
Mature Size Varies depending on variety
Sun Exposure Some direct sun; quantity varies depending on variety
Soil Type Well-draining sandy soil
Soil pH 5.5 to 7
Bloom Time Varies
Flower Color Varies
Hardiness Zones 9 through 11
Native Area Deserts and rain forests around the world

See our cactus collection video here 

Cactus Care Guide 


Desert cacti require strong light, especially in the winter. They'd do well with 6+hours of sunlight every day. However they could get sunburned if exposed to intense heat.

Forest cacti like bright indirect light. You could move them outside during their growth season (in the summer). But they also don't tolerate high heat well, so make sure they don't get scorched outside in the summer.


Use a fast draining soil mix for your cacti. You can use a ready made cactus soil mix or make a basic soil mix with a ratio 1:1 potting soil & inorganic matter (e.g perlite). More on soil mix for cacti and succulents here


During growing seasons (spring & summer) water your desert cacti whenever the soil is completely dry. And give them a good thorough soaking each time you water them. During dormant season (winter) cease watering, only water them if the plants begin to shrivel. 

You can water your forest cacti a bit more during growth period and reduce watering during dormant period. 


In the summer desert cacti prefer temperature from 70-80 F. In the winter, the plants prefer temperature of 55F. 

Forest cacti are more tolerant, they can thrive in an environment with temperature from 55-70F. In the winter, it's 50 F. 

However most cacti (with the exception of few) can't tolerate freezing temperature, so it's important to move them indoor in the winter. 


You can use a diluted fertilizer for your cacti during their active growth period. 


Lack of light: Thinning of the top growth 

Sunburn: Yellow scarring or splotches of extremities (in the summer and after being exposed to bright sun)

Under-watering: Under-watering cactus might have brown edging or markings or thinning of the overall stem. The stalks felt dry and brittle in stead of mushy and soft

Over-watering: Overwatering cactus becomes droopy and brown at the base. The plant also felt less stable when touched. 

Pests infestation: White clumps or scale on stems.

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