Trend Alert: Cool Indoor Cacti
One of our favorite new trends in interiors is the oh-so drought-friendly indoor cactus. A longtime fixture in southwestern design, the spiny succulents has ventured beyond its usual warm-weather confines to interiors across the globe, from chic Parisian living rooms to chilly Scandinavian lounges. We’ve been bitten by the bug ourselves (or pricked, we should say), and our love for the low-maintenance plants shows no signs of waning.
From entryways in traditional homes to offices in boho pads, the handsome cactus can be used in practically any space. To get you on board with the trend, we’ve rounded up some of our favorite cactus-accented rooms. Scroll to see them, plus read about popular cactus types and how to care for them.
There are literally hundreds of species of cacti—certainly too many to name. But if you’re interested in buying one, the best way to identify them when you’re perusing a nursery is by their growth forms. Some of the most popular cacti that we’re seeing include columnar, cylindrical, flattened-padded (these are the ones with leaves), shrubby, and treelike. Browse our photos below to get a sense for what appeals to you most, and visit CactiGuide.com to learn more.
We spoke with Jeff Kaplon of newly opened Echo Park nursery Cactus Store, which specializes exclusively in rare and strange varieties of cactus, to learn how to best care for the plants. (Kaplon is a designer at celebrated design firm Commune Design, so he also knows a thing or two about creating gorgeous interior spaces!)
“When you water your cactus, you want to emulate what happens in a desert,” Kaplon says. “It pours heavily for a day or two and then does not rain for many days, months, or even years.” With that in mind, you should water thoroughly when you water. What does that mean? “You should see a substantial amount of water escaping from the bottom of the pot,” he says.
Your watering technique will also vary depending on the cactus you own. If it's a desert indoor cactus, then it will require less watering during the dormant season (Oct. through March) and the growing season (March through June). Read this guide for more details.
Another essential for cacti, and all plants, is lighting. Kaplon says, “Imagining their natural habitat is a helpful trick.” Desert cacti, for instance, require much more light than jungle cacti. “If you have a desert cactus indoors, it needs the most light as absolutely possible,” he says.
A few helpful tips:
- Rotate your plant every two weeks so it gets an even amount of sun on each side.
- If your plant takes on an off color or a bleached-out look, or is turning yellow on one side, it is getting uneven light and should be rotated.
- If your plant suddenly gets very bright sunlight or if the weather suddenly turns hot with lots of sunshine, it can scorch, which can scar it for the rest of its life. So beware of the sunlight and take precautions in unusual cases.
- A tell-tale sign of a cactus receiving too little light is if it begins to etiolate (or pale) or appear to reach for the light source. A cactus that’s normally round might begin to look as if it’s being stretched out from its center. Be sure to move it into stronger light conditions if so.
Are you a fan of the cactus trend? What types of indoor house plants do you own? Tell us in the comments below.