Keeping a thriving garden isn't as easy as it looks: you have to tend to all of the different types of plants, making sure they each get enough water and sun, and sometimes you have to re-plant them at the start of a new season. Cacti, however, are pretty low maintenance.
While you can't have a full-blown cactus garden in cold climates, they make for a great indoor garden plant in cooler temps and thrive outdoors in warm, dry environments (like the desert). Whether you're looking to grow a desert garden of your own in the great outdoors or start slow indoors, we've rounded up 20 ideas to get you started.
From hand-painted planters to beautiful yard landscapes, read on for 20 cactus garden ideas that are sure to inspire your next planting session.
Decorate Your Patio
If you have a concrete patio outdoors, chances are it's pretty hard to plant things—after all, you can't exactly dig into your patio floor to start a garden. To create the look of a garden lining the perimeter of your space, plant tall cacti in pots and have them hang out in corners and along walls. This will create the illusion of garden space and add some greenery to your patio.
Add Color to Your Collection
We're all about adding some green to your space, but cacti come in all sorts of colors that are worth showing off. Add some variation to your cactus garden by adding cacti that are bursting with bright red, pink, and yellow colors, like this Euphorbia lactea, also known as a coral cactus.
Group Different Varieties Together
While symmetry is super satisfying, there's something about mixing cactus species that looks extremely funky. Switch between round, tall, short, and skinny cacti in different sized pots and planters to keep things visually interesting in your cactus garden.
Step It Up
Finding creative ways to display your plants can be difficult, but sometimes using what you already have is the key to making your green friends stand out. Use stairs to display different types of cacti and succulents. The stairs will act as risers for each of your plants, and you don't even have to buy any additional shelving or stands for them.
Go for Groups of Three
There's something extremely pleasing about grouping items in odd numbers—maybe it's the asymmetry. This cactus trio may be made of similar-sized plants, but they all stand out in their own way.
Use Macrame Hangers
If you're feeling crafty, making your own macrame hangers is a great way to display your cacti, creating a hanging garden. If you aren't in the mood to DIY, you can also buy macrame hangers for a pretty reasonable price.
The best part? These hangers can go outdoors (like on a deck or porch) or hang inside near a window, so it's a great option for whatever kind of climate you're in.
DIY Your Own Pots
Starting with terracotta pots is the way to go with any type of plant you may have: they're affordable, have great drainage, and you can customize them however you want down the line. Painting pots is a great way to create unique vessels for your plants, and if you gather them together, they create a unique cactus garden.
Use Your Mantel Space
Decking out a fireplace mantel (real or faux!) with plants adds some life to an otherwise bland space at home. By grouping cacti together, you not only create a cute little garden, but you also make it easier on yourself on watering day. You can knock out all of your cacti at once!
Use Vertical Space
Using walls as plant displays is one of our favorite small-space hacks, especially for tiny outdoor spaces. Hanging rows of terracotta pots along a wall is a great way to keep things looking neat and tidy without much effort. Plus, it's easy to swap plants out of the holders if you want to mix things up every once in a while.
Mix and Match Varieties
The more, the merrier, especially when you're talking plants. Mix succulents and cacti alike to create an eclectic garden that doesn't require a ton of watering.
Covering your soil with pebbles will help keep moisture in, meaning fewer waterings needed. It's also a great way to add more color and texture to your garden.
If you really value uniformity, plant all your cacti in the same size, shape, and color pot. Bonus points for using the same color gravel on top of your soil, too.
Use a Terrarium
Starting small doesn't mean you can only have one plant! Making a terrarium is a great way to try your hand at growing multiple kinds of plants without having to commit to a huge planter. They're super fun to DIY, although you can find pre-made ones at your local garden center, too.
Keep Plants in Nursery Pots
Honestly, unless you notice that they're severely root-bound or need new soil entirely, it's totally okay to leave all of your plants in their nursery pots for a while. The drainage holes at the bottom make it easy to allow excess water to flow out, and you can pop them into whatever planter you want without having to replant your cactus every single time.
Use Unexpected Materials
Cacti are made for growing in difficult areas and climates, so why not create your own unique environment for your plants? Placing cacti in a stiffer growing medium (like moss or tightly-packed dirt) allows you to take a more artful approach to planting. You can place them in an old fan like above, or go for something like a wall planter instead.
Gather Them on a Bar Cart
Having your plants all in one place doesn't mean they have to be gathered on a floor or windowsill. Neatly arranging them on a bar cart is a nice way to keep them together and create a lively décor piece in your home.
Mix Things Up
A cactus garden can have more than just cactus. Try creating a canvas of bright pinks or other contrasting colors behind your cacti, allowing them to stand out from the rest of your plants.
Cacti tend to grow somewhat slowly, but they're worth the wait. Create a garden out of big, tall cacti to really make a statement. In this case, only a couple of cacti make a huge impact.
Go for Flowering Species
Although they may seem rare, cactus flowers are well worth the wait. They come in a ton of different shapes and sizes, and they really stand out against the green of the fleshy plant. Imagine how gorgeous spring blooms will be in your garden!