20+ Cactus Landscaping Ideas (With Pictures)
Landscaping with cactus brings a unique style with a natural look to your front yard or backyard. These plants are a type of drought-resistant plant that will help when trying to choose a yard that helps with water conservation.
When you choose to landscape with cactus you will find that you have a lot more possibilities than you may have thought. Whether you choose to have a zen cactus garden, a cactus forest or just to use cactus as an accent among other plants and landscape items this article will help you find what it is you are looking for.
What are they?
Cacti are a type of succulent perennial plant. They are drought-tolerant plants and desert plants that require little water and little to low maintenance. Cactus plants are plants that produce beautiful flowers.
Cacti are the best plants for those of us that live in a warm climate. Cacti have relatively shallow root systems that allow them to absorb as much rainwater as possible. Cacti grow in many different shapes and various colors. They grow in columns, barrels, and paddles, with thin stems, and even form small balls. The skin color of cacti can range from light and dark dark green colors to shades of gray and almost blue. The colors of flower cacti can be bright colors such as orange, pink, red, and yellow.
When do they bloom?
While they typically bloom during the hot summer months a few cacti are capable of blooming at other times. In early spring the Easter Cactus also known as the Spring Cactus blooms. They bloom from March to April and some can bloom through May. Late spring will bring the blooms of the prickly pears, starting in early May. The Saguaros and fishhook cactus bloom during the summer. You’ll typically find that cactus is dormant during the fall and winter seasons. A good idea is to use the dormant time (fall and winter) to start coming up with cactus garden ideas. You’ll want to be ready to plant from about Mid-May to late June and early July.
What to plant them in?
If you are looking to plant your cacti in containers the best type of plant to use would be ceramic terracotta pots, (clay pots) or plastic pots. Avoid metallic pots. Planting these drought-resistant plants in a pot is a great idea to add style and color to your desert gardens. You’ll want to check to make sure you know what cactus grows best in a small space.
How much sun do they need?
The answer is a lot of sunlight. Cacti typically need 10 to 14 hours of sunlight a day. While you will find that most cacti need full sun, meaning at least 6 hours of sun a day, there are some that can handle the partial sun. Make sure you know whether you have a desert cactus plant of a tropical cactus plant, desert plants thrive in direct sunlight, whereas tropical cactus plants prefer indirect sunlight and partial shade.
Garden ideas with Cactus
A rock garden is a beautiful way to create a focal point that requires little maintenance. Mixing this hardy desert plant and taking type to place rocks of different sizes while helping showcase the natural beauty of your cacti. Try including rocks of different shapes and sizes in your rock garden. Pea gravel, large boulders, and flat stones will help create your space. Each type of rock will give you a different look in your garden. River rock is a large smooth rock, whereas pea gravel is a lot smaller but also round and smooth.
Adding a cacti garden that features several varieties of cactus is sure to make a statement in any yard. This is a great idea for those of you living in harsh arid landscapes. Your outdoor cactus garden will bring a very western, desert look to any space. Give your garden a natural look by using different species of cacti in your garden bed.
Add cacti to your succulent garden design. Cacti are a type of succulent plant meaning they blend beautifully with succulents in your home garden. Since cacti and succulents have similar needs they typically can be planted together without any problem. A few of our favorite succulents to plant with cacti are the Agave, Sempervivum, and Echeveria.
Adding cactus to your existing flower bed is another great way to incorporate different plants into your yard. The African Daisy blooms in late spring and again in late summer. African daisies come in a variety of colors such as purple, pink, yellow, orange, and white. They do well in the full sun making them great companion plants to cacti. Other plants that would be great additions to your own cactus garden would be the trailing lantana plant, mountain pepper bush and the red valerian plant.
Cacti need sandy, pebbly or porous soil. They need good drainage. you wouldn’t want to use just regular potting soil for your cacti as it has too much matter that holds moisture. Lava rock or another form of pumice is a great option to avoid the soil compacting around the roots of the cacti. One option to consider is making your own potting soil. This is made up of one-third horticultural sand, one-third grit (pumice, or other porous gravel), and one-third cactus compost. If you were to head to your local garden store you’ll be able to find several brands of cactus soil mix.
There are over 2,000 species of cacti giving you plenty of options when it comes to creating your perfect place. The most popular types of cacti include the barrel cactus, star cactus, bunny ear cactus, and Easter cactus, though obviously, these are just a few of many, many cacti types.
The organ pipe cactus is a type of cactus that grows similarly to the pipes of an organ. It grows slender, verticle stems that are about 6 inches in diameter. They do not branch out and are able to reach a height of 25 feet tall, though they typically range between 15 and 20 feet tall. Full to partial sunlight is best for this type of cactus. It prefers a warm climate but can be an indoor plant if needed during winter. It is a slow grower that doesn’t mind sandy, rocky ground.
The prickly pear cactus has wide flat pads. Their flowers come in yellow, red, and purple. They grow between 6 and 12 inches tall and 18 inches wide but can also grow into 10 to 15-foot trees. They thrive in the full sun and bloom from June to July. This particular cactus is extremely drought resistant and does not need a lot of water. In fact, in the first month, you don’t want them at all and after that, it’s approximately every two to four weeks for the first year.
The golden barrel cactus, also known as the echinocactus grusonii, is typically grown as a house plant but can be used in an outdoor garden where the climate is dry. At their mature size, they are approximately 3 1/2 feet tall and 2 feet wide. They bloom in summer but not until they are fairly old. Their flowers are yellow and if their name didn’t give it away they grow in a ball shape.
Add height to your yard by including a few large cactus to your yard. The totem pole cactus grows up to 12 feet tall, while the Mexican fence post cactus can grow up to 16 feet tall. Don’t forget about the organ pipe cactus mentioned above, it also grows very tall, some as tall as 30 feet! Other large cactus plants are baioensis, candelabra cactus, and cowboy cactus.
This desert landscape design with cactus and large rocks is sure to be a show-stopper in any yard. The different heights, different colors, and textures of the cacti, plants, and rocks add character to this beautiful yard. There are several options to choose from when it comes to large rocks. Flagstones, boulders, retaining wall rocks, pavers, and stepping stones just to name a handful.
Mixing palm trees, and succulent plants with cacti is a beautiful way to create a small cactus garden. The colorful succulents really make the green tones of the cacti and other plants really pop. Palm trees, like cactus are able to be grown in containers. They are long-living and come in a variety of sizes.
This gorgeous garden bed is created by mixing river rock with small rocks. Another idea is to use white rocks around your cacti. The white enhances the gorgeous colors the cacti have to offer, and they can help to brighten your space. White garden rock can come in several different shapes and sizes. It can be crushed or smooth.
Smaller stones and big flat rocks surrounding succulent plants and cacti bring drought-resistant gardening to the next level. Don’t be afraid to mix smaller succulents to add a different texture (like a smooth rosette) to your yard. Try combining a variety of small stones and rocks in your garden for added dimension and texture.
If you want something for small spaces, try creating a mini cactus garden for your porch. That’s right, mini container gardens aren’t required to be indoors only and who wouldn’t want to be greeted by this gorgeous planter at your front door. This planter was filled with columnar cactus as well as round cactus to give height and shape while showing just a few of the amazing things mother nature offers.
Where to find it?
When shopping for cactus for your yard we recommend checking your local nursery. Typically you will find employees there with the knowledge to let you know what cacti will grow best in your native habitat. Another option is to look online. There you will find many options around you as well as shipping options.
When it comes to landscaping ideas using cactus, the possibilities are nearly endless. With a little time and a little research, you will be able to create an amazing cactus garden for you and your family to enjoy. Some things to remember are, how much space you have and how much space you will need for each plant. You’ll want to make sure you plant cacti in the best possible location for them to thrive.