The Ultimate Guide To Choosing The Best Cactus For Your Outdoor Pot

Cacti are a type of plant that is adapted to desert conditions. They have several features that help them survive in hot, dry environments, such as large, water-saving leaves and spines that shield them from predators. Additionally, cacti can store water in their stems, allowing them to endure extended dry spells.

Consider potting a cactus to give your outdoor d├ęcor a desert flair! Cacti come in all shapes and sizes, so you can find one that fits perfectly in your space. But with so many options, which cactus is best for an outdoor pot? 

In this article, I’ll go over the best cactus for outdoor pots and how to care for your outdoor cactus pot. Stay tuned for more information!

Benefits of outdoor cactus pots

Outdoor cactus pots are a great way to add a splash of color and personality to your garden. Not only do they offer beautiful landscape features, but they are also beneficial in many ways. Additionally, cacti can store water in their stems, allowing them to endure extended dry spells.

  • They can add height and interest to your garden.
  • They can serve as homes for tiny animals and plants.
  • They can help reduce the effects of wind and rain on plants.
  • They can provide a focal point for your garden.

Perfect outdoor cactus pot size

There are many factors to consider when choosing an outdoor cactus pot for your succulent.

  • First, you will want to decide where you plan to place your cactus. A bright pot might be a good choice in direct sunlight. However, a darker pot might be more appropriate if you plan on keeping the cactus in the shade.
  • Next, consider the size of the pot. Most succulents will grow well in small pots around 12 inches in diameter or less. Plants that require more space can be placed in larger pots, but these pots also tend to heat up more quickly and need more frequent watering.
  • Another consideration is whether you want to grow your cactus in sunlight or shaded areas. A shaded area will require a larger pot since most cacti do not do well in direct sunlight. If you intend to grow your cactus in direct sunlight, purchase a bigger pot to give it more room to develop and grow.
  • Finally, think about drainage: if water accumulates inside the pot and gets absorbed by the soil instead of draining out, it can cause rot or fungal growth. Ensure enough clearance around all sides of the pot so that water can flow freely from it when it rains, or irrigation is used.

Where to place your outdoor cactus pot?

Finding the ideal location for your outdoor cactus pot involves a few factors.

  • The first factor is how much sunlight the plant will get. Place your pot in an area that receives plenty of sun throughout the day because cacti need a lot of light to grow and thrive.
  • Another important factor to consider is drainage. Cacti do not like having their roots sitting in water, so make sure your pot has good drainage holes in the bottom. You may also want to place a layer of gravel or rocks at the pot’s bottom before adding soil to help drainage.
  • Consider the overall design of your garden or outdoor area as the last step.

The best cactus for outdoor pots

Many cacti can be grown in containers, but the best cactus for outdoor pots are hardy in cold climates and do not require a lot of water. This list includes some of the most popular cacti for containers.

1. The barrel cactus (Echinopsis barrel): This plant is easy to grow and does not require a lot of water, making it perfect for containers. It can grow up to 12 inches tall and has spines on its stem that can irritate the skin. However, this plant is hardy in cold climates and can be grown outdoors in most parts of the United States.

2. The elephant ear cactus (Ceratophyllum demersum): This cactus is also simple to grow and does not require much water. It has long, thin spines and can grow to 12 inches. This plant is cold-hardy and can be grown outside most parts of the United States.

3. The hedgehog cactus (Echinopsis hedgehog): This cactus is another water-efficient plant that is simple to grow. It has spines on its stem that can irritate skin and grow up to 15 inches tall. However, this plant can be grown outdoors in most regions of the United States and is hardy in cold climates.

4. The mother-in-law’s tongue cactus (Sansevieria trifasciata): This cactus is popular for its colorful spikes and stems. It is ideal for containers because it can grow up to 18 inches tall and doesn’t need much water. This plant is hardy in cold climates and can be grown outdoors in most parts of the United States.

5. The Saguaro Cactus (Carnegiea gigantea): The Saguaro Cactus is one of the most popular cacti for containers because of its large size (up to 40 feet tall). Additionally, this cactus does not require a lot of water and can tolerate low light levels, making it perfect for locations that do not receive a lot of sunlight. However, this plant is not hardy in cold climates and will die if temperatures drop below freezing outside.

6. The barrel cacti (Echinopsis barrel): These plants are similar to the barrel cactus listed above but have shorter spines on their stems that do not irritate the skin. They are also simpler to maintain because they require less sunlight and water than other varieties of cacti. These plants are typically smaller than the barrel cactus. However, they can still grow up to 12 inches tall and have a lifespan of 10-20 years when planted in average conditions.

7. The Christmas tree Cactus (Mesembryanthemum crystallinum): This plant is popular for its evergreen branches and bright green leaves that change colour during the season. It grows up to 30 feet tall but usually stays below 20 feet due to weak wood. Additionally, this plant does not require much water, making it perfect for containers or areas where access to water may be limited.

8. The Bearded Cactus (Chollasnopus terricola): This plant grows slowly due to its thick beard-like stem, which helps protect it from drought conditions. Additionally, this cactus tolerates low light levels making it perfect for areas where supplemental lighting may be necessary. 

9. The Bird’s Nest Cactus (Monstera deliciosa variegata): This plant is a popular choice for those who want an exotic-looking cactus that can grow large. On average, it can grow up to 30 feet tall, but under extremely uncommon conditions, it can grow even taller. Additionally, the leaves are large and have a variegated pattern which gives them an interesting look. 

10. The Coast Barrel Cactus (Echinopsis littoralis): This cactus is popular for its unique barrel-shaped trunk and succulent leaves that are often used in floral arrangements. It grows slowly but can reach heights of up to 25 feet with a lifespan of 50-70 years.

How to care for your outdoor cactus pot?

Outdoor cacti require little to no care if they are in a pot. However, there are a few ways to guarantee their well-being and longevity.

  1. Water the plant sparingly, allowing the soil to dry out between waterings.
  2. Fertilize with a weak liquid fertilizer every two weeks in the spring and summer.
  3. Remove any dead or diseased cactus from the pot once a year, as these plants are susceptible to disease.
  4. Avoid over-watering or overwatering by keeping an eye on your plant’s soil moisture level and adding more water only if necessary.
  5. Protect your cactus from frost by planting it in an area that receives at least six hours of sunlight daily.
  6. Prune away old growth when it becomes too thick or spindly, as this can cause damage to the plant’s stem and roots.
  7. If your plant begins to deteriorate or show signs of illness, replace it with a new one rather than trying to maintain it.

Frequently Asked Questions

Do cacti grow well in pots?

It is based on various factors, including the type of cactus, the size of the pot, the potting soil, and the amount of water and light the plant receives. Cacti do, however, generally well in pots as long as they are given enough space to grow.

What cactus can stay outside in winter?

Because it is a succulent plant, the cactus can remain outside during the winter. Because succulent plants can store water in their leaves, stems, and roots, they can endure dry conditions. Additionally, cacti have evolved to withstand intense sunlight and powerful winds.

Can a cactus take full sun?

The cactus can tolerate full sun, but it will not grow as quickly or produce as many flowers if it is not given some shade during the hottest part of the day.

Can potted cactus stay outside in winter?

Potted cactus can stay outside in winter if the temperature does not drop below freezing. The cactus will need to be protected from the wind and the sun. The pot ought to be put in a sunny area if at all possible.

How do you know when a cactus needs water?

There are a few ways to tell when a cactus needs water. One method is to observe the plant’s color. If the plant is starting to look yellow or brown, it is not getting enough water. Touching the soil can also reveal whether a cactus needs water.

What temperature is too hot for cactus?

The cactus is a succulent plant adapted to hot, dry climates. It can tolerate temperatures up to 100 degrees Fahrenheit. However, the cactus will experience heat stress if the temperature rises too high. The plant will begin to wilt, and its leaves will turn yellow. If the temperature gets too hot, the cactus will start to die.

Final word

Due to their low water requirements and ease of maintenance, cacti make excellent outdoor plants. They are available in various sizes and shapes, so you can find one that will work in your outdoor area. Cacti thrive in hot, dry environments because they can withstand harsh conditions.

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