The Pros and Cons of Having a Cactus

If you’ve been struggling to decide whether getting a cactus as a houseplant is a good idea or not, you’re in the right place! 

Getting a cactus has a lot of pros: they’re easy to maintain, can tolerate a fair amount of neglect, and can even improve your air quality. On the flip side, if you have pets or small children or live in an area with very little sunshine, you might want to do a bit more research first. 

The Pros of Having a Cactus as a Houseplant 

Don’t Need A Lot Of Water

The way that cacti store water is a fascinating process. They hoard moisture inside its plant cells. The water is stored in the fleshy tissue parts of the leaves, stems, and roots. Every time it rains, the cactus holds the water in reserve to use as needed. This is what allows the plant to flourish in harsh desert-like conditions. 

So, if you aren’t used to regularly watering plants, a cactus is a fantastic option as it can tolerate a fair amount of negligence. 

You only have to water your cactus if the potting mix is completely dry, so no more struggling to figure out the optimal watering schedule. In fact, some cacti species can survive the entire winter without any water. So a cactus is an excellent fit if you live in an area with water shortages or restrictions. 

Varied Colors, Shapes and Sizes

Getting your first cactus should probably come with a warning because it’s so easy to fall in love with this unique plant. And once you do, there is an endless amount of cacti that you will suddenly want to add to your collection.  

With over 2000 species to choose from, you’re bound to find one that you love. And from there, it’s easy to become obsessed with these incredible plants. Some popular options include Echinocactus, Opuntia, Gymnocalycium, Ferocactus, and Mammillaria.

Not Prone To Disease

Plants can be pretty fragile. Fortunately, pests and diseases are a rare concern for cacti. Pets such as mealybugs can be easily wiped off with alcohol-dipped cotton swabs, and if you keep your cactus under the right conditions, bacterial rot or any fungal issues are very rare. 

Easy to Maintain

Not only do cacti need very little water, but they also need very few nutrients. This means that you’ll only need to fertilize your plant once or twice a year. Only do this in late spring or summer when your plant is actively growing. 

If you love having plants around you, but don’t want to be bogged down by anything more than watering them, then a cactus is a fantastic option. 

Easy to propagate

Cacti are pretty easy to propagate using stem cuttings. As long as you consider the cacti’s natural growth condition, rooting your new cactus is pretty straightforward. 

This means an endless supply of beautiful plants for yourself or to give as gifts. Or, in the rare event that a part of your cactus catches a disease, you should still be able to salvage it by propagating new cacti with the unaffected parts.

Propagating succulents is also immensely rewarding, and many cacti growers and hobbyists that have successfully propagated plants find it highly engaging. 

Improve air quality 

Some types of cacti species can remove toxins from the air. They can do this thanks to tiny spores found on their stems that absorb gasses from the atmosphere.  

At night, they remove carbon dioxide and release oxygen. So, consider putting a cactus in your bedroom to supplement the flow of oxygen.

Longevity

If you take good care of your cactus, it might actually outlive you! The lifespan of a cactus in the desert is estimated to be between 10 and 200 years, depending on the species. 

There are many factors that affect the lifespan of a cactus, but in general, you won’t have to buy new plants every couple of years. If a significant chunk of your budget is already going to plants, that’s a great way to justify to yourself or your partner to add another plant to your home. 

Cons of Having a Cactus as a Houseplant

Require Lots Of Light

While cacti need very little in terms of care, they do require strong light to thrive. If you think about where cacti grow in the wild, it’s always in regions with an abundance of sunshine and heat. While in these regions, cacti can withstand extreme temperatures. 

You might struggle with growing cacti if you live somewhere with very little sunshine. However, you can always get a grow light if you’re afraid your cactus isn’t getting enough sun. 

They Can Be Dangerous to Children and Pets

If you have kids or pets, you must first check if your new plant will pose any danger. Unfortunately, cacti can be hazardous as they usually have splinters or spines that can cause irritation and even infection. They grow these spines as a means of protecting themselves. 

However, with a little bit of research, you will be able to find a cactus that won’t pose any danger to your loved ones, although it’s probably best to still keep it out of reach. Here’s a handy guide that will help you determine if a plant is poisonous or not. 

Repotting Can Be A Pain – Literally

At some point, any plant needs to be repotted for it to thrive. However, with a cactus, you need a bit more extra preparation to protect yourself because of its sharp spines. 

Arm yourself with a good set of gloves or other protective gear before attempting to repot your cactus. Otherwise, you might find out just how sharp their spines are!

According To Feng Shui They Can Direct Bad Energy

According to Feng Shui principles, decorating your house with cactus plants can turn your home into a place of conflict, instead of peace and harmony. 

So, if you want a peaceful home, Feng Shui dictates that you should opt for plants with soft and rounded leaves that promote a peaceful atmosphere.

Summing Up

Overall, cacti make great houseplants. They have some downsides, such as the potential risk for children and pets, and they do need a lot of light. But they add color to any room and are super easy to care for, making them fantastic plants for your home!

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