Commonly recognised for the species’ known as Bishop’s Cap (such as Astrophytum myriostigma), Astrophytum are a slow-growing cactus with pink, white or yellow flowers protruding from the apex of the plant during spring-summer.
The Silver Torch cactus (also known as Woolly Torch), or Cleistocactus strausii, is a clumping, frost tolerant cactus of grey/white columns, which usually grow to approximately 1.5m in a domestic environment. Red flowers protrude horizontally from the mature columns during summer.
The popularly known Golden Barrel, or Echinocactus grusonii, is a hardy, globose cactus which can reach approximately 1m. This cactus may or may not clump depending on environmental factors. Yellow flowers form around the crown of mature plants during summer.
Echinocereus knippelianus is a soft, plump, clumping cactus which has pink flowers from the apex of the plant in spring and summer. It is small (approximately 10cm), usually round in shape and can tolerate both sun and frost.
Echinopsis (Syn. Lobivia, Trichocereus)
E. arachnacantha – Small, abundantly clumping cactus with showy flowers of red, yellow, orange, white or pink during spring-summer. This species requires protection from full sun and frost.
E. subdenudata – A rarely clumping, small spined species which will usually reach approximately 30cm in height. Very large white blooms on long tubes appear through spring-summer.
E. scopulicola – A columnar species with very small spines. Mature plants form large white flowers in summer.
The Peruvian Old Man Cactus, or Espostoa melanostele, is a tall (typically less than 2m), clumping species with woolly, grey-white columns. This plant will tolerate a full sun position once acclimatised.
Ferocactus wislizeni, also known as the Fishhook Cactus or Arizona Barrel Cactus, has thick, hooked spines and yellow to red-orange flowers during summer. This cactus will tolerate full sun to part shade and is tolerant of frost.
G. baldianum – The Chin Cactus is a small, flat-globose cactus with short stemmed flowers forming on the crown. Flowers can be magenta, pink, red, orange or white and form in early summer.
G. mihanovichii – Known as the Chin Cactus or Moon Cactus, this species is commonly grown as a grafted ornamental plant. The brightly coloured cacti (yellow, orange, pink, red or purple) lack chlorophyll and are grafted onto another plant to survive, typically Hylocereus (Dragonfruit). This species prefers a warm position; however it can be harmed by the full hot sun. Flowers appear in summer.
Hatiora (Syn. Rhipsalidopsis)
Hatiora gaertneri and related hybrids are commonly known as the Easter Cactus or Spring Cactus as they typically form star-like flowers in spring. They are suitable for hanging baskets and thrive in a bright position.
Isolatocereus dumortieri, or Candelabra Cactus, is a sun hardy, columnar, branching cactus with white flowers which open at night. This plant will grow up to 15m in nature.
There are currently around 200 known species of Mammillaria, making the genus one of the largest in the cactus family. An attractive quality of this genus is the ring of petite flowers which form around the crown in most species. Listed below are some of the more commonly found Mammillaria:
M. albilanata – Usually solitary species, with a cylindrical habit, short spines and some wooliness. This cactus will grow in the full hot sun to partial shade. A ring of pink, magenta or red flowers form in summer.
M. bocasana – A small, clustering, woolly species known as the Powder Puff, Pincushion or Snowball Cactus. Flowers range from cream to pink.
M. bombycina – Known as the Silken Pincushion, this species can be solitary or clumping and has hooked reddish-brown spines. It is globose in shape and flowers of pink or white form in spring. Full sun to part shade is preferable, with a light frost tolerance.
M. celsiana – The Golden Pincushion is a globose cactus with gold radial spines and woolly areoles. It requires a well-lit position and protection from frost. Rings of small carmine flowers form in spring.
M. elongata – The Lady Finger Cactus is a small (usually 15cm or less) species with densely packed clusters of elongated oval stems, which requires full sun to part shade. Spring flowers are cream to yellow.
M. elongata cristata – Often referred to as the Brain Cactus because of its brain-like appearance, this cactus will form white, yellow or pink flowers in summer and requires full sun to part shade. The undulating, wavy crests eventually grow into a mass around 30cm.
M. gracilis fragilis – The Arizona Snowcap is a petite, prolifically branching, cylindrical speciesdensely covered with white radial spines. It prefers a well-lit position and protection from frost. Cream coloured flowers can form for most of the year but are most common in late summer to early autumn.
M. haageana elegans – Usually solitary but clustering with age, this cactus forms dark pink flowers in spring and tolerates full sun to part shade.
M. hahniana – The woolly Old Lady Cactus grows around 25cm tall, with a solitary, globose, slightly squat habit. It prefers a warm position of full sun to part shade and forms a ring of dark pink flowers in spring, summer and sometimes winter.
M. marksiana – A flattened globose species with bright yellow flowers in late winter and spring. It prefers a sunny position.
M. matudae – A cylindrical species known as the Thumb Cactus which forms clusters with age, usually around 10-20cm in height. It prefers full sun to part shade and protection from frost. Dark pink flowers form in late spring to early summer.
M. microhelia – A small (usually around 15cm), columnar cactus which can be solitary or clumping. Flowers appear in spring and can be white, cream, yellow, pink, magenta or red.
M. spinosissima – Commonly available in the cultivar Pico, this ovate species features distinctively long, white, delicate, single spines. It typically reaches around 15cm in height and produces dark pink flowers in spring.
M. zeilmanniana – The Rose Pincushion usually reaches a height of around 15cm and prefers a sunny position, however protection from the hot afternoon sun is ideal, as well as protection from frost. Young plants are solitary but will clump with age. Pink flowers form in summer.
Mammilloydia candida is a globose cactus which can become cylindrical with age and can eventually reach 30cm in height. The short, white spines and woolly appearance have earned this species the common name Snowball Cactus. Flowers are pink or pinkish-white and form around late winter and well into spring.
Melocactus azureus, commonly known as Blue Turk’s Cap, is a blue-grey, globose species. Mature plants develop a cephalium, which is a dense mass of wool that forms a cap on the apex of the cactus. Once this cap forms, the main stem stops growing, but the cephalium will continue to grow.
Myrtillocactus geometrizans is a blue, branching, columnar cactus known as the Blue Torch which can grow up to 4.5m in nature. This plant can burn in the full sun when young, but will take the sun later into maturity.
Oreocereus celsianus, commonly named Old Man of the Andes or Old Man of the Mountain, is a columnar cactus with distinctively long, silky white hairs which help to protect the plant from intense sunlight and heat. Red tubular flowers form in spring on mature plants.
Parodia (Syn. Notocactus, Eriocactus)
P. leninghausii – The Golden Torch is a columnar cactus with delicate golden spines. It grows to approximately 1m tall and is tolerant of heat and frost. Yellow flowers are produced in spring to late summer.
P. magnifica – The Balloon Cactus (sometimes known as the Ball Cactus) requires full sun to part shade and protection from frost. Yellow flowers form near the apex at any time of the year but mostly through summer.
P. ottonis – The Indian Head cactus is a globose cactus which can reach approximately 30cm tall and requires light shade. Yellow flowers are produced in late spring to early summer.
P. submammulosa – A solitary, globose cactus with a squat apex. This species is both frost and heat tolerant and prefers full sun to part shade. Yellow flowers form in spring and summer.
P. werneri – Still commonly sold under the synonym Notocactus uebelmannianus, this small (usually around 15cm) and slightly squat, globose cactus is usually solitary with a glossy green body. It prefers a warm, sunny position but will need protection from the full hot sun in summer. Pink or magenta flowers form in spring and early summer around the apex.
Pilocereus azureus is a blue, columnar cactus with yellow spines commonly named the Blue Torch. This plant prefers a warm, full sun position or partial shade and will need protection from frost. White flowers appear in summer.
Rebutia (Syn. Sulcorebutia)
R. albiflora – A small, profusely clumping cactus covered with delicate, white, hair-like spines. Flower buds are pink which open into white flowers in spring. This species will need protection from the hot summer sun.
R. fabrisii – A compact, heavily clumping cactus with red flowers forming in spring. This species prefers a well-lit position.
R. fabrisii v. aureiflora – A compact, heavily clumping cactus which forms a mound up to 30cm tall. It requires a sunny to part shade position, however it will need protection from the hot summer sun. Yellow flowers appear in spring.
R. pulvinosa – A compact, heavily clumping cactus with bright orange flowers which form in spring. This plant grows best in part shade, as it can be easily scorched by the full sun.
R. heliosa var cajasensis – A clumping cactus which prefers a well-lit position but will also tolerate light shade. Red flowers form profusely in spring
R. baccifera – Commonly known as the Mistletoe Cactus, this species does best in shade to part-shade and will need protection from frost. Typically planted into hanging baskets, this trailing cactus can form slender stems up to 1.8m long.
R. houlletiana – Typically planted into hanging baskets, this trailing cactus forms thin, wide stems up to 1.8m long and does best in part to full shade. Pale yellow or white flowers form in spring to early summer.
R. paradoxa – The Chain Cactus is a trailing species suited to hanging baskets in a shade or part shade situation. Small, white flowers bloom in late winter to early spring.
R. pilocarpa – Tolerating full sun to partial shade, this trailing cactus is suited to hanging baskets. The higher tolerance to sun compared to the other Rhipsalis species is due to a covering of soft, white hairs. White flowers form at the tips of the stems in autumn to early winter.
R. teres syn. Capilliformis – Sometimes known as Old Man’s Beard or Link Cactus, this trailing species requires full to light shade and is suited to hanging baskets. White flowers form at the tips in late summer, autumn and winter.
Schlumbergera (Syn. Zygocactus, Epiphyllum)
Known commonly as the Christmas Cactus, Thanksgiving Cactus, Holiday Cactus or Crab Cactus, Schlumbergera prefer a lightly shaded but warm position and are suited to hanging baskets. Spectacular flowers form at the tips of the thick, flat stems in winter.
Stenocactus multicostatus is a small (usually 15cm or less), usually solitary, globose cactus with multiple thin, wavy ribs and flattened spines. Flowers are white or pink and form in spring and summer.
Stenocereus pruinosus is a columnar cactus known as the Grey Organ Pipe or Grey Ghost Organ Pipe. This species will accept full sun once acclimatised and will need protection from frost.
Thelocactusrinconensis ssp.freudenbergeri is a usually solitary, depressed or globose cactus which usually reaches approximately 10cm in height and has long, thin spines. Magenta flowers form in spring.