Cactus: plants in the family Cactaceae that are often characterized by having thick, fleshy stems, showy flowers, and lacking in leaves, typically well suited to living in arid habitats.

Basically, the plants that have tried very very hard to discourage being touched, and which humans try very very hard to cultivate with minimal touching. 

crested myrtillocactus

What Is Etiolation and How Can You Prevent It?

One of the most common issues with growing cacti and succulents is the problem of etiolation.  But what is it, and why should you care about it? Etiolation is an effect from growing a flowering plant in too little light, whether that's just not quite enough or even...

Growing Notocactus schlosseri – Cinnamon Cactus

These are a fairly common little cactus that I've had for quite a while, and sold quite a few of. A very attractive little cactus that stay a small, manageable size, they do well as little potted plants. As with most Notocactus species, they produce huge, brilliant...

Growing Sulcorebutia arenacea

An uncommon genus is the Rebutia or Sulcorebutia genus, which can form small clusters of plants (sometimes just a single main 'head'), often with small, dense spines. They tend to stay small, developing large clusters over time, and while cute aren't always very...

How to Grow Astrophytum myriostigma

These little cacti are favorites for almost all collectors; I can't think of any growers I know who don't have at least one in their collection (or had one at some point, anyway). The lack of spines, the alien-like appearance, and something about how sculptural they...

Growing Browningia hertlingiana – a Beautiful Blue Columnar Cactus

When you see one of these that's been well grown and has size to it, they're incredibly striking. I first spotted them on Instagram and immediately wanted one of my own. A tall, columnar blue cactus with chiseled tubercles for the spines? Sign me up! Browningia...

Growing Melocactus azureus – The Turk’s Cap Cactus

I've waited a long time to write about these, despite having grown them for the last 5 years and selling more than a few of them on my Etsy shop. They have a reputation for being hard to grow and finicky, something I experienced myself with the first couple I tried to...

Genus: Astrophytum

A small genus of cacti with only 5 species: 

  • Astrophytum asterias 
  • Astrophytum capricorne
  • Astrophytum caput-medusae
  • Astrophytum myriostigma
  • Astrophytum ornatum 

Extremely Variable

While only a few species exist in the genus, all except the most recently discovered (caput-medusae) have numerous cultivars. These carefully cultivated varieties can be more delicate than their “wild-type” cousins, but all are beautiful and rewarding to keep.

astrophytum ornatum

About the Astrophytum Genus

All cacti in the genus, in their wild form, come from the Chihuahuan desert in Mexico (north/east), ranging up into southern Texas. 

The entire genus is distinct in having fuzzy white trichomes (bumps) on their epidermis, or skin. Some varieties have been selectively bred to significantly reduce this fuzziness, but it is distinct in the species. All plants bloom yellow, with some having a red-centered flower, and certain recent cultivars showing pink blooms. 

They all produce dry, fuzzy seed pods with relatively large seeds that are generally easy to germinate. 

Astrophytum asterias

Astrophytum capricorne

Astrophytum caput-medusae

Astrophytum myriostigma

Astrophytum ornatum

Genus: Copiapoa

A genus with a fan club! Those who love copiapoa tend to become enormously dedicated to their favorite genus. While there are dozens of species, the entire genus is limited to Northern Chile. 

Hardy and Slow to Grow

All copiapoas are generally globose or cylindrical-globose in shape, extremely slow growing, and develop a wooly top. Nearly all of them bloom with bright yellow flowers. 

Copiapoa Cacti

All cacti in the genus originate in Northern Chile. The stark deserts they exist in get little to no measurable rainfall, with most moisture for the plants coming from fogs rolling in from the coast. 

While they grow in extreme conditions in the wild, cultivated plants are generally very forgiving. They stay small and manageable, which may be a reason they are so popular with collectors. 

Copiapoa esmeraldiana

Copiapoa haseltonia

Copiapoa humilis

Copiapoa hypogaea

Copiapoa marginata

Copiapoa marginata

Copiapoa montana (?)

Copiapoa tenuissima

copiapoa tenuissima

Genus: Echinocactus

A historically large genus, many modern collectors view it as having only 6 species currently. I’ll be lumping all cacti that were previously considered as Echinocactus in here, but will note their updated scientific name where possible.  

    Wide one point.

    The original description of the genus included plants that ranged from all over North & South America, were generally globe-shaped and didn’t fit in with either the Cereus or Melocactus genus. 

    echinocactus LA

    Echinocactus, Ferocactus, Echinocereus… 

    I have no where close to the entire historical genus of Echinocactus, and wouldn’t dream of trying to catalog them all this way. For now, I’ll list them below – to see more details about their updated genus, click through. 

    These cacti all share an affinity for nearly full sun, sparse winter watering, and plenty of heat. They’re all globe-shaped, and tend to produce yellow or pink flowers. I’m grouping all of my barrel shaped cacti here in true cactus sorting fashion.

    Echinocactus gentryi

    Now Echinocereus gentryi 

    Echinocactus grusonii

    Echinocactus ingens (coming soon)

    Echinocactus emoryi

    Mine may actually be E. ingens; now Ferocactus emoryi 

    Echinocereus rigidissimius var. rubrispinus

    Echinopsis subdenudata

    Echinopsis var. "Rainbow Bursts"

    Echinopsis var. "LA"

    Ferocactus chrysacanthus

    Ferocactus macrodiscus

    Ferocactus viridescens

    Genus: Gymnocalycium

    The entire genus are all “chin cacti” which I think is probably the silliest name for plants ever. They’re generally small, subtle cacti that haven’t quite taken off in mainstream cultivation yet. 

    A famous sibling

    There’s one Gymnocalycium you’ve probably seen or heard of, and it’s the purple moon cactus. Various types of albino types are commonly seen available as grafted specimens at home depot, grocery stores, and more. The genus has so much more to offer! 


    The entire genus consists of small, globular cacti that don’t quite have super distinct ribs. They often have small or few spines, and flower extremely easily – but the blooms only open fully in extreme heat and full sun. They range throughout South/East South America, and range in their preferred environment and elevation. 

    Gymnocalycium andrae

    Gymnocalycium baldianum

    Gymnocalycium cardenasianum

    Gymnocalycium denudatum

    Gymnocalycium mihanovichii friedrichii

    Gymnocalycium pflanzi

    Gymnocalycium pflanzi var. albipulpa

    Gymnocalycium rotundum

    Gymnocalycium saglione

    Gymnocalycium tukasikii

    Keep Checking Back! More Coming Soon