Cactus plants with red flowers are an interesting addition to any flower garden. These hardy plants can thrive easily without much hassle.

Mint Plants with Purple Flowers

This list will include cacti that have unique looks and produce bright flowers – examples are the Christmas cactus and the orchid cactus. Read further to find out more about these spiky specimens.

Red Flowering Cacti To Spread the Holiday Cheer

1. Christmas Cactus

The Christmas cactus (also called the Thanksgiving cactus) is a beloved plant that is a welcome sight during the holiday season. It is a flowering cactus adorned with vibrant red cactus flowers, earning it the nickname “Holiday Cactus.” In addition, it is among the few plants that bloom during the winter season.

– Planting Options

The red Christmas cactus is a native Brazilian plant that you can easily plant at any time of the year as an indoor plant. When the summer season arrives, it can be replanted and moved outdoors into a garden. If you meet the basic growth requirements of the Christmas cactus, red cactus flowers bloom for a vibrant display at the start of every winter.

– Characteristics

Christmas cacti have fleshy segmented stems that are flattened leaves. These leaves have jagged edges on each side, and when the winter season arrives, bright red flowers bloom on the ends of these stems.

Festive Beauty of Christmas Cactus

The Christmas cactus is a fast-growing plant that does not require much maintenance due to its succulent nature. But unlike other cacti that thrive in deserts, the holiday cactus is a native rainforest plant.

– Growth Requirements

The best planting media for cacti are clay pots. These planting pots are porous, which helps increase the soil’s drainage. Overall, the soil type is not a significant factor in its growth. The plant can survive in the shade as well as under the sun. They prefer partial shade or indirect sunlight, and if you must expose them to full sun, ensure this only happens during winter.

2. Prickly Pear Cactus

Otherwise known as the Barbary or Indian fig, this cactus plant is the most widespread type of cactus in the U.S. There are over 100 species, categorized by their flat club-shaped pads.

– Planting Options

Cacti are generally known as hardy desert plants, but some cactus pear varieties are cold-hardy plants that can thrive in northern states. The plant is planted outside during the spring when the last frost has passed, and this slow-growing plant gradually matures over the next three to four years.

– Characteristics

Prickly pears have different characteristics that depend on the species in question. Some of them are cold-hardy, and some varieties can even bear fruit.

Hardy Charm of Prickly Pear Cactus

This fruit is a delicacy valued for its taste and edibility.

– Overwintering

Similarly, different species have different needs for proper growth. Like many other cactus types, it goes dormant during winter, looking like its stems have deflated. However, they return to their original state when the spring season returns.

– Growth Requirements

Like other flowering and fruit-bearing plants, this cactus thrives in evenly moist soil that can drain quickly and easily. It also means that sandy and gravelly soil is an ideal medium.

Being a desert cactus, it thrives under the full sun, requiring at least six hours of sunlight, but during the summer, though, they benefit from partial afternoon shade. As for water conditions, they do not need much water and prefer dry conditions so avoid overwatering them.

3. Orchid Cactus

Orchid cacti or Epiphyllum are a genus of tropical succulent plants. It is also known as the “climbing cactus,” with dozens of hybrids of varying sizes and shapes. With proper care, the cactus blooms with large, brightly colored, fragrant red flowers during spring and summer.

– Planting Options

If you are landscaping or going for indoor decorations, orchid cacti are an excellent option for hanging baskets. Despite being a cactus, they do not like dry surroundings or exposure to full sun. Instead, they prefer warm, humid, and shady areas because of their tropical nature.

– Characteristics

In the wild, Epiphyllum cacti grow on the branches and trunks of other trees instead of establishing their root system in the ground.

Exotic Blooms of Orchid Cactus

As a result, they meet their moisture and nutrient requirements by absorbing them from the surrounding air. It is also why they thrive in humid conditions instead of dry ones.

– Varieties

Due to their preferred growing environment, they make excellent indoor plants. In addition, the different species of this plant offer a wide variety of visuals that you can match with the rest of your plants. “Queen of the Night,” particularly, has flowers that bloom during the night, whereas “Climbing Epi” is small for compact spaces.

– Growth Requirements

Orchid cacti thrive in partial light conditions, and a few hours under the morning sun should give them enough exposure to replicate their natural tropical habitat. It would be best not to plant orchid cacti directly into the ground. The roots would not be able to adapt to the compact surroundings.

Instead, plant your Epiphyllum in loosely packed potting soil with good drainage to avoid problems. Remember that, unlike other cacti, these plants need a consistent watering schedule to thrive.

4. Kingcup Cactus

Commonly called the cup or claret cup cactus, it is only one of the 70 species of the Echinocereus genus. Generally, kingcup cacti are short and do not reach a considerable height, mostly growing up to about one foot tall. These spiky plants have cylindrical shapes and produce blossoms during spring.

– Adaptability

Different species of this genus have different tolerances to temperatures. Kingcup cacti are hardy plants and easy to care for, which makes them quite beginner-friendly.

Majestic Structure of Kingcup Cactus

These plants are adaptable to their surroundings, but you must only look out for soggy soil.

– Characteristics

These short flowering cacti have tightly packed spikes over their cylindrical bodies. They commonly produce their showy blossoms during springtime. Orchid cacti are slow-growing plants, but they can easily live for many years once they have matured.

– Growth Requirements

The number one growth requirement for kingcup cacti is a sandy and well-draining soil. Waterlogged soil can easily result in the death of these plants. They prefer to grow in full sunlight and need at least six hours of full sunlight to thrive. Different members of the Echinocereus family have different water needs, but generally, they are not very demanding.

5. Moon Cactus

This cactus is a grafted plant primarily kept as a pot plant. Different species of cacti are used as the lower base cactus, whose primary function is to provide a base for the colorful top known as Gymnocalycium mihanovichii.

The lower base is usually the Hylocereus cactus, but others can also be used. It is called the Moon cactus when these pieces are joined together, and the colorful top is displayed at an elevated height.

– Characteristics

The top section of the cactus can be red, yellow, or orange. The beautiful appearance of the plant does not last very long, unfortunately, and the pieces can only stay together for a couple of years.

Playful Appearance of Moon Cactus

This is because they grow at different rates, and ultimately the graft union will be severed.

– Growth Requirements

If you can grow succulent plants like cacti and Aloe vera, you can easily grow this plant. The colorful top ball tolerates shade compared to many other cactus species and avoids direct sunlight. The best growth medium is rich, fast-draining soil with a low pH value. One thing to ensure is that the soil conditions are also good for the host species.

6. Barrel Cactus

The golden barrel cactus or golden ball is a unique species rarely seen in the wild but is often grown as a houseplant. It is also sometimes grown in outdoor gardens during dry climates. These cacti also rarely bloom, and even when they do, they need a few decades to produce flowers.

– Characteristics

If you want to see their rare flowers, you will have to provide them with their ideal growing environments.

Iconic Beauty of Barrel Cactus

After meeting their requirements, they will take at least 15 years to produce flowers that bloom during summer and spring. These cacti have a beautiful round shape with evenly-spaced rows of spines.

– Growth Requirements

These plants need dry and warm climates to survive and grow fully. They do best under the sun in gardens or near a sunny window. Without proper exposure, the plants will eventually die. The plants prefer dry and well-draining soil as they are susceptible to root rot. Water them infrequently, only when they need it.

7. Saguaro Cactus

Columnar Saguaro, the Giant Cactus or Sage of the desert, is a native Mexican plant. These tall branching plants hold an iconic position in the world of cacti.

– Characteristics

These tall tree-like cacti plants are the least cold-tolerant plants in their family. These are extremely slow growers and sometimes take up to 100 years to reach their full height of 40-60 feet.

Majestic Beauty of Saguaro Cactus

These plants typically need around four decades to produce their first blooms. They are low-maintenance plants that can be grown indoors quickly.

– Growth Requirements

The plants only require two things to survive: a good amount of sunlight and water once every month. Thus, it is a very easy-to-maintain option that does not require much care. The soil should be dry and well-draining, so they do not suffer from soggy situations.

8. Red Dragon

Huernia schneideriana is a beautiful succulent plant that was initially thought to be a naturally occurring hybrid of two Huernia species, but now it is more or less considered a legitimate species. It is a native Tanzanian succulent plant that attracts flies with unique flowers to promote pollination.

– Characteristics

The plant produces unique red flowers that have the color of blood. Furthermore, these flowers give off the smell of dead flesh, which lures many flies to the plant that act as natural pollinators.

Vibrant Colors of Red Dragon

It is an easy-to-grow plant that does not have a lot of care requirements.

– Growth Requirements

Like other cacti on the list, it is a low-maintenance plant that does not require extensive care. They grow best in soil that has very high drainage. The plant requires excessive indirect sunlight as these conditions will mimic its natural habitat.


Cacti that produce red flowers will enhance the aesthetics of your garden with their unique structures and vibrant blossoms, and besides the ones already presented, there are other examples, including the barrel cactus, red dragon, and saguaro cactus. Keep in mind the following points when planting them:

  • Be careful while handling these plants, as they can easily scratch your skin.
  • You can get cacti such as the Christmas cactus to enjoy colorful holiday seasons.
  • Most of them, including the prickly pear, barrel cactus, and kingcup cactus, thrive under full sun and need very good soil drainage.
  • In addition to flowers, some of them, such as the prickly pear cactus, produce edible fruit as well.

Which one of these thorny plants will you add next to your garden this season? Pick the ones that go well with already-existing plants, and enjoy them this summer.

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