Plants that look like cactus have gained serious popularity over the years. Cactus is undoubtedly a succulent classic, but with so many alternatives in the market today, why not give a new plant a try?

A Guide to Plants That Resemble Cacti

Below, we have curated the perfect list of plants that look just like cactus! Keep reading to find out which variety is the best one for you. 

List of Plants That Look Just Like Cactus 

1. Aloe Vera

Realizing that an aloe vera plant is a succulent is the first step in caring for one, as it has very nice features that look like a cactus. 

The Aloe Vera Healing Plant

– Characteristics

Similar to cacti, succulents thrive in arid environments. Plant aloe seeds in cactus or standard potting soil that has been improved with more perlite or construction sand. Additionally, make sure the pot has enough drainage holes. 

Standing water is not tolerant of aloe plants. The right amount of light is crucial for aloe houseplant maintenance. Aloe is one of the best succulent plant that benefits most from windows that face south or west since they require intense light.

– Care Requirements

Proper plant watering is a crucial part of growing an aloe plant. Before watering the aloe plant, the soil should be allowed to dry up. When watering an aloe plant, the soil should be completely wet, yet water should be able to drain freely from the plant. 

The most frequent cause of aloe plant death is over-watering or failure to allow the water to drain. Avoid making this error when caring for aloe houseplants. Aloe plants can be fertilized but typically don’t need to be.

However, the aloe are plants that should be fertilized if you wish to include them in your regimen of aloe plant maintenance, because they would thrive better if you do so just make sure that you wouldn’t over feed them.

As long as the soil dries out completely in between watering sessions, because these cactus look-alikes would enjoy being irrigated often. The leaves will shrivel and pucker a little if the soil stays dry for a long time. 

In addition to this, they would frequently grow in nutrient-poor soil conditions on sandy slopes with good drainage in its natural habitat, in parallel you must also remember that bright, natural light is essential for the growth of aloe vera. Aim for up to six hours of direct sunlight outside, with a brief shadow relief in the late afternoon.

2. Jade Plant

A popular succulent plant known as the jade plant has soft, oval leaves and strong, woody stalks that resemble small tree trunks. With a little care, it can grow to be between three and six feet tall, but it does so slowly—gaining just about two inches every year. It does look like cactus however it doesn’t include the spikes that the cactus would have.

A Low Maintenance Houseplant

– Characteristics

Jades are indigenous to South Africa and are frequently presented as housewarming presents because people believe they will bring their owners luck, wealth, and prosperity. The money plant is one of their nicknames as a result, this is just because they are filled with their own sap, and they are prone to live a healthy life.

These plants can be purchased from a nursery or started at any time through propagation. They are normally cultivated indoors because they demand a hot temperature if they flourish outdoors. Pet owners should be cautious about where they set up this plant.

– Care Requirements

Upkeep is typically not difficult whether you are growing your plant indoors or outdoors. However, the plants are vulnerable to several illnesses and excessive dampness. In addition, when you’re overwatering this plant, it will undoubtedly get subjected to a fatal condition for all succulent plants, so try to keep the soil too dry rather than overly moist.

These plants also require a lot of sunlight to grow to their maximum potential. Therefore, placement in your home is important to provide adequate light when growing a jade plant indoors. If all the requirements are met, you will have a beautiful succulent that is simple to multiply and will provide you with many extra plants to decorate your home or give to friends.

Water jade frequently plants in the spring and summer, so the soil is moist but not soggy. Jade plants require lots of sunlight, which means that when you are keeping it indoors or outdoors, you must locate it in a place where light will be coming properly. This means that it needs both direct and indirect sunlight, so make sure to pick the right spot!

However, they should be shielded from direct sunlight because it can scorch the foliage, especially of young plants, you wouldn’t wish to burn it. Your best chance when selecting a potting mix for your jade plant is a blend made specifically for succulents.

3. Prickly Pear

One of the most common cactus genera in the United States is the prickly pear cactus which is also called the Opuntia, in botany. 

Unique Cactus with Edible Fruits

– Characteristics

This plant, which has over 100 species, is distinguished by its spiny, flat, club-shaped pads. While some species have small, detachable barbs that resemble hairs, others have enormous, rounded spines. Some people would like to eat this, although cleaning it would include some damages such as harming the hands due to the spikes, hence precariousness must be taken.

While cacti are typically considered warm-weather desert plants, certain varieties of prickly pear are tolerant of temperatures as low as USDA zone four. The optimum time to grow prickly pears outdoors is in the spring after any risk of frost has passed, this is what characterizes the growth of the plant and gives it a significant value.

Although the plant grows slowly, and it might take up to three or four years before a new plant begins bearing fruit, some prickly pears are prized for their edible fruits.

– Care Requirements

The prickly pear plant prefers dry environments and needs very little water to remain healthy. Because of this, cacti are frequently utilized in low-water gardening. Any plant in the Opuntia genus needs soil that drains properly as a primary requirement. 

The prickly pear grows in direct sunlight as a desert cactus. That entails receiving direct sunlight for at least six hours each day, and since it is prone to this environment, with such givens, the fruit will thrive.

Although the different kinds of prickly pears have slightly varying maintenance requirements, they all benefit from lots of sunlight and soil that drain well. However, excess moisture in the soil can cause various types of rot that will quickly kill the plant.

On the other hand, you must take into consideration that during the winter season, the prickly pears are prone to go dormant, and their pads would seem to dry out or even to collapse. However, when you cut off ugly pads or malformed growth in the spring, they will regain their typical plumpness.

4. Snake Plant

One of the most common and resilient houseplants is Dracaena trifasciata, also referred to as the snake plant. It was categorized as Sansevieria trifasciata botanically. However, there were much too many similarities between it and Dracaena species to ignore. 

Tough and Tolerant Houseplant

– Characteristics

The plant can grow from six inches to eight feet tall and has rigid, sword-like leaves. Although the color of snake succulents can vary, many have leaves with green bands and frequently have a yellow border. 

These plants are simple to grow and frequently practically unbreakable. In addition to the latter, they will even flourish in areas of the house that are nearly dark or in very intense light. Although snake succulents often develop slowly in artificial lighting, increasing their exposure to light will accelerate growth.

Another key characteristic that they have is that these leaves would be ones to cleanse and even purify the air of the indoor area where you have set it to stay. On the other hand, a precariousness that you should take is that it is quite toxic if your pets would nibble on the leaves, because the sap contains a chemical that would easily intoxicate the pet, and it would lead to different circumstances.

– Care Requirements

When you are watering this plant, remember that in between each irrigation session you must let the soil dry. On this note, you should also reduce watering in the winter to once a month or whenever the soil feels dry to the touch. Basically, you must water your plants sparingly; overwatering might be bad for the plant. 

On another note, the snake plants prefer steady, indirect light that includes some direct sunlight. They can adapt to full sun exposure and can endure low light conditions. Snake plants prefer a loose, well-drained potting mix. 

Also, the sandier soils are, the ideal the growing of the plant will be. As you would attempt to use a potting medium with little peat in it. Peat is useful in a variety of applications; however, it can get compacted and occasionally has drainage or rehydration issues, which means to be safe, a nice option is an all-purpose cactus potting soil.

For novice gardeners, a snake succulent is a great choice because it is tough to kill. It looks excellent in containers and thrives on the ground or in window boxes. In warm climates, snake plants flourish while they suffer in the cold. 

Although resistant to drought, this plant can become overwatered, which can cause root rot. A plant should only be watered if the soil feels dry. In the winter, these plants may endure two months without being watered. Remember that you cannot water any further or any  frequently than every two weeks during the summer.

5. Zebra Plant

The zebra plant typically grows indoors and is recognized for its unique dark green leaves with white veins. The most beautiful part of these plants, though, is their colorful flowers. 

Striking Succulent with Bold Stripes

– Characteristics

There are a big variety of this plant’s species, as they would have long looking and vertical spikes, in addition to some that would be shorter and much fuller in their sap. However, what is similar in all cases is that the way that they have sharp ends, or tiny spikes growing on the edges of the leaves, they all look like cacti.

On another note, the difference would be that they have stripes all over them, hence the name is familiarized to the animal’s skin.

During its blooming session, which is typically in late summer or early fall, zebras develop tall, golden bracts that can grow to be several inches long, range from two to four per plant and last up to six weeks. The indoor zebra matures to a height of a few feet after three years of gradual growth.

– Care Requirements

Zebras, as previously indicated, enjoy continuously moist soil, which may require some skill because over-watering can make the leaves wilt. Since they are accustomed to growing under a canopy of trees in warm, humid settings, they do best in indirect light or partial shade. The ideal soil for zebra is neutral to acidic, in addition you can always consider a multipurpose potting blend which would also be sufficient, as you would simply add sand to the mixture to ensure it drains well.

The zebra, a native of Brazil, is lovely yet fickle. If you’re up for caring for this hardy plant, start by selecting a location with a temperature above 60 degrees Fahrenheit and a humidity level that is somewhat higher which would be between 60 and 70 percent. 

Keep the plant wet and in bright, filtered light which means that when you grow it, make sure to avoid direct sunshine. Keep a watch-out for its distinctive yellow bract, which will blossom in late summer or early fall, and emphasize its graphically striped leaves with an equally daring container. 

In addition, remember that you can, in fact, prune your plant after it has flowered, and the bracts start to look dead, or maybe even gotten crispy due to harsh light. Take care to remove the spent bract and any nearby leaves or stems that look wilted.

6. Gymnocalycium Mihanovichii 

A grafted specimen, the moon or ball cactus is almost always grown in a pot rather than as a garden specimen. The reason why it is also called the ruby ball is that it has a striking red, orange, or yellow top of the scion. 

A Rare and Beautiful Cactus

– Growth Requirements

Any number of species can make up the lower green cactus host section, but the Hylocereus cactus is the most common. It is known as a moon cactus when the pieces are put together.

The lower cactus’ primary function is to present the Gymnocalycium at a favorable height. Since the higher scion and lower rootstock portions grow at different rates and eventually disrupt the graft union between the two sections, these plants rarely survive longer than a few years. However, separating the scion and grafting it is not a difficult process.

– Care Requirements

Let the soil mixture almost completely dry up between waterings before giving it a good soak. The optimal cactus mix has a low pH and is rich and quick-draining. Remember that you should verify that the soil satisfies the requirements of the host cactus at the bottom. For example, the ball tops don’t like direct sunshine and may tolerate more shadow than many cacti.

These little plants are most likely easy to cultivate if you can successfully grow succulents and cacti. Popular in cactus dish gardens, these plants.

Being an albino plant, the moon cactus lacks chlorophyll. As a result, it depends on the rootstock cactus for sustenance. The higher and lower parts of the plant are parasitic on one another, and if the demands of the scion on top and the host cactus on the bottom cannot coexist, one or both may perish.


So, are you going to grow these cactus lookalikes?

Before you do, just keep in mind:

  • Zebra succulents will do best in moist to loamy soil because of their unique plant character. However, an excess of over-watering can also lead to damage.
  • If you’re comfortable with gardening and would like a plant that is still not high maintenance, snake plants are ideal.
  • Have a lot of sunlight to spare? Grow jade plants freely as they will thrive in it!

Whichever one you choose, it’s a well known fact that you are going to love keeping it in your house, whether indoors or outdoors, as they add some uniqueness to wherever they are placed. Now, are you ready to get your hands dirty and grow some plants?

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