Cactus Garden Design Tips

Indoor & Outdoor Cactus Gardening

Indoor cactus garden design ideas. Tips for planning an outdoor rock cactus garden. What type of soil to use when planting succulents in a dish garden. Pictures of cactus plants growing in botanical gardens.

Planning a Cactus Garden

The indoor cactus garden at Villa Botanica in Arlie Beach.

The indoor cactus garden at Villa Botanica

Cactus gardens are extraordinarily versatile. You can plant one in anything from a small clay dish to a large raised bed. The size and number of plants to be included will determine the size of the planting bed or container to be used.

Cactus dish garden.

Cactus Dish Garden

Tip: When mixing cacti with other plants, make sure that all species enjoy the same growing conditions.

Cacti growing in a container garden.

Cactus Garden Soil

This is the most important thing to get right.

It can be rocky, dry and poor but it must be free draining.

If the soil in your yard holds too much moisture, plant your cacti in raised beds filled with fast draining soil.

As adaptable as these plants are, there are a few constants to keep in mind when planning a cactus garden:

  1. Desert cacti require long, daily exposure to bright light; forest cacti need protection from the sun's hottest rays.
  2. Cacti and succulent plants grow and look well when planted together.
  3. Cacti have a natural affinity for any kind of rock, gravel, or stone. Use this as an opportunity to display all your favorite rocks. Endless hours of enjoyment may be had in deciding which stones and plants best compliment one another.
  4. Cacti require good air movement around their stems to maintain their health.
  5. Many varieties are frost tender, so consider the lowest winter temps the plants will be exposed to when choosing species.

Rock Cactus Garden Pictures

Cacti and succulents planted in rock at the Central Florida Zoo.
Small cacti and succlents planted in depressions in the rock.

These are pictures of a large rock cactus garden on display at the Central Florida Zoo. The cacti, Agave, and Crown of Thorns plants are planted in shallow depressions in the rock.

Cactus plants growing in a rock garden in Alaska.

Here, cactus plants flourish amongst a wide variety of perennials in an Alpine rock garden.

Tiny caci blooming amongst the pebbles.

In another part of the same garden, tiny cacti bloom amongst the pebble mulch.

Cacti planted amongst the rocks in a South African landscape.

Cactus Garden Picture

This is a very different kind of rock garden. The land surrounding this South African home was filled with rocks which the homeowners sculpted into a very elaborate "rock garden landscape" complete with pools, fountains and stone staircases.

They have adorned this outdoor work of art with cacti and succulent plants native to the area.

You can see more of this landscape, here.

The Indoor Cactus Garden
at Longwood

The cactarium at Longwood Gardens, PA.
Cacti displayed in a stone planter at Longwood Gardens.

Photos taken inside the cactarium at Longwood Gardens in Pennsylvania.

The Northeastern United States is not the sunniest part of the world, so the plants are situated very close to the glass.

Make Candy Bouquets for Fun and Profit!

My Final Cactus Garden Design Tip:

Cactus at the Huntington Botanical Garden.

Cactus Plants at the Huntington Botanical Garden

Using plants that mimic the characteristics of the cacti will greatly enhance any cactus garden design. Here, the glaucous foliage of the Pindo palm repeats the blue-gray tones on the cacti which surround it.

The orange fruit of the Pindo will add a touch of contrasting color when it appears.

More Garden and Landscaping Info:

The Proper Use of Water Features in Desert Landscape Design

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