Indoor Gardening

Growing Cacti & Succulents

Cacti in the home

Every year millions of us buy cacti and often they end up stuck on a windowsill, bookcase or cabinet as a semi-alive decoration. Cacti are of course desert/savannah plants (apart from Orchid Cacti and some succulents) specifically designed through evolution to thrive in full sun, low water conditions. At home, it is easy to give them little water, but to deliver full sun is a major challenge. In Europe, especially in the north, even south facing windows do not give them optimal sun as many objects obscure the sunlight. In the end we often have slow growing, often semi-alive plants that look unhealthy after a few years with poor colour and elongated stem.

Below is a comparison between a ripe and vigorous prickly pear, and an indoor grown prickly pear.

 The solution

What if we told you it does not have to be this way, that you can indeed enjoy the most attractive and healthy cacti in your living room, regardless of sunlight? excite can offer this solution for you, simulating full sun conditions to bring out the most vibrant and vigorous growth for you cacti. Cacti can be grown well under a PPFD range of 200-1000 micromole /m2 s, meaning it is up to you whether you want the most colourful and vibrant growth, or a happy medium. Just two iSpectrums shining over a 1m2 area could flower and fruit your cacti well. Tall cacti require special care however, as you need to angle your growlight at a 45 degree angle so that the vertical stem is illuminated, as well as the top. All you need to grow cacti indoors with grow lights is a suitable space to house them, see our indoor garden articles for more information. 

What to grow?

With the power of grow lights, you can grow any cacti indoor the choice is yours. You can grow tall, flowering, fruiting or exotic cacti; here are some great species that perform well under grow lights. We have avoided the common types you are used to inform you about the very best. 

  • Stapelia – Carrion Flower

This succulent grows exceptionally well under grow light, rapidly expanding from a plantlet into a large cluster of stems. During the half-year long flowering season under growlight, dozens of pungent and exciting carrion flowers bloom in quick succession. Often sold at garden centres. 

  • Hylocereus Undatus – Dragonfruit

Perhaps one of the most rewarding cacti succulents to grow, the dragon fruit has 3 amazing qualities. First is its foliage, long green serrated scale like fronds that climb and crawl over the ground. Secondly are its flowers, large and spectacular orchid cactus flowers that open at night with a sweet smell. Last are of course its fruits, fascinating to look at and delicious to eat. If you grow this plant indoors without a grow light, none of these three qualities are exposed and the plant remains small and drab. However, with a good grow light, you can have this amazing plant flourishing and fruiting year round. Look out at the garden centre for Hylocereus Undatus, often sold among cacti mix. 

  • Opuntia  – The prickly pear

As seen earlier in this article the prickly pear is a very aesthetic plant with interesting leaf lobes looking like ears and a small succulent red fruit being born in fruiting season. Grow lights make the plant flower more and grow dense and compact, also ripening the fruit to edible levels. 

  • Barrel Cacti

There are many barrel cacti species available in garden centers and online, all of them flourish under grow lights, rapidly sending up flower after flower and fruit after fruit. Chosen for its convenient shape and flowering ability, a barrel cactus makes a fine specimen for the middle of the living room under one iSpectrum grow light. 

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