Some of my favorite cacti for landscaping.
Cacti are amazing.
I like to think of designing a xeriscape with cacti like setting up a sculpture display in an art gallery. Obviously, you can’t use only cacti if you want the landscape to look natural, but cacti are the unique plants that make our desert landscapes so interesting.
Here are a few categories of cacti to consider.
Saguaros are iconic to Arizona. (No, Texas doesn’t have any!) They are not the only columnar cacti, though. Organ pipe cactus and totem pole cactus are also medium to large columnar cacti that grow multiple stems.
Unusual form cacti
Ocotillo have spiny unbranching sticks with edible leaves along the edges. In the spring, they have trumpet shaped orange-red blossoms that attract hummingbirds. I love the urn shape of ocotillos, somewhere between a bush and a tree.
Prickly pear and cholla make great landscape plants. They are easy to propagate from cuttings, making them the most inexpensive cacti. Some prickly pear have bright blossoms, and the Santa Rita prickly pear has a lovely lavender pad. Cholla make a statement with their spines, and make great living fences.
I love the smaller cacti, including barrels, hedgehogs, and mammillaria. There are tons of different colors, including blossom colors. Barrels are great for landscaping in small spaces. Their drought and heat tolerance puts them among the most resilient of cacti.
Have fun experimenting with various cacti in your own landscape!