Green Tidbits

DIY Mini Cactus Garden

Create your own beautiful Cactus Garden with this simple tutorial.

Having grown up in South Texas, I am no stranger to cacti. Getting poked everywhere imaginable while exploring the landscape here is the norm. The cactus are not the only prickly invaders here. Mesquite Trees, Blackbrush Acacia, Lime Prickly Ash, and other thorn bearing woody shrubs are prevalent everywhere. Caution is highly recommended while traversing South Texas landscapes, especially when rattlesnakes could be sneaking around as well! But I stray from the topic…..Cactus Plants can be enjoyed without climbing thru the brush. Creating your own cactus garden is a fun way to enjoy and respect our thorny friends.

Prickly Pear Cactus of South Texas, Mini Cactus Garden
Mini Prickly Pear Cactus I saved from the weed eater (Picture by Rebecca Atteberry)

Cacti come in many forms, and I have learned to appreciate them for the beautiful survivors they are. They can grow quickly, and some quite large. The most common cacti found around my area is the Prickly Pear Cactus (Opuntia genus). They can be found almost anywhere, and the paddles and fruits can be used in many wonderful dishes.

Prickly Pear Cactus of South Texas, DIY Cactus Garden
Same small Prickly Pear cactus two months later (Picture by Rebecca Atteberry)

I decided to create a small, zen-like cactus garden for my mom for Mother’s Day. I visited my local gardening center (Home Depot), and found a bunch of fun, colorful mini-cacti. I purchased a Bunny Ears Cactus (Opuntia microdasys) , a Thumb Cactus (Mammillaria matudae), and a beautiful grafted Moon Cactus (Gymnocalycium mihanovichii friedrichii). I also bought a succulent Ghost Plant to add as well.

Moon Cactus are beautiful in you DIY Mini Cactus Garden
Yellow Moon Cactus (Picture by Rebecca Atteberry)

Make sure you buy the correct container for your cacti garden. You want a pot that drains well. Cacti do not like to sit in moist soil, and can rot if the soil is not well drained. Select the correct soil type for your plants. I used Miracle-Gro Cactus, Palm and Citrus Potting Mix. So far it has performed well, and I have no complaints.



Now the fun Part! Plan out your mini garden. Decide the spacing of your plants. Don’t worry, cactus like to be next to each other! Use gloves when re-potting your cacti. I did not use gloves at first, and received a few micro thorns in my fingers that itched for weeks! Place a few rocks in the bottom of your pot to help with drainage. Remember, you need a nice, well drained soil for your cacti. Once you have your cacti potted and in place, water them thoroughly. Do not water again until the top two inches of soil is dry. You do not want to over water your cacti. Give them time to reestablish themselves. Add your decorations and you are finished!!!

DIY Mini Cactus Garden Finished Product
Finished Mini Cacti Garden (Picture by Rebecca Atteberry)

You can clean any dirt from your cacti with a toothbrush. Be very gentle and the soil will come right off.

When planting this garden, a paddle fell off of the Bunny Ear cactus. Since cacti are so easy to propagate, I planted it in my own mini cacti garden.

Bunny Ear paddle planted in my cacti garden. You can see the small start of a new ear. (Picture by Rebecca Atteberry)
DIY Cactus Garden, Moon Cactus, Bunny Ears Cactus
Bunny Ear Cactus growing another bunny ear!!! (Picture by Rebecca Atteberry)

Take care of your new garden! Remember don’t over water your cacti. You should only have to re-pot your cacti every two years or so. Make sure your cacti get plenty of sunlight. Most importantly, ENJOY your garden!

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