16 Low-Maintenance Cacti (8 Don’t Have Spines!)

If you’ve ever wanted to start a cactus collection at home, you’re not alone. It might seem intimidating at first but they’re very easy to care for! With this compiled list of low-maintenance and spineless cacti, you can have your very own cactus collection soon!

There are 16 low-maintenance cacti that can be grown at home:

  1. Golden barrel cactus
  2. Indian head cactus
  3. Monks hood cactus
  4. Moon cactus
  5. Mexican fence post
  6. Peanut cactus
  7. Bunny ears
  8. Rebutia cactus
  9. Bishops cap
  10. Christmas cactus
  11. Heart hoya
  12. Mistletoe cactus
  13. Peyote
  14. Queen of the night
  15. Sand dollar cactus
  16. Zig zag cactus

They might look spiky but cacti are some of the best plants to grow at home. Here are some of the easiest cacti to start with!

1. Golden Barrel Cactus (Echinocactus grusonii)

The golden barrel cactus only needs to be watered twice a month and will thrive in full sun. Half shade is also beneficial during hotter summers. Since this low-maintenance cactus is not frost-hardy though, it must be shielded from temperatures below 15°F.

Place of Origin: Brazil

Toxicity to Animals and Humans: None

It might surprise you but cacti are quite low-maintenance. This golden barrel cactus, also known as the lemon ball cactus, thrives with very little water and care.

This handsome cactus has a unique golden color and might even produce offsets as it becomes older. It’s perfect for sunny windows and yards!

Golden Barrel Cactus
Fernando Ruiz (cc-by-sa) PlantNet – Echinocactus Grusonii Leaves

Golden barrel cacti prefer to be kept in full sun or half shade.

Unlike other houseplants, cacti require very little moisture, so you don’t have to worry about watering them every day. It’s important to keep this cactus dry, watered only 1–2 times a month. Overwatering this will undoubtedly lead to rot.

This cactus is covered in spikes though, so keep your gloves handy and try to avoid touching this as much as possible!

2. Indian Head Cactus (Parodia ottonis)

Indian head cacti are commonly found in plant nurseries due to how little maintenance they need. They can also survive without water for up to 3 weeks. Given proper care, this cactus will produce flowers quickly.

Place of Origin: South America

Toxicity to Animals and Humans: None

Only 6 inches (15.24 cm) wide, this cactus stays small even when it’s mature, making it ideal for those with limited space.

This pleasant dwarf cactus comes with several spine clusters and will even freely produce flowers in summer.

Indian Head Cactus Flowers
Natalia Timcu (cc-by-sa) PlantNet – Parodia Ottonis Flowers

Cactus roots are very sensitive and rarely extend more than a meter deep in the wild. Soggy roots should be avoided at all times, especially in winter. You can ignore your Indian head cactus for many weeks and water only when the soil is dry.

3. Monks Hood Cactus (Astrophytum ornatum)

Monks hood cacti can survive in high heat and grow with 6 hours of sun daily. Little maintenance is needed, watering can be done every 2 weeks. Illegal harvesting is a common threat for these cacti so only buy it from reputable nurseries.

Place of Origin: Southern Mexico

Toxicity to Animals and Humans: None

This cactus often grows as a single stem and looks very similar to bishops cap cactus, which we will discuss later on. Both of these lovely cacti are members of the Astrophytum genus and have unique shaped stems.

Its sharp edges must be handled with care but it’s worth it! This cactus can be left in 6 hours of sun and watered every 2 weeks or so.

Moreover, it can tolerate the heat and even survive frosts lower than 40°F (4°C).

Monks Hood Cactus
Ines Gruender (cc-by-sa) PlantNet – Astrophytum Ornatum Leaves

It’s important to note, however, that this Astrophytum cactus is threatened. Poaching is common and illegally harvested cacti are frequently sold to unsuspecting buyers.

So be sure that you can legally purchase this plant and only do so from verified sources.

To be completely safe, ask a trusted friend if they can provide any offsets or propagations of their monks hood cacti instead!

4. Moon Cactus (Gymnocalycium mihanovichii)

Moon cacti are commonly cultivated for their vibrant colors and require very little maintenance, tolerant of weeks of neglect. Grow moon cactus indoors with 4 hours of strong, indirect light and water no more than twice a month.

Place of Origin: South America

Toxicity to Animals and Humans: None

Popular for their unique and colorful appearance, moon cacti are terrific low-maintenance houseplants that can be neglected for weeks and watered only 1–2 times a month.

It will look as if your cactus plant is sporting a colorful hat, which is adorable.

Moon cacti only need 4–6 hours of bright indirect light a day.

Moon Cactus
Flora Wei (cc-by-sa) PlantNet – Gymnocalycium Mihanovichii Flowers

Like many other cacti, make sure the soil is completely dry before watering. It’s not very frost-hardy, though, so keep your moon cactus indoors—away from temperatures below 40 °F (4°C).

Having trouble with this cactus? Read our article on the 6 causes of brown spots on moon cacti.

5. Mexican Fence Post (Pachycereus marginatus)

Because they can flourish without water, Mexican fence post cacti are extremely easy to care for and require very little maintenance. Established cacti do not need to be watered more than once a month in hot summers but must be protected from frosts lower than 25°F.

Place of Origin: Mexico

Toxicity to Animals and Humans: None

If you’re looking for a tall cactus to grow outdoors, look no further! The impressive Mexican fence post cactus can grow up to 50 feet (15.24 m) high and—you guessed it—is commonly used as fences and barriers in Mexican villages.

Mexican Fence Post Cactus
Rvt 063 (cc-by-sa) PlantNet – Pachycereus Marginatus Leaves

If your winters are lower than 25°F (-4°C), it’s a good idea to bring it indoors where it can enter dormancy and conserve energy for the next growing season.

Mexican fence post cacti benefit from being watered at least once a month during high heat but hardly require any moisture, even in spring.

6. Peanut Cactus (Echinopsis chamaecereus)

Peanut cactus grows best in 6 hours of full sun. This low-maintenance cactus grows multiple cacti at once near its main stems and is easy to propagate. Prevent rot by watering twice a month and ensuring the substrate is half filled with pumice or sand.

Place of Origin: South America

Toxicity to Animals and Humans: None

This cactus is easy to grow and is great in hanging pots, so long as you avoid touching its hairy spines.

Once it has matured, the cactus will grow several offsets or pups along the main stems which resemble spiky peanuts. You can get multiple offsets to propagate with!

Peanut Cactus Flowers
Jose Carlos Cordo Mollar (cc-by-sa) PlantNet – Echinopsis Chamaecereus Flowers

This is excellent if you wish to increase your cactus collection over time.

For the best drainage and to avoid rot, make sure at least 50% of the peanut cactus’s potting mix consists of sand or pumice.

Keep your peanut cactus in a bright spot and water it only when the soil is bone dry.

7. Bunny Ears (Opuntia microdasys)

Bunny ear cacti require little maintenance and need 6 hours of full sun and can be grown in pots indoors. Keep cacti grown outdoors dry so it can survive winters below 23°F and water only when needed.

Place of Origin: Northern Mexico

Toxicity to Animals and Humans: None

You can easily grow these iconic cacti outdoors directly in the ground or keep miniatures in pots and enjoy their bunny-eared look wherever you wish!

This cactus has no spines but the glochids, or small patches of fine hair, are painful to touch and must only be handled with gloves.

Bunny ears cacti require at least 6 hours of sun daily but grow just fine in partial shade.

Bunny Ear Cactus
Muro Aldo (cc-by-sa) PlantNet – Opuntia Microdasys Leaves

Mature bunny ear cacti need little to no water and can handle being in low temperatures, like -5°C, for short periods so long as they are kept dry.

If you’re lucky, your cactus might even bloom gentle, yellow flowers!

If you’re interested in this, read our article on the 15 cacti with stunning yellow flowers!

8. Rebutia Cactus (Rebutia heliosa)

Rebutia cactus can be grown outdoors with 4 hours of full sun daily. It is low-maintenance and can grow indoors with light shade. For optimum growth, ensure the potting mix is well-drained and the pot is no bigger than 4 inches to prevent rot.

Place of Origin: Bolivia

Toxicity to Animals and Humans: None

This miniature cactus makes an excellent potted plant. It will even produce flowers in spring!

Rebutia cactus thrive with at least 4 hours of direct sun exposure but can also be grown indoors with light shade.

Rebutia Cactus Flowers
Natalia Timcu (cc-by-sa) PlantNet – Rebutia Heliosa Flowers

Here’s a tip for caring for rebutia cactus: Keep it in a 4-inch pot with an extremely well-draining potting mix. These two things together will help reduce the risk of excess water staying in the pot and potentially causing root rot!

This cactus is even easier to maintain since it is quite tolerant. The rebutia cactus is relatively frost-hardy and can handle temperatures at -10°C for a few days.

Just to be safe, however, it’s best to keep your rebutia cactus protected from such temperatures to ensure its survival.

9. Bishops Cap (Astrophytum myriostigma)

Bishops cap cactus is a spineless low-maintenance cactus that can tolerate neglect and infrequent watering, making them excellent houseplants. Protect this cactus from temperatures below 23°F and water it only once the soil becomes dry.

Place of Origin: Northern Mexico

Toxicity to Animals and Humans: None

This pretty cactus is free of spines and has 5 prominent ribs that give the cactus a star-like shape. It typically grows as a singular solitary stem, meaning it grows alone.

Once it is 6 years old, you can expect to see its scented flowers in the spring. Each bloom is roughly 1–2 inches in diameter and looks like it’s made of silk.

Bishops Cap Cactus Flower
Jack (cc-by-sa) PlantNet – Astrophytum Myriostigma Flowers

Bishops cap cacti are often flecked with silver spots and have a slow growth rate, making them much more forgiving and ideal for beginners.

Gardeners only need to water it only when the soil is completely dry. However, it’s ideal to keep it indoors when the average winter temperature is constantly below -5°C.

10. Christmas Cactus (Schlumbergera bridgesii)

The spineless Christmas cactus can be grown in full sun or partial shade and watered only when the top 2 inches of soil is dry. This cactus does not need much attention and thrives even when left alone.

Place of Origin: Brazil

Toxicity to Animals and Humans: None

This cactus is great if you don’t have access to full and direct sun, as it can grow just as well in partial shade. Christmas cacti often bloom in the middle of winter during the holidays, which is how it receives its festive name.

You can leave this cactus be and don’t have to worry about moving it around.

In fact, you should avoid moving the Christmas cactus around when its buds start to form because sudden environmental changes will stress it and cause it to drop its precious flower buds.

Christmas Cactus Flowers
Paris Enrico (cc-by-sa) PlantNet – Schlumbergera Bridgesii Flowers

The Christmas cactus only needs to be watered every 1–3 weeks or when the top 2 inches (5.08 cm) of soil is dry.

Although it is not dangerous to eat, curious cats should still be kept away to prevent them from potentially getting stomach aches after nibbling. This cactus is not toxic for cats but its dense and fibrous leaves can be irritating to the gastrointestinal system.

To keep a pet-friendly home, read more in our article on 175 plants that are toxic to cats.

11. Heart Hoya (Hoya kerrii)

Heart hoyas can thrive despite being neglected for several weeks. Only water this spineless cactus once the soil is almost dry and keep it in a bright window away from direct light.

Place of Origin: Asia

Toxicity to Animals and Humans: None

This adorable evergreen is a naturally slow-growing plant and is perfect for beginners, as it is not finicky or demanding.

If anything, you can ignore your heart hoyas for up to 3 weeks without worry!

Very little water is needed for heart hoyas, so water it sparingly when its soils are almost completely dry.

For more, read our article on how to water succulents and cacti the right way.

Heart Hoya Leaves
Desidiu (cc-by-sa) PlantNet – Hoya Kerrii Leaves

This cactus is commonly sold as a one-leaf plant. But if you’re lucky, your heart hoya might just come with a node. With the right care, you might see it grow into a full plant after just a year or so!

Heart hoyas require bright and indirect light but must not be placed in an area where they are exposed to full sun, as this will burn their precious foliage.

12. Mistletoe Cactus (Rhipsalis baccifera)

Mistletoe cacti are long-lived and low-maintenance plants. This spineless cactus can be grown in pots in low-light environments and only needs to be watered twice a month.

Place of Origin: South America and Africa

Toxicity to Animals and Humans: None

Mistletoe cactus is a peculiar epiphyte that is commonly found growing on trees in tropical rainforests. It grows very well, trailing down from hanging pots.

You might not believe it but yes, this is a cactus! So if you enjoy hanging plants, this is the cactus for you.

Mistletoe Cactus
Emily White (cc-by-sa) PlantNet – Rhipsalis Baccifera Leaves

This cactus handles neglect very easily and will flourish from being watered once every 2 weeks. Additionally, it is also completely free of spines, making it even easier to care for and maintain for years at a time.

Mistletoe cacti are great for low-light rooms and thrive in dappled sun or partial shade.

Rhipsalis baccifera (Mistletoe Cactus) Houseplant Care — 126 of 365
YouTube Video – Mistletoe Cactus Care

13. Peyote (Lophophora Williamsii)

The spineless peyote cactus thrives with 6 hours of partial sun exposure. This cactus will thrive with infrequent watering. However, the ingestion of peyote can result in blurred vision, nausea, and hallucinations and must be kept away from pets and children.

Place of Origin: Southwestern USA

Toxicity to Animals and Humans: Low

Peyote are heat-tolerant cacti that will grow happily in part sun and half shade and do not need much water to thrive.

This small and easy-growing cactus only needs to be watered 1–2 times a month.

Peyote Cactus
Garduño Eli (cc-by-sa) PlantNet – Lophophora Williamsii Leaves

Although it does not have spines, consumption of this cactus even in low amounts can cause dizziness, blurred vision, and hallucinations. So it would be wise to keep it away from children and pets!

14. Queen of the Night (Epiphyllum Oxypetalum)

Queen of the night cactus is commonly cultivated for its spineless stems and unique blooms that open exclusively during the night. Grow this cactus in hanging baskets in full sun and water it every 2–3 weeks.

Place of Origin: Central America

Toxicity to Animals and Humans: None

This cactus is a wonderful candidate if you still want a “leafy” and full-looking plant. However, its “leaves” are actually long and flat stems that allow it to capture as much sun as it can.

Once this cactus reaches 6 years of age, it will produce lovely, scented flowers for you to enjoy!

Queen of the Night Cactus Flowers
Olaf Neumann (cc-by-sa) PlantNet – Epiphyllum Oxypetalum Flowers

Queen of the night cacti are easy to maintain and only need to be watered once or twice a month. It can be left to grow in full sun but will benefit from afternoon shade in hotter summers.

Consider keeping it in a hanging basket to enjoy its cascading stems free of spines.

Epiphyllum oxypetalum (Queen-of-the-Night Cactus) Houseplant Care — 166 of 365
YouTube Video – Queen of the Night Cactus Care

15. Sand Dollar Cactus (Astrophytum asteria)

The sand dollar cactus is a popular low-maintenance spineless species that can be grown in pots as an ornamental houseplant. However, this species is endangered due to illegal harvesting and poaching. Purchasing this cactus can be harmful to its species and must only be done with verified nurseries.

Place of Origin: South America

Toxicity to Animals and Humans: None

This cactus should only be watered when the soil is completely dry. But it can grow with either light shade or full sun. Its solitary stem makes it ideal for containers and can easily be grown indoors.

Because of its rise in popularity, however, the sand dollar cactus has quickly become endangered due to poaching and illegal collecting.

Sand Dollar Cactus
Batlle Cris (cc-by-sa) PlantNet – Astrophytum Asterias Leaves

Always ask store owners how they receive their sand dollar cacti to ensure you do not accidentally purchase a sand dollar cactus that has been harvested illegally. Illegally poached cacti are often quite dull and damaged after being harvested from their natural habitats and shipped internationally, so keep an eye out for this.

Bear in mind that buying and collecting sand dollar cacti may be harmful to the species.

Check with local authorities to see if it is legal in your region to purchase these and only work with verified stores.

16. Zig Zag Cactus (Selenicereus Anthonyanus)

A unique growing cactus without spines, the zig zag cactus is a low-maintenance cactus that is drought-tolerant. It only needs watering every 2 weeks. Grow this cactus in 4 hours of full sun or semi-shade.

Place of Origin: Mexico

Toxicity to Animals and Humans: None

Also known as the fishbone cactus, this peculiar cactus has a unique growing pattern that looks similar to lightning bolts.

The zig zag or fishbone cactus is a fun and low-maintenance cactus that can easily be kept at home.

Zig Zag Cactus Leaves
Explore Suga (cc-by-sa) PlantNet – Selenicereus Anthonyanus Leaves

This cactus is also free of spines, which is great if you have pets or little ones, or if you just don’t want to be pricked!

Zig zag cacti can handle long periods of drought and grow quickly if they are given proper care. Water your cactus every 2 weeks or so and keep it in full sun or partial shade.

What Makes a Cactus Low-Maintenance?

Many cacti are drought-tolerant and can survive extreme heat and neglect, making them low-maintenance houseplants. Overwatering must be avoided as this will quickly kill cacti. Moreover, cactus seedlings require more care and must be avoided.

Because cacti have adapted to thrive in such dry environments, they require significantly less attention than other houseplants. So, if you tend to forget to water your plants, cacti are perfect for you!

When choosing the best beginner cactus, consider their watering and lighting requirements, as well as your environment. Some cacti, like the bunny ear cactus, prefer stronger sun than others and will need direct sunlight.

Pets and children must also be considered when purchasing your own beginner’s cactus. Unless these cacti are placed in a room completely free of curious children and furry loved ones, you’ll probably need to look into a cactus without spines.

Cactus You Can Grow Indoors
Cactus You Can Grow Indoors

Some of the easiest cacti to grow indoors are the queen of the night cactus, the golden barrel cactus, and the mistletoe cactus. These cacti do not require frequent watering and will do just fine being watered no more than twice a month.

A good reminder when caring for these cacti is to avoid overwatering them. They are, after all, low-maintenance!

It’s also important to mention that if you want a plant that can tolerate neglect, it’s best to avoid growing these cacti from seed.

Growing cacti from seed can be extremely rewarding but, of course, these seedlings will require much more care and attention. Instead, it’s best to only grow established cacti that you’re certain you can properly care for!


What are the cacti beginners should avoid?

The Blossfeldia ‘liliputana’ cactus is extremely sensitive to moisture and is difficult to care for. It is much smaller than other species and, as a result, is harder to monitor for potential pests and problems. This miniature cactus is highly vulnerable to overwatering and sunburn.

Are cacti poisonous?

Most cacti species are not toxic and instead rely on their spines and tough stems to discourage consumption from predators. However, some species are toxic to consume, such as the Euphorbia canariensis. This cactus contains poisonous latex and will cause diarrhea upon consumption.

Can cacti survive winter?

Most tropical cacti from hotter climates will not be able to endure low winter temperatures. But some varieties of the prickly pear cactus can survive temperatures as low as 15°F. Whether a cactus will survive winter frost depends on what type of cactus it is and other factors such as light and moisture.

Summary of Low Maintenance Cacti

There are many cacti available that are easy to grow and do not require much maintenance. Such cacti include the golden barrel cactus, Indian head cactus, monks hood cactus, moon cactus, Mexican fence post, peanut cactus, bunny ears, and rebutia cactus.

Some cacti are also spineless, which makes them even easier to grow and maintain. Examples of spineless cacti are the bishop’s cap cactus, Christmas cactus, heart hoya, mistletoe cactus, peyote, queen of the night, sand dollar cactus, and the zig zag cactus.


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