Good "beginner cacti"?


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I've always wanted to care for cacti but have never taken them as seriously as I should've. I get gifted with a little one every once in a while and manage to kill it within a year. I feel awful about it.

I would really like to get them another chance now that I've moved into a home that's a bit larger and gives me more space for indoor house plants I like, so does anyone have any recommendations for species that are fairly hardy and easy to care for for someone that's apparently quite bad at it?
 
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On the whole cactus are easy to grow; they don't need a lot of maintenance and generally are slow growing. A few of the easier ones are prickly pear, crown cactus, rattail cactus, and star cactus. check out csssj.org, its the cactus and succulent society of San Jose. It should give you some good info and tips.
 
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Thanks for the suggestions and the link. I think prickly pears have made up the bulk of the plants I've killed in the past, so now I'm embarrassed. Rattail cactus look GORGEOUS though, I think I'd like to try those out.

What I'm reading about them suggests lots of direct sunlight during the summer and cool and dry during the winter. I live in western PA and I'm not sure how cold is too cold for them. Would keeping them in a closed-off closet with artificial plant light be okay during the winter? It gets pretty dry up here (not so pleasant for humans hehe) so I think moisture level would be okay, but something more specific about temperature would be helpful.
 
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Have you tried with succulents? Most of them are as low maintenance as cactus, but they are way more fun to grow (at least they are for me). Succulents need very little water and the less you care of them the better they seem to do.
 
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If you have a sunny spot, a Zygocactus (Christmas cactus) is an easy one to grow. They seem to be able to tolerate under watering and over watering as well as temperature fluctuations. You can propagate more easily if you like the plant. Mine blooms twice a year around Christmas and Easter. I would strongly recommend this plant for anyone looking for a starter cactus.
 
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Most cactus plants although very slow growing - are regarded as very low maintenance and easy to grow - but as most people feel they need to give them lots of TLC - by watering them more than they need to be or even over fertilizing them - they often meet with an untimely demise.
Of all the plants mentioned so far I too would say that a Schlumbergera or Christmas/Easter Cactus - would be a good one to start with - as apart from the fact that it flowers profusely several times a year - it thrives when treated like any other houseplant - as although a cactus - it doesn't need quite the same treatment as other members of the cactus family do :)
As for temperature - that very much depends on the variety but as most cacti can - if kept on the dry side - go down to zero for short periods of time - so don't think - as your plant will be growing indoors that very low temperatures are likely to be much of a problem.
Too much water and humidity especially in the winter, as well as lack of light or too much sunlight are often the main reasons as to why most cactus die an untimely death.
Which brings me to - I would love to know how you managed to kill your Opuntia or prickley pear - especially as they grow like wildfire where I live - in fact just a leaf landing on the ground very quickly becomes a forest and so far nothing I've tried has worked at getting rid of them :(
 
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Thank you for all of the tips about cactus care. I know I probably have overdone it in the past and I'm not surprised that they didn't make it.
 
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I've been enjoying raising "air plants". They're not actually cactus but they are so low maintenance it's almost impossible to do any harm, much like many types of cacti. Take a look on the internet and you'll be amazed how beautiful they are and the different types will amaze you!
 

Pat

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I have had good luck with the Jade plant. They can grow to a good size both indoors or out. They are not hard to care for this site has good information.

They also have a picture of a jade tree with blooms, I have never been lucky enough to get mine to bloom.

http://www.thegardenhelper.com/crassulaargentea.htm
 
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I think much of the problem with raising cacti is that most people assume they don't need water and they end up dying from that more than anything else. They can be dead for quite some time and it isn't even apparent for awhile. I used to use a spray bottle and give mine a good mist every few days and then a deeper watering about every two weeks. It is all going to depend on the size of the pot it is in also.
 
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The issue with growing cactus is that we want to smoother them with attention. As stated by Cheerio watering them every two weeks is appropriate, I after spaced it out even further. I've grown cactus by seed and they grow very slowly so just be patient. Don't assume because they are not flowering every year or visibly growing that something is wrong.
 
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I had a cactus, I'm not sure what kind but I know I got it from Ikea, that lasted a really, really long time with little to no care. (I'm at fault for that!) Like I said, I don't know what kind, but it was pretty darn hardy.
 

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