Cacti can be desert-dwelling plants that thrive in dry and hot conditions (desert cacti) or forest-dwelling plants that grow best in shaded areas (forest cacti or jungle cacti). Both of these these kinds make eccentric and quirky houseplants with relatively little maintenance required. 

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Below is a general care guide for Desert Cacti and Forest Cacti which can slightly differ depending on variety.

Light & Temperature

Strong light is necessary for healthy desert cacti. Note that some species may scorch in full sun if they have not been accustomed to it yet. Temperature-wise, they prefer hot and dry environments and should be kept away from very cold drafts. 

Forest cacti, on the other hand, requires bright but indirect light and are less picky about temperature. 

Watering, Humidity & Misting

Water your Desert Cactus about once every two weeks, allowing the soil to completely dry out between waterings.

For your Forest Cactus, water it more often like a regular houseplant, usually once a week, allowing soil to partially dry out before watering again. They also appreciate periodic misting, especially when placed in very dry environments. 

Soil and Repotting

Desert cactus prefers fast-draining cacti mix with lots of drainage and aeration. For forest cactus, you can use a regular potting mix. 

Cacti are generally slow-growing plants and will rarely need repotting. 


Propagating cacti can be done by cutting a pup that shoots off of a healthy mother plant. Leave the cutting to dry and heal and then pot it after 1-2 days


Optimally, desert cactus prefer a specialised cacti fertiliser during their growing season but they will also respond to balanced fertilisers. For forest cactus, use a balanced fertiliser formulated for houseplants. Follow the directions on the label of our Down to Earth. organic plant food.


Some cacti are toxic if ingested and should be kept out of the reach of children and pets. 

Possible Issues

Under the right care and conditions, your plant will grow happy and healthy. But here are some issues you may encounter while caring for a Cactus: 

Scale, mealybugs, fungus gnats and spider mites - When spotted, wash these pests off using cotton swabs and water. 

Sunburn - While they love light, they can turn yellow or brown from too much direct sun. Move the cactus away from its light source to cool down. 

Root rot and scab - This is due to overwatering. Err on the side of under watering as most of the time you can bring them back from dehydration without issues. 

Wrinkles - This is a sign that your cactus is  very dry and a soak-watering is necessary. After watering, be sure to empty excess water.

Handling spikes - Use leather work gloves or kitchen tongs to gently handle the spikes and to avoid the pricks.