What Are the Best Tips for Buying a Cactus?

A.E. Freeman

Before buying a cactus, a person should make sure the plant is healthy and hasn't suffered damage. Ideally, the cactus will be able to grow and thrive in its new environment, whether a person plans to plant it indoors or outdoors. Most cacti have labels on them that a person can read before buying a cactus to make sure it will grow in her space. A prospective buyer should research types and sizes of cacti before making a purchase as well.

Thoroughly inspect cactus plants for signs of damage before buying them at the store.
Thoroughly inspect cactus plants for signs of damage before buying them at the store.

The plant should be inspected thoroughly before buying a cactus. The spines of the cactus should not be broken or otherwise damaged. Its flesh shouldn't be soft or bruised, which are signs of rot or other damage. Rot occurs when the plant is over-watered. Before purchasing the plant, a person should press gently on the neck area to feel if it is soft. In some cases, a rotten cactus will be a yellow color; if it is, it should be left on the shelf.

It's best to avoid buying a cactus that is sick or infested with pests. A person should look at the plant closely to make sure there are no insects crawling over it. Common cactus pests include red spider mites, which are small spiders that suck the sap out of plants. Other signs of pest damage or disease include dark spots on the cactus or white flakes.

The conditions the plant will grow in should be known before buying a cactus. Most cacti have small tags pushed into the soil in the pot that describe the type of environment the plant needs to thrive. Additionally, most cacti need some light and warm temperatures, though the degree of light required and the warmth vary among types.

For the quickest impact, a person should buy a cactus that is a decent size. Small seedlings work only if the cactus will be placed on a work desk or as a small accent in a room. The cactus should be large enough to be noticeable if the person wants it to be the statement piece or focus of a room.

To make sure she gets the plant she wants, a person may want to do some research before buying a cactus so that she knows what certain types of cacti look like and whether they will work in her home or garden. It's best not to buy a cactus if any part of it seems out of place. For example, if it is blooming in summer or doesn't have has many spines as it should, it's best not to purchase it.

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