Cactus With Orange Flowers: Learn About Orange Cactus Varieties
By: Mary H. Dyer, Credentialed Garden Writer
Orange is a popular color these days, and rightly so. Orange is a warm, cheerful color that lights up the environment and provides an element of fun and creativity.
While true orange cacti are hard to come by, you can achieve the same effect with various “orange” cactus varieties such as moon cactus or cactus that has orange flowers. Read on for more specific ideas.
Types of Orange Cactus
Moon cactus isn’t actually a true orange cactus, but in fact, a regular green, columnar cactus with a colorful, ball-shaped cactus grafted on top.
This collectible little plant, also known as Hibotan or ball cactus, is often grown on sunny windowsills.
While orange is one of the most popular in orange cactusvarieties, moon cactus is also available in vibrant shades of vivid pink orbright yellow. Moon cactus with red tops are sometimes tagged as Ruby Ball or RedCap.
Cactus with Orange Flowers
- Cleistocactus (Cleistocactus icosagonus): Cleistocactus is a type of tall, columnar cactus with shiny golden spines. If conditions are just right, Cleistocactus provides interesting lipstick-shaped blooms of bright orange red.
- Desert Gem (Opuntia rufida): Desert Gem is a small variety of prickly pear cactus with miniature pads and vibrant orange blooms.
- Orange Snowball (Rebutia muscula): Orange Snowball is a popular, easy-to-grow cactus with fuzzy white spines and brilliant orange blooms.
- Christmas cactus (Schlumberia): This plant provides masses of showy orange flowers around the winter holidays. Christmas cactus is also available in shades of salmon, red, fuchsia, yellow, white, and pink. It is grown indoors in all but the warmest climates.
- Parodia (Parodia nivosa): Parodia is a rounded cactus with white spines and brilliant orange-red flowers that bloom in spring. This cactus is also known as Golden Star.
- Crown cactus (Rebutia marsoneri): Crown cactus is a slow-growing, rounded cactus that produces big, orange-red blooms in spring.
- Claret Cup cactus (Echinocereus spp.) Claret cup cactus displays stunning orange or red flowers in spring. This small, barrel-shaped cactus is also known as scarlet or crimson hedgehog.
- Easter cactus (Rhipsalidopsis gaertneri): produces lots of bright orange, star-shaped flowers for several weeks every spring. The star-shaped blooms open at sunrise and close at sundown. The Easter cactus is usually grown indoors.
- Red Tom Thumb cactus: Red Tom Thumb (Parodia comarapana) is a cute little globe-shaped cactus that produces cherry red or orange flowers in spring and summer.
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Read more about General Cactus Care
Cactus Plant Features
The cactus plant family (Cactaceae) consists of a number of unique succulent-type plants that thrive in dry conditions. There are thousands of different types of cacti, with all of them being native to the Americas.
Although cacti are classified as succulents, they differ from many types of succulents. Cacti retain their moisture in their stems rather than in their fleshy leaves.
Most varieties of cacti have stems that are in varying shades of green. One of the unique features of cacti plants is the way they photosynthesize. Contrasting with other plants, all cactus species take in carbon dioxide at night when temperatures are cooler. This means that less evaporation occurs during the hot day.
Many types of desert cacti stems also have ribs that allow the plant to expand when it takes in moisture after heavy rainfalls.
Another of the identifying features of cacti is their spines. Some types of cacti have long sharp spikes that can cause pain if they prick your skin. Other cacti varieties have softer spines to protect the plant. For example, the Prickly Pear has soft hair-like spines that can easily cause irritation if they lodge in your skin.
One of the most striking features of all cactus varieties is their blooms. Although short-lived, cactus flowers can be stunning. Cactus flowers can be various colors from deep pinks to beautiful shades of red. Yellow, orange, white, and burgundy flowers are also common in various types of cactus.
In fact, one of the differences between cacti and other types of succulents is the fact that they flower.
Haageocereus comprises a number of very attractive species that are chiefly remarkable for their highly coloured spines. The varieties available can be divided into two categories depending on the thickness and coarseness of the spines. Of the group with slender spines Haageocereus chosicensis is by far the most common species in cultivation today, and is distinguished by its strongly coloured yellowish spines.
The Latin name of the latter refers to the rainbow like markings on the spines. The plant forms columns with slender stems each surrounded by about sixteen dark green low ribs and the spines, which range in colour from reddish brown through to orange, are produced in large numbers from the closely set areoles, the central spines pointing slightly upwards. In their natural state in Peru the species belonging to this genus form plants about 4 ft (1·25 m) high. Plants imported from the wild may have quite different coloured spines from home-grown plants of the same species.
The second group of Haageocereus is characterized by coarser spines and was once probably called Binghamia acrantha. This species has thicker stems, up to 3 in (8 cm) in diameter, and fewer ribs, normally not exceeding fourteen in number. These species also tend to produce yellowish hair at the areoles as well as the spines.
4. Rhipsalis Cactus
Rhipsalis baccifera or the mistletoe cactus is a tropical cactus native to rainforests in relatively warm regions. The plant is primarily epiphytic meaning it lives in trees. However, some varieties of this cactus are lithophytic meaning that they grow on rocks.
The cactus features a cylindrical- pendant stem that branches frequently. Rhipsalis cactus lacks spines and only has beautiful hair-like structures on their surfaces. Its flowers and fruits are relatively smaller in size and spineless.
A majority of Rhipsalis species grow in tropical zones of Brazil, but a few of them are also found in South America and the Caribbean.
Growing Rhipsalis Cactus
The mistletoe cactus is relatively easy to grow from cuttings since seeds take quite a long time and require near perfect environmental conditions to germinate. Simply take a cutting and let the severed end callus for several days.
After that, plant the callused end of the cutting into a well-draining potting mix that has been lightly watered. Most cuttings start growing roots after two to six weeks.
Rhipsalis Cactus Care
Make sure you plant your mistletoe cactus in well-draining soil. You can make your own potting mix by combining regular garden soil with coir, gravel, orchid bark, or sphagnum to enhance drainage.
One thing you must keep in mind is that Rhipsalis is not a drought-resistant plant. Therefore, frequent watering is essential to keep the plant healthy.
However, take great care not to overwater it since it can cause weak stems and root rot. Typically, Rhipsalis cactus requires watering at least once every week.
Avoid applying fertilizer on newly potted mistletoe plant and wait for at least one year when the soil begins to become depleted of nutrients. If you must apply fertilizer to your plant, consider using a diluted half-strength fertilizer specially formulated for cacti.