What are and how do I obtain miniature cacti?
November 21, 2009 12:11 PM   Subscribe

Are miniature cacti just younger plants or do they have their own name or classification? Awhile ago I saw some tiny (~1 in. apiece) cacti for sale in a big box garden/home supply store, but am not having luck finding them online (getting a lot of hits for dollhouse miniatures, etc). I would like to buy some but know neither the right terminology to use, nor where I'd buy them. I've already browsed several online cacti stores w/o success. Thanks for your help tracking this down!
posted by artifarce to Home & Garden (8 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
"Indoor cacti" is the phrase you're looking for, I believe. Looks like Cactus Joe will ship you some.
posted by carsonb at 12:18 PM on November 21, 2009

You may also be interested in the miniature cacti available from ThinkGeek. They're a bit smaller than one inch, though.
posted by MaxK at 3:24 PM on November 21, 2009

Best answer: They're all over in hardware stores here in AZ - Lowe's, Home Depot. I think I've seen them in hardware stores elsewhere in the country as well (whoo $1.99 young plants!). They're just the offshoots of older plants of the same time, and are generally available in variety packs. I haven't seen them labeled very accurately.

Many cacti also grow from seeds and Home Depot has mini greenhouses for various cacti usually available in the spring.

There's a cactus nursery near where I live called B & B Cactus Farms. They have a wide selection (and pretty cacti!) and ship anywhere in the US.
posted by bookdragoness at 4:32 PM on November 21, 2009

Response by poster: Smaller is better, thanks MaxK and carsonb.

So, bookdragoness, if they're just offshoots will they grow larger with time?
posted by artifarce at 4:49 PM on November 21, 2009

Actually, it's more like they grow larger with water. My friend mists hers once every week or so and it isn't appreciably larger than when I first saw it two years ago. It was only when I started watering my aloe often that it grew another foot and put off offshoots (over a two-year period).
posted by bookdragoness at 5:11 PM on November 21, 2009

Someone gave me a very tiny cactus from Wal-mart a few years back. It grew to be a couple feet high with frequent watering and lots of sunshine. I finally tossed it out after accidentally brushing up against the needles. Ugh. (And by the way, the ones you might see in Wal-mart with the impossibly large colorful flowers on top are fake - the flowers are glued on.)
posted by beandip at 7:19 PM on November 21, 2009

Best answer: You'll need to find out the botanic name to determine the size. As pointed out above, they are offshoots, and could grow into something huge. I wouldn't subscribe to the idea that restricting water will keep them small; it may slow them to a degree but a plant's eventual size is determined by genetics. While many succulents can remain dormant for a long time, eventually they do have to be watered and will use that opportunity to grow. If you want something that will stay tiny for a very long time, look into lithops. They are small, spineless, and grow very slowly. Care is somewhat exacting but minimal- they will die if overwatered.
posted by oneirodynia at 11:54 AM on November 22, 2009

Response by poster: Thank you, oneirodynia. Sounds like a great place to start.

(This is for a gift idea, for what it's worth--I've long been known to kill my own plants, even those that don't need a lot of water).
posted by artifarce at 8:13 PM on November 28, 2009

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