If you’re on Pinterest regularly like me, it doesn’t take long to find a large assortment of cactus plants. All the unreal diversity of shapes and colors makes it hard to believe that it’s all contained within the succulent family.
All the choices can make it tough to choose which cacti to include in your own arrangements. There are a lot of factors to consider: colors, textures, depth. All of these play a big part in making or breaking cactus arrangements.
If you’re looking for a long-term arrangement that really goes above and beyond, you need to think about water and light requirements for all the plants involved.
Keep reading for a list of 9 flexible succulents and cacti to get you started on your own fabulous arrangement!
1. Trailing Succulents
Often overlooked, yet a crucial aspect of cactus arrangements is getting the layering right. Multiple levels of depth is important to guide the eye to every part of the arrangement. This is where trailing succulents come into play.
The way this works is to plant the succulents around the edges of the container so they can hang down, and then immediately grow them out.
Plus, trailing succulents are so neat looking! Look for the String of Pearls or Burro’s Tail for some great overhang. There are loads of different kinds of trailing succulents, and they come in a variety of different shapes and sizes!
2. Ghost Plant
If you’ve never worked with succulents before, Ghost Plant is an easy one to start with. It’s almost impossible to kill because of its ability to thrive in any condition! Plus, it’s leaves drop frequently, which makes new baby Ghost Plants without any help.
Despite being such an easy cactus arrangement, the Ghost Plant gifts you with beautiful light purple and pink shades if it has enough sunlight. If you don’t have access to much sunlight, this plant will stretch a lot. So, feel free to plant it around the edges, so it can work as a mock trailing succulent!
They’re pretty common and can usually be found at a garden store, or if you’re lazy like me you can just get them from Amazon or Etsy.
Echeveria is probably one of the most diverse and colorful group of succulents that you will fall in love with! While they mostly look the same, compact rosettes composed of broad leaves, this plant is very versatile and fits with everything!
My favorite thing about Echeveria is how it’s able to match with whatever I combine it with. They’re not too picky about their living conditions either! You have a lot of options with this species, so be sure to shop around a bit before settling.
4. Jelly Bean Plant
These tiny cuties are a must have for any cactus arrangement! The name fits it perfectly because their leave do have an edible look to them, similar to jelly beans (get it?).
Like the Ghost Plant, Jelly Bean Plants have some incredible colors when given a full sun to soak up. Watch in amazement as the solid green leaves turn pink and then a deep red and orange in the light!
Jelly Bean Plants like to spread out, so they’re great at filling in cactus arrangements. Also like Ghost Plants, they are a very common find at most garden stores or online.
5. Zebra Cactus
If you know basically anything about cactus arrangements, then you probably know about the Zebra Cactus. There are a lot of fascinating choices in the Haworthia family, but I went with the Zebra Cactus because it’s so easy to find and take care of.
When arranging, be aware that the Zebra Cactus is a mid-ground plant only. This means it’s too tall to be in the front of the arrangement, and too short to be in the back. The white stripes over dark green give this plant a striking look that will add some serious pizzazz to your cactus arrangement!
Note that while the Haworthia family look quite similar, the difference comes in whether or not the stripes appear on the tops or underside of the leaves. You can find these guys in grocery stores like Trader Joe’s from time to time. They’re quite popular around Halloween time, or just order them online.
6. Baby Necklace
This is an awesome mid-ground plant; just like the Zebra Plant, but Baby Necklace’s tend to trail over the container as they get older. This fat plant has awesomely geometric leaf shapes, and they tend to grow closely bunch together, so you’ll want to really pack them in.
The color can range from light green to a nice pale blue. There are even a few varieties that have leaves outlined with red. Make a note to keep them in a spot that gives them plenty of sunlight because this will help them stay compact! Often found in garden stores and always available online!
I know, I’m throwing a whole genus at you again, and like Echeveria, it has a lot of variety! Sempervivum cacti have captivating radial symmetry that’s hypnotizing! Many more leaves than Echeveria, so their rosettes are extremely busy (in a good way).
This genus prefers staying low to the soil and producing lots of babies! They work great as a filler plant. Just leave them a little wiggle room and they’ll fill it up in no time! They often get confused with Echeveria at big box stores, so look for their more common names: Hens and Chicks!
8. Christmas Carol Aloe
Don’t get confused, this is not your regular ol’ Aloe vera. This is a specially-bred hybrid aloe that – when given enough sun – has vivid coloring to show off!
Christmas Carol Aloe is a flexible succulent. Not growing too tall, or taking up too much space, it adds a nice splash of color and different textures to your cactus arrangements! It pups at a frequent pace, as well. The flowers will come in about once every year, and when they do it’ll light up your arrangement with breathtaking orange blooms! Absolutely gorgeous!
Warning: If you buy these online, just know that they will more often than not appear plain green when they arrive. Christmas Carol Aloe requires significant sunlight to get those luscious colors!
9. Mammillaria Cacti
Okay, I’ll be honest with you; there are a lot of cacti in the Mammillaria genus. The main thing that groups them all together are there abundance of thick spines. Usually, they aren’t the really painful ones (even though the picture suggests that, but just look at those beautiful flowers!).
All those spines give a lot of character to your cactus arrangements. I like the way these cacti work in a sparse, desert-themed arrangement where each plant is highlighted by the space between them. You can find these exotic plants online!