Cactus Landscaping – Types Of Cactus For The Garden
By: Nikki Tilley, Author of The Bulb-o-licious Garden
Cacti and succulents make outstanding landscaping plants. Most will even tolerate neglect. These plants are also well adapted to potted environments, making them excellent candidates for growing indoors as well.
Types of Cacti
Cacti vary in size, color, shape, and growing habits. They may grow in upright columns, spreading clumps, or spiny balls. They might even be found cascading over large rocks or in hanging baskets. Cacti are available in numerous varieties too, many of which produce stunning flowers. While many types of cactus are native to desert climates, most will tolerate a number of growing conditions. This versatility makes cactus landscaping possible nearly anywhere.
Some popular types of cacti found in landscape settings include:
- Prickly pear cactus – known for its broad, flat prickly stems, of which the tips turn coral colored in bright sun.
- Barrel cactus – resembles spine-covered barrels.
- Cholla cactus – has thin round stems and is quite attractive when used as a focal point within the landscape.
- Pincushion cactus – resembling a small pincushion with its tiny spines sticking out from its round ball-like shape; it makes an interesting addition to the garden.
- Totem pole cactus – characterized by their large height and spineless column shape.
- Organ pipe cactus – grows in clusters that look similar to its name-organ pipes.
Cactus Landscaping Tips
When landscaping with cactus and succulent plants, you should always do your homework first. Learn more about their individual growing requirements and try to match these requirements to that of your landscape.
Cactus plants have a number of survival tactics that allow them to adapt to a particular environment; however, it’s always better to choose those that are more likely to thrive in your particular area. Including a variety of cacti that share similar growing needs but with different heights and textures will add interest to the cactus garden.
Growing Cactus Outdoors
When growing cactus outdoors, choose a sunny, sloped location whenever possible. Locating cacti on a slope allows for better drainage, which is vital when dealing with these plants.
Depending on the types of cactus chosen, beds should be about 6 to 12 inches (15 to 30.5 cm.) deep with well-drained soil specially formulated for cactus plants. This can be purchased or mixed yourself using two parts potting soil, two parts sand, and one part gravel. Cactus plants also enjoy a moderate layer of mulch such as pebbles, rocks, or similar substance.
Once established, cacti require little maintenance and very little, if any, water.
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Read more about General Cactus Care
1. Small Garden Landscaping
This small landscaped garden has it all. Plenty of seating, lots of greenery, and great design. It goes to show you can have a small garden and still create a beautiful outside space. There are lots of evergreens in the planting scheme so it’ll still look good in winter.
2. Fairy Garden Landscaping
This little fairy garden is a landscaping dream. Check out that tiny raised bed and cobblestone-lined path. The landscaped details are a joy – that little seashell chair! It’s beyond cute and something all children (plus a good number of adults) will treasure.
3. Japanese Garden For Landscaping
You won’t see much lawn in a Japanese landscaped garden. This is a typical design that includes the elements of water, stone, shaped evergreens, and a lantern feature piece.
Crossing the shallow water into an interesting and peaceful space brings all the zen to this beautiful Japanese design (and it still leaves a bit of lawn for the kids or pets!)
4. Garden Landscaping On A Budget
Who doesn’t love saving lots of money but still achieving a worthy garden?
The cheapest way to landscape your garden is by using what you have with added elbow grease. This design is a lawn that’s been divided up into flower beds. You can do this with a garden spade, and buy budget bedding plants or plug plants and grow them on a warm window sill before planting them out.
5. Simple Garden Landscaping
A simple idea to landscape your garden is blinging up the border edges, the path edging, any edging!
This zig-zag pattern is eye-catching and it serves as a practical flower border. Old weathered sleepers, stones, and a few statement plants and you have simple but impactful landscaping.
6. Sloped Garden Landscaping
Sloped gardens benefit from terracing, but that can be a major undertaking.
This terrace is a simple one-step that creates a usable area. A flat section of lawn, a flower border, and steps to a slope create strong features and give the garden a purpose. This design has transformed the space into somewhere you want to spend time.
7. Back Garden Landscaping
This is a tiny but perfectly formed back garden landscaping project. See how the circles and curves draw your eye and make the space look bigger? That’s a well-known landscaping trick and a great one to try out if you’re DIY landscaping.
This design would work in a small space or as part of a larger space too.
8. Low Maintenance Garden Landscaping
A low maintenance garden is going to be real grass-free, have stone pathways, and drought-resistant plants that don’t need clipping.
This little garden has it all. Low maintenance aspects with plenty of interest. Who wants to mow when you can drink tea in peace?
9. Large Garden Landscaping
Large gardens create a fair amount of work, but not everyone wants stone and gravel.
Check out this wildflower garden. We’ve lost so many of our wild meadows that pollinators, birds, and mammals are in decline. Help them out with a big wildflower meadow – they don’t take much care and they’re great in drought.
10. Front Garden Landscaping
Here’s a smart front garden landscape for urban and country dwellers. The red and black tile path is an eye-catcher especially with the smart box hedging and the standard bay plants framing the red doorway.
Despite looking great this is low maintenance once it’s in place. The box hedge will only need trimming once or twice a year.
11. Modern Garden Landscaping
This contemporary space is time-saving and right up-to-date but it doesn’t lack flowers for pollinators. Crisp white stone is used instead of a lawn with chic stone planters holding rosemary and verbena. The single colour palette choice of purple is very modern too.
Low maintenance, beautiful, and pollinator-friendly – you don’t get more modern than that.
12. Garden Landscaping Pool
Most UK gardens won’t take an Olympic style pool, but this landscaped design is perfect for smaller gardens. It also makes great use of a sloped garden.
Check out the landscaped stone that doubles as steps and seating. What a great design.
13. Vegetable Garden Landscaping
If you don’t need a lawn this is a great way to grow vegetables in a landscaped garden.
The raised beds and clear stone pathways make the veggie garden accessible to wheelchairs or folk with limited mobility, and it’s right by the back door so all those veggies won’t have far to go – and your shoes won’t get muddy!
14. Cactus Garden Landscaping
Fancy some Wild West action? Go swaggering and gun-slinging through this cactus garden.
Cactus are succulents and they prefer free-draining soil that’s on the dry side. Add lots of grit if your soil is heavy or waterlogged. A cactus landscape is the perfect landscaping idea for a hot and sunny garden.
15. Rose Garden Landscaping
Roses are a dream in the summer months, nothing shouts ‘summer is here’ louder than the scent of roses. There are all types to buy such as climbing roses, tea roses, shrub roses, standard roses, miniature patio roses, and the colours are beautiful.
If you don’t want an entire garden of roses how about just a rose arch to sip your tea beneath?
16. Rock Garden Landscaping
Rock garden landscaping is a great way to make your outside space interesting without dealing with lots of lawn or flower beds.
But that’s not to say flowers have no place! This rock garden has planting pockets for succulents and alpines that love the well-drained and warm conditions.
17. Modern Front Garden Landscaping
Here’s a neat and tidy modern front garden. It incorporates different coloured stones and showcases one cloud-pruned evergreen shrub surrounded by wood chip for a softer finish.
This low-maintenance modern front garden will last for years and if you’re planning to sell up, it’ll increase your home’s kerb appeal.
18. Front Garden Landscaping No Grass
No-one wants to drag a mower to the front garden. There’s no power point and you have to carry it through the hallway dropping dead grass everywhere. All this hassle means a grassy front garden turns into an embarrassing jungle.
Here’s a front garden with no grass. It’s a geometric space with pebbles and evergreens that’ll impress the postman every day.
19. Oriental Garden Landscaping
Oriental gardens make good use of colours and look stunning in Autumn.
This oriental style deck with acers, maples, a small pond, and bamboo screening would be a pleasure to sit in to contemplate life. Add a cherry tree and magnolia for springtime blossom and it’s a garden for all seasons.
20. Landscaping for Raised Garden Beds
Instead of the usual rectangular raised bed, how about a landscaped design like this?
You can still access the beds from every side and it creates an interesting garden feature. Great use of an irrigation system too – you’ll want a leaky hosepipe in raised beds of this size.
21. Steep Garden Landscaping
A very steep back garden is not much use as it is. This design incorporates a heavy-duty tier that creates two levels with raised beds to soften the vertical.
Love the idea of a garden room at the top along with a seating area – and the privacy screens are a must to keep the neighbours at bay.
22. Flower Garden Landscaping
Flowers not only look and smell beautiful they are beneficial to our pollinators too. Bring on the flower gardens!
But wait – you don’t have to dig to create flower beds. How about these hexagonal raised beds full of wildflowers? Great design and even greater wildlife appeal.
23. Garden Landscaping With Pebble
This garden makes the most of pebbles in a recreation of a beach. If you’re a coastal lover this staircase to a ‘back garden beach’ will appeal.
Pebble is a good base for seating and it keeps mud at bay. Imagine bringing out your deckchair to have a BBQ on the garden beach.
24. DIY Garden Landscaping
This simple DIY landscaping project is doable by anyone – even if your DIY skills are non-existent.
Here we have concrete blocks turned up to create a raised bed with extra planting pockets. Herbs would love the dry conditions of the pockets. What a great idea for budget DIY landscaping.
25. Corner Garden Landscaping
Corner gardens are great places to grow tender plants and install a cosy seating area because the wind is blocked on two sides.
If your corner is a sun trap create a bespoke corner seat with heat-loving plants. If it’s shady, set up a corner seat with ferns. Win-Win.
26. Japanese Rock Garden Landscaping
A simple but effective Japanese rock garden landscape you say? Look no further.
These large standing stones are pricey, but they last forever and don’t require watering, pruning, or feeding. The raked pebbles create movement so the effect isn’t too barren and the box clipped hedge neatly encases it all.
27. Landscaping Garden Edging
Illuminated garden edging looks smart in the day and at night too.
Edging is traditionally used to stop grass creeping into the flower border, but it can be so much more. This type of lighting can be used along borders and pathways to light the way at dusk.
28. Small Terrace Garden Landscaping
This small garden has been perfectly terraced. It’s heading upwards, but the design could work heading downwards as well.
Three levels are softened with sloping flower borders and lots of curves to make the space look larger. Who wouldn’t want a glass of red on that top tier?
29. Country Flower Garden Border Landscaping
Here’s a beautiful country flower garden border packed out with flowering shrubs, perennials, and annuals.
The old-fashioned pathway makes sure you get a great view of the planting scheme with its restrained palette of purple and white planted in a gentle rhythm. Don’t forget to match your climbers!
30. Cottage Garden Landscaping
Lots of flowers and soft edges define a cottage garden. This landscaped cottage garden features seating in a circle of evergreens with lots of pollinator-friendly and scented flowers in the surroundings. The wall and old-time fountain add to this country scene.
31. Stone Garden Landscaping
Here’s an interesting stone garden landscape. The main path is lined with pebbles and pavers, but the main attraction here are those spheres – what a talking point!
Love the river of blue flowers on the opposing side too. Once this garden is in place it won’t need any maintenance for years.
32. Garden Gate Landscaping
Is that Gandalf knocking? This is such an unusual design, you can be sure no-one else in the neighbourhood will have a gate like this!
A circular gate is unusual enough, but the bright blue turns it into a garden feature. If circular isn’t your thing, consider a different shape to the standard rectangle such as diamond or hexagonal.
33. Front Yard Rock Garden Landscaping
This super-smart low maintenance front yard rock garden is a modern take on the old-style rockery.
It’s perfect for urban townhouses and leaves plenty of room to park the car or get a buggy up to the front door. The black and white contrast is eye-catching and the small evergreen plants add a touch of colour to stop it becoming yawn-worthy.
34. English Country Garden Landscaping
This English country garden has turned a sloping garden into a work of art.
The old stone used to create tiers creates a countrified effect and the soft planting of evergreens with roses and ivy completes the look – oh no wait! The bench you can sit on to drink earl grey in the sun completes the effect!
35. Garden Wall Landscaping
If you’ve got a great view from your garden make the most of it with a window.
This is garden wall landscaping at its finest. A window is also a good idea for a front garden wall or a dividing wall in a large back garden.
This round window creates an interesting feature, lets in light, and brings a smile to your face.
36. Garden Pond Landscaping
Garden ponds are great for wildlife and bring your garden alive.
This hexagonal design is a play on the traditional curvy preform. The modern edging brings it up-to-date and the way it introduces the lawn to the decking is perfection.
This garden pond landscaping would suit a small urban townhouse, but do make sure you have an escape route for hedgehogs and other mammals that might fall in. A pile of rocks in one corner would do the trick.
37. Tropical Garden Landscaping
Tropical garden landscaping works in the UK if you choose hardy tropicals. There are plenty of them about so do some research first!
Here the design is based around a wooden deck with a pathway that winds through a tropical jungle. Imagine a seat at the other end. This design blocks out the neighbours completely and provides lots of cooling shade. What a tropical hideout!
38. Easy Garden Landscaping
Who prefers sitting in the garden to working in it? Me too! This easy landscaping design will leave plenty of time for tea, coffee, and wine.
The dry river bed landscape is simple to do, it just takes a bit of time. Be sure to mark out the areas with rope or chalk spray before you put the stones and bark down.
39. Water Garden Landscaping
A water garden is more than a pond, it’s a garden where water is the main feature. Water gardens are wildlife-friendly and very relaxing.
This water garden is a modern landscaped design in a terraced street. It’s unusual and a great use of space in a long and thin garden. The tall plants reflect and fill the space with colour. Perfection.
40. Landscaping Garden Borders
Landscaped garden borders smarten up any home, even if it’s the only landscaping job you do!
Here the lawn has been cut into a curvy shape and the top third separated off by two evergreen ‘guard’ trees. This is a good design trick as it leads you further into the garden. Admit it – you want to walk between those conifers!
The landscaped borders are full of matching evergreens that pull the look together. It’s low maintenance and smart too.
41. Garden Bench Landscaping
This garden bench is perfect for hot days and rainy days with that protective canopy. It also blocks out the neighbours, so that’s a win on many sides.
Turning your bench into the main feature of a smart landscaped garden makes sense because that’s where you’ll spend time relaxing, reading, checking your emails, and social media. It’s the perfect set up for overlooked townhouses.
25 Beautiful Cactus Garden Ideas
Cacti are plants that don’t require a lot of care, look great all year long, and won’t cost you a fortune. In addition, their juicy green colors will add a nice touch to your desk, room, or even garden. That’s right you can create an amazing cactus garden to proudly display your favorite plants and be able to spend some quality time among them. If you don’t feel up to designing your very own cactus garden just yet, take a look at our collection of cactus garden ideas for some inspiration.
1. Stones and Cacti
If you think you’d like to have a zen cactus garden, you can’t go wrong with mixing plants and stones. Big flat rocks can make a nice base for your cacti pots, and spreading smaller stones in between pots creates a nice ambiance of a Japanese-like garden. If you want to be particularly creative, you can experiment with various colors for your pots and rocks. Mixing and matching them can create different types of atmospheres and ambiances depending on what you’d like to have in your own cactus garden.
2. Glass Balls Reflecting Cacti
Decorative glass balls probably hit their popularity peak in interior design some years ago, but they are still a viable idea for your cactus garden. The sheer variety of glass balls available on the market gives you a lot of room to experiment with different shapes and color accents. This allows you to create numerous combinations and easily redecorate your cactus garden once you get tired of the way it looks.
3. Cactus in Bloom
Cacti don’t necessarily have to be plain old green. Some of them can bloom and show off beautiful flowers for at least some weeks. It is often fairly difficult to make a blooming cactus actually produce flowers because they need very particular conditions to bloom. You may need to move the cactus around your house or apartment for a while to find the sweet spot that works best for your plant. Using special plant fertilizers may also be a good idea if you want to get the best results. However, once you get the cactus to bloom, it will look great for weeks and surely become the centerpiece of your cactus garden.
4. Cactus in A Flowerbed
If you have a garden outside and live in a climate with mild winters, you can add a cactus to your garden to give it a new twist. Naturally, you’ll need a rather large cactus. Otherwise, it is simply going to get lost among other plants in your garden. Also, make sure the cactus you’re getting for your garden is suitable for weather conditions outside. Some cacti types will have to grow in special large pots, while others need to be planted into the ground. Either way, the new succulent inhabitant of your garden is definitely going to be a nice touch to the existing layout.
5. Mix and Match
If you have limited funds or simply don’t want to invest in decorations such as rocks, stones, or glass balls, you can still create a great cactus garden. Take a look at the cacti you already have and try to imagine a nice arrangement in the space you’re going to use for your garden. If you find a combination that works together well, you’re done designing your new garden. If not, take a good mental note of the cacti you already have and get some new ones that you think can complement your old plants.
6. Stucco and Succulents
Stucco walls can add a lot of character to any garden, so why not use it as a background for your new cactus garden. If you already have a stucco wall, you’ll need to take its design into account when choosing the cacti and their pots for the garden. If not, you almost literally have a clean slate, so you can choose to create your garden in antique, oriental, modern, or any other style you like.
7. Create a Mini Garden
If you live in a small apartment with seemingly no space available for a cactus garden, you may still be able to fit one into your living quarters. Window sills often present a great spot for cacti because there is a lot of sunlight coming in from the window. However, if a window sill is situated next to a heating unit or underneath a window that doesn’t get a lot of light, it is probably not the best place to grow a cacti garden. If you don’t have a suitable window sill, take a look at shelves and other flat surfaces at eye level – you’re bound to find a spot where you could place a couple of cacti and maybe even some small rocks.
8. Cactus Fences
Of course, you can’t seriously expect to replace the fence around your house with cacti. However, you can plant the succulents along pathways or alleys to create visual limitations and separate different areas of your yard and garden. Just make sure to get the right types of cacti so that they can survive the transplantation and thrive in their new home. Bear in mind that this type of cactus garden may not be the best idea if there are small children or pets in your household.
9. Cacti in the Desert
People who live in warmer climates may want to go for the desert look for their cactus gardens. Depending on what you already have available, a cool desert design may be very easy or fairly challenging to achieve. In any case, you’re probably going to need some sand and a couple of boulders to set the tone. Once the sand is spread out and the boulders have been installed, you can place your cacti around them and see how they interact with the new environment.
10. Aloe Meets Cactus
It is common for people to think that aloe vera is actually a type of cactus because of its sharp, dry, spiny look. Despite not actually being one of the 2000+ cactus types, aloe vera still is a succulent that can fit into your new cactus garden perfectly. If you plant it outside in suitable conditions, it will grow to be pretty big, so make sure to allow it some space to grow into. Centering your cactus collection around an aloe plant is bound to result in a nice looking garden.
11. Explore the Variety
As you already know from the previous paragraph, there are over 2000 various cactus types, and of course, they don’t all look the same. We all know and recognize the stereotypical cactus look, but there are some succulent plants that you probably wouldn’t even identify as a cactus, yet they do belong to the Cactaceae family. Thus, your perfect cactus garden design may all come together once you take a good look at all the various shapes, forms, and even colors of cacti you can purchase.
12. Go For Exotic Cacti
If you have a soft spot for rare or unique things, we feel you may like to decorate your cactus garden with some exotic cacti. Depending on where you live, you might be able to get your hands on some pretty rare and interesting cacti types without much trouble and effort. If there are no rare cacti easily available in your city or even country, you can still look for them online. This way is going to be more challenging, but finally obtaining the desired cactus is also going to feel much more rewarding.
13. Cacti in a Rock Garden
Rocks are a very versatile material for garden design, and some people even choose to have rock gardens with little to no plants just for the sheer stone aesthetic. If you happen to have a rock garden already and feel fed up with its look, you can instantly make it more fun by placing some cacti around it. Choose the cacti types for your rock garden wisely, and you’ll be able to create a nice, welcoming space where you can read books, relax after a day at work, or simply watch the stars.
14. Playing With Contrasts
If your house walls are painted white or another light color, you can plant some tall cacti next to them to create a sharp contrast. The fresh green colors of the cacti are going to stand out against the light colored walls, bringing a lot of visual diversity into your garden or backyard. This design looks particularly great during sunny days when the walls present a bright background, and the cacti cast solid, crisp-looking shadows.
15. Glowing Red Spines
Sometimes the best way to create an interesting visual aesthetic is to experiment with the light. Assuming your cactus garden is going to be outside, you have a lot of room for experimentation due to the variability of natural light. If you can place or plant your cacti in the right spot, you can get the sun to shine at them at that particular angle that creates a certain backlight and makes the cacti glow in it. The best cacti to go with this kind of design are the ones with red spines: once they are hit by the light from the right angle, they start producing a nice pinkish glow.
16. Colors Fill Spaces
If you have a large space intended for your cactus garden, you don’t necessarily have to fill it all up with cacti, rocks, or other expensive decorations. It is possible to create a great cactus garden with a limited budget regardless of how the spacious it is going to be. The trick is to avoid leaving too much open space by covering up the ground around your cacti with small colorful stones. Being quite affordable and coming in a variety of colors, these stones are perfect for creating circles or maybe even other geometrical shapes around the base of your cacti and filling up vast empty spaces.
17. Escaping the Shadows
It is no secret that cacti need a lot of sunlight to live and grow. Unfortunately, sometimes all the space you have for your future cactus garden is an area hidden from the sun by your house, shed, or maybe a large tree. Still, it is often possible to find small spots that get more sunlight even in darker areas. Use these spots to strategically plant your cacti, creating a visually engaging scattered look for your cactus garden.
18. Minimalism is Key
In a world full of an overwhelming amount of different things, concepts, and ideas, your cactus garden can become a place where you can meditate and focus on what matters most. A minimalistic design is definitely going to work best for such garden, and symmetry can help you implement minimalism without completely missing out on the decorative aspects of a garden. Get some similar cacti in uniform pots and center them around a tree, a fountain, or a large exotic cactus to build a symmetrical pattern.
19. Cacti Leading the Way
This cactus garden design will probably require you to spend more money and effort than most others on this list, but your investment will be rewarded by having an unusual and very cool garden. Choose a suitable path in your garden or backyard and plant cacti of different sizes along it. Ideally, they would surround the path from both sides, but if you only have the money or space to do one side, the design is still going to look pretty good. It is a good idea to take some extra time and find cacti of as many sizes as possible to create smooth visual transitions between plants.
20. A Rough Patch
We have already given you some ideas that work well if you have a large space for the cactus garden and only a few cacti to place there. But what if money is not that much of a concern and you are prepared to spend a lot on your new garden? Well, in that case, you could go for expensive, super rare cacti and proudly display them in the garden, or buy a dozen cacti of the same type and cover up a patch in your garden. This design works particularly well with large round cacti which all look more or less the same and are relatively easy to obtain.
21. Tiny Cacti
Since cacti vary in shape and size, your cactus garden doesn’t necessarily have to be large. Some people prefer small cacti that can easily be placed on desks, shelves, or tables. Such cacti work great for an indoor cactus garden described in our idea #7, but some of them can even be planted outside. Just be careful not to step on your tiny garden once you’re done planning and planting it!
22. Display Your Personality
If you’re the one designing your cactus garden, it can become your creative outlet, reflecting your personal traits and preferences. Are you methodical and organized? Your cactus garden layout could be revolving around lines and strict geometric patterns. If you’re spontaneous and creative, your garden could reflect that just as well, being a chaotic mix of different cacti and seemingly random decorations. Expressing yourself is fun, so why not do it while designing your cactus garden instead of just copying someone else’s design?
23. Don’t Forget About Pots
Even the least remarkable cactus garden designs can be “fixed” with a splash of color – and colorful rocks or glass balls are not your only option. Use pots of different colors to accentuate your cacti and make your garden look much more vivid and engaging. Just make sure you stick with bright colors for the pots. Otherwise, they’re just going to blend in with the ground or the cacti themselves.
24. Cacti Hills
Some gardens happen to have hills waiting to be incorporated into the overall garden layout, and planting a bunch of cacti on them is a great way to do just that. Having multiple green succulents populating the hill will make it an essential part of your garden instead of being an eyesore. In fact, a well-designed cactus garden on a hill can look so cool that some people intentionally create uneven landscapes to accommodate their cacti.
25. Don’t Get Exclusive
The name “cactus garden” clearly suggests that the main plants in the garden should be cacti, but that doesn’t mean they also have to be the only ones. Cacti can work really well with small, bright flowers, creating a textured green background for the colorful little plants. Also, you can try mixing cacti with larger succulents of different types – this could be gsreat for a larger garden with some rocks, statues, or even a pond.
Did you enjoy my list of cactus garden ideas? It would mean a lot to me to get some feedback from you, even if you have some criticisms regarding the article. And if you think the ideas on this list are helpful and inspiring, please take some time to share it with your friends and help them design cactus gardens of their own!
Prickly Pear Cactus
Prickly pear cactus, genus Opuntia, rank as most common genus of native North American cacti. Approximately two dozen species have been identified, ranging in size from one to six feet in height. Depending on the species, spines might cover their flat pads (leaves).
While most species adapt to the dry, desert Southwest climates, some prickly pear species extend their range across multiple climate zones. The U.S. Forest Service, for example, lists thirty five separate states that host the Eastern Prickly Pear Cactus (Opuntia humifusa).
Apart from sharing the common physical trait of flat leaves, differences among Opuntia species make them rather easily identified. Their pads and spines also tend to show characteristic coloring based on species type. The top picture shows a Prickly Pear yellow flower.
The Beavertail cactus (Opuntia basilaris), grows between one and two feet tall. Unlike other prickly pear cactus species, it lacks spines on the pads. Absent the spines, it produces glochids, or small sharp hair-like features, as a defense mechanism. They can stick as sharply as any spine.
Beavertail cacti grow at different altitudes, in the sandy soils of the desert Southwest and produce beautiful pink blooms in the spring.