Grow a Cactus Garden – Featuring Our Moorten Arboretum Visit

MikeGoad / Pixabay

If you never thought you would wish to grow a cactus garden, or wish to have cactus plants in your backyard, then let us change your mind! (And if you currently love them, join the flight!) We had a chance to visit one of the best desert arboretums on the West Coast, and we found out two things that we wish to pass onto our readers. Growing cactus plants is easy. (Truly!) And cactus gardens are incredible, beautiful, and nature’s wonder all in one. If you do not happen to live in an area where you can grow desert cactus, no problem. Find out how to have a cactus garden in your own backyard or home no matter where you live. Little or large, inside your home or out! Since, whether you call ’em cacti or cactus, they are gorgeous, architectural, significant, and drought resistant plants. They are terrific xeriscaping plants, exceptional versatile, and a number of them can even tolerate the cold. Did we mention lovely?

milivanily / Pixabay

Initially, let us show you some tips & tricks on how to grow a cactus garden or plants yourself. (Can’t be said excessive, it’s simple!) And after that we will get you influenced with our check out to Moorten’s. (BTW, this incredible place is a world popular “Cactarium” in Palm Springs, California, it has actually been included as one of the very best West Coast Gardens in Sundown Magazine and USA Today, and is one of the most Instagrammed places on the West Coast!).




We are starting with some of our favorite desert cactus. If you reside in the Southwest or Western United States, (or a similar environment) these all might be possibilities for you in one way or another. If not, numerous of them can be grown inside. (We do it, and they are the simplest houseplants we have!) Not to stress, keep reading for how to grow cactus in cold winter locations.

werner22brigitte / Pixabay


The Agave plant is one of our favorite desert plants! Paradoxically, it is not a cactus, but a succulent. We felt it was truly essential to include here since it has the exact same growing requirements as cactus plants, and is so crucial in the desert garden. Oh, and the ideas are really spiky, so there is that similarity too! Its is strikingly architectural, and can be found in various sizes and kinds. The blue agave is the extremely plant they utilize to make tequila. Agave also has types that can be grown in colder temperatures. ‘High Country Gardens’ has numerous especially frost resistant Century Plant varieties that are hardy to Zone 5! Agave plants are sluggish growers, and can be grown easily indoors. (We grow numerous!).

MikeGoad / Pixabay


The Golden Barrel Cactus is my personal favorite cactus. It grows in a cushion shape with a detailed pattern of spines. It catches the glow from afternoon sun in method few other plants can, with a halo of light. They can be utilized in a natural desert cactus garden, a modern garden, or quickly grown inside your home with bright light.

analogicus / Pixabay


There are a lot of cactus plants that suit the “columnar cactus” classification that we can’t even try to cover them all here. From “Peruvian Torch” to “Hedge Cactus” and everything in between, these are the foundations and workhorses of any excellent cactus garden. Which by no means makes them less stunning!

Another great element of cactus gardening is what they can appear like in the evening when appropriately lighted. Here their texture and kind are highlighted, making your house appear like a high end resort.

MikeGoad / Pixabay


Ocotillo is in fact not a real cactus, but a shrub. This incredible natural wonder looks like a dead stick when dormant. However one excellent spring or summer rain and nearly overnight they turn into a blooming, green leaved shrub of substance. Much cherished in the desert gardening neighborhood for their hummingbird drawing flowers and their strong upright type.

skeeze / Pixabay


When most people consider the word cactus, they consider the magnificent Saguaro cactus, with branched arms. It is almost synonymous with cowboys and the Old West. But what lots of don’t understand is that is can take 40 years or more for a Saguaro to reach that size. And, the older and larger they are, the more pricey they cost for a backyard garden! You can plant more youthful Saguaro cactus plants in your garden that are smaller sized and have actually not yet branched out their “arms” for a lot less. And as you can see below, they are fantastic. And, you will have planted cactus for the generations to come, also. Saguaros can measure up to 200 years old!

This is terrific picture of a front lawn cactus garden with blue agave, barrel cactus and small Saguaros. Color, kind and texture!

Capri23auto / Pixabay


Ok, now it’s time to discover how easy it is to grow a cactus garden. Here are the primary tips you need to keep in mind when growing cactus plants in your backyard.

USA-Reiseblogger / Pixabay

As you will check out further down this post, there are cactus plants for almost every zone. Ensure you buy plants for your cactus garden that will work for your location, or grow them inside your home.

Pexels / Pixabay

Not every cactus wishes to be in full sun all day long. There are some ranges that would choose to have some afternoon shade in areas with strong summers. You can plant them where they will get a shade shadow from a wall or a fence later on in the day. Check your varieties’ requirements thoroughly.

Einladung_zum_Essen / Pixabay

Whether planting a larger cactus in the yard, or a smaller one in a pot, the nature of a cactus plants’ spines require that you have some specialized devices. An excellent, heavy pair of leather gloves utilized just for cactus are a must. Likewise, we utilize tongs for moving smaller sized cacti. We wrap completions of the tongs in cling wrap to pad them. When transplanting big cactus, aside from the leather gloves, utilize bubble wrap or carpet cushioning to cover the cactus in before moving it. This will provide you something to grip to make the relocation easier, and will protect you.

One thing cactus plants will not tolerate is bad draining pipes soil. You need to include grit and sand to your soil if it has any draining issues at all. Poor soil will do great as long as it drains pipes.

In nature, cacti are created to hold up against long periods of dry spell, followed by extreme and unexpected rains that come at one time. For this factor, try to provide the exact same in your backyard, to a degree. Enable the soil to dry out, then drench with water completely. Easy as that to grow these dry spell tolerant plants!

Do NOT plant a cactus plant completely shade. It will not thank you with a healthy plant.

Do NOT ignore our guidance on well draining pipes soil.

Do NOT Assume that a cactus needs NO care or NO water. They do desire a little attention!



For those of you who do not reside in the Southwest and can’t grow a real desert cactus garden, do not quit! There are genuinely cold hardy cactus plants that you can grow even as far north as Canada. Check out ‘High Nation Gardens’ for their fantastic post on how to grow cold durable cacti, and what the best ranges are for your zone. We have actually grown “Opuntia” (Beavertail Cactus, listed below) which is a variety of Prickly Pear in our own garden in the Pacific Inland Northwest. We get routine snow and temperature levels down to 20 in the winter season, and it comes back even spring with stunning pink flowers.


And of course, you can grow practically any cactus inside your home in containers. Provide brilliant light, however don’t leave them in a window with baking direct sun. They will require an extremely well drained soil to grow in pots. We acquire a cactus mix potting soil and it works fine for us. Water when every couple of weeks in the summer, less frequently in the winter season. When you do water, soak the plant well and after that let it dry out throughly. This reproduces their natural watering with monsoonal rains. That’s all there is to it! Among the tricks we utilize with transplanting and preserving indoor cactus is a set of cooking area tongs and completion of wood spoon to load soil around the base. They work wonders!


Steve & I enjoy Palm Springs. So much that we are building a home there, so we are always searching for garden design concepts every time we visit. The Moorten Botanical Gardens were established in 1939 by Patricia and Chester “Cactus Slim” Moorten. It is run today by their boy, Clark Moorten, who is a cactus professional extraordinaire. (NOT an understatement.) This is an one of kind garden and something that ought to not be missed if you are visiting the location. Their greenhouse is so popular and valued that is utilized for whatever from engagements to haute couture shoots. They even have wedding events here! Steve and I checked out in the hottest month of the year, which in Palm Springs is “Slow Season”, and it was packed on an afternoon that was 110 degrees! Here is a photo of our go to. We hope it motivates you, too!

If you wish to learn more about the gardening lessons you can gain from Palm Springs from our previous trips, checked out our Desert Garden Nursery go to or our Lessons in Desert Gardening! (Enjoyable Truth: Both of these posts have a romantic ending!) Also, we can highly recommend a book called “Desert Gardens of Steve Martino”. Steve is an impressive designer who specialize in desert & cactus gardens and his book has plenty of motivating pictures of xeriscaping and amazing garden style.

Another desert botanical garden in the Palm Springs area you can’t miss out on is The Living Desert Zoo & Gardens. Not just do they have remarkable and differed gardens, they likewise have a complete zoo with giraffes, wolves, cheetahs … Yep, the genuine offer, in the desert! A must on your Places to Go To in Palm Springs List!

We hope you were inspired by this post on Growing a Cactus Garden. And we hope you will get to visit the Moorten Botanical Gardens! We think you will likewise enjoy our posts on 10 Gardens to Go To Before You Die, Alternatives to Lawn: Front Yard Landscaping and 10 No Fail Perennials for Low Water Gardens!


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here