10 of the Best Cholla Cactus plants you can grow at your home

Published On: Sep 22, 2021

Nature is mysterious and works amazingly surprising when it comes to its beautiful creations. Chollas or Cylindropuntia is a form of cacti, commonly found in the Southwestern United States and Northern Mexico deserts. They belong to the Cactaceae family and act as a source of water and food for animals living in the deserts. Also known as jumping cactus, the fruit of the cholla plant is perfectly digestible for deer and bighorn sheep.

 They are capable of tolerating all kinds of weather conditions whether it’s heat or drought. However, if you are planning to grow them in your home, you’d require paying extra attention to pruning them. And if you’re not sure which cholla plant type to opt for, we’ve got you covered. We’ll discuss the traits and types of cholla cactus to help you make an easy choice.  

Cholla Plant - Traits and Facts to consider

  • The jumping cholla cactus can grow as high as 15 feet.
  • In their natural habitat, these plants can live for long periods of time. When grown at home with proper care, they can live for decades or even more
  • Direct sunlight works the best for these plants. As they are desert plants, they do not need much water to survive. So, if you travel a lot, you do not have to worry about watering your plants. 
  • Although not toxic, a cylindropuntia can cause irritation when comes into direct contact with the skin. That’s why we suggest keeping them away from the reach of kids and pets.
  • They make for incredible indoor plants and look uniquely bold in terms of adding a modern aesthetic.
  • A jumping cholla blooms between April to June. It produces star-shaped flowers in warm colors like orange, pink, yellow-green, and red. 

Cholla Adaptations and Types You Should Know 

Cholla plants come with 20 plus variations in terms of species are one of a kind but are available in various forms. There are no of varieties to choose from so it is better to browse your options before getting one with the special characteristics that’s suits well with you.

For those looking to grow them at home like somewhere around backyards wanting to create a cactus garden, then they can take a look at the types below: 

1 ) Teddy Bear Cholla

Teddy Bear Cholla

Cylindropuntia bigelovii or Teddy Bear Cholla comes with very mushy and soft appearance due to the kind of mass that is solid. And with such appearance these plants have arms and legs like that of a fuzzy teddy bear hence, the name - teddy bear cactus or cholla is popularly known for it. They are easy to differentiate thanks to their straw-colored spines and green-yellow flowers. 

 Height: 5 feet - 9 feet

Appearance: Small, yellow-green color with colorful spines

Flowers: Greenish to yellow with lavender streaks

Fruit: Egg-like fruit, yellow in color, approx. 1 inch in size

2)  Buckhorn Cholla 

Buckhorn Cholla

Cylindropuntia acanthocarpa or Buckhorn Cholla has an open kind of appearance that is woody. Also called Major Cholla or the Yellow-Flowered Cane Cactus which also varies up to the shade of red comprises of grey-green type of stem. It is one of the most popular cholla kinds with subtle and light in color spine sheaths.  

 Height: 3 feet to 10 feet

Appearance: Long and Messy

Flowers: Orange, Red, Pink, and Bright Yellow

Fruit: Dry and Thorny

3) Gold or Silver Cholla 

Gold or Silver Cholla

Like other mystically beautiful chollas, this one is also incredibly created by nature with two variants in shining appearance. Due to their yellow and white sheaths, people refer to them as Gold or Silver Cholla. They have short trunks, are bushy, and have short joints with long ends with blossom petals in yellow and green colors.

 Height: Approx 5 feet

Appearance: Small, yellow-green color with colorful spines

Flowers: Yellow-green with red-streaked out portions

Fruit: Dry and Thorny when it gets ripe 

4) Cane Cholla

Cane Cholla

Cylindropuntia imbricata or Cane Cholla cactus is found everywhere from deserts and low mountain slopes to huge grasslands. They have a thick trunk with purple joints. 

 Height: Approx 8 feet

Appearance: Tubercled and thick, full of gray spines

Flowers: A combination of purple, yellow and white 

Fruit: Spineless flesh, yellow-colored during winters

 

5) Chain Cholla

Chain Cholla

Cylindropuntia fulgida or chain cholla comes with a height of up to 15 feet, chain chollas are thorny cactus and love the warm climate for better growth. They generally have a bush-like appearance but sometimes you can spot them in a tree-like form also. When producing fruits, they create a chain that goes as long as 2 feet - thus the name ‘chain cholla’.  

 Height: Approx 15 feet 

Appearance: Small, greenish-yellow with colorful spines

Flowers: White & pink petals with a touch of lavender

Fruit: Green, spineless, in the shape of a pear, approx. 1 or 1 and a 1/2 inch 

6) Tree Cholla

[caption id="attachment_8041" align="alignnone" width="860"]Tree Cholla  [/caption]

A Tree Cholla plant looks similar to a Chane Cholla, which tends to confuse people often. Like Cane Cholla, these plants also turn purple during winters. They are commonly found in the desert areas of Western Oklahoma and Eastern Colorado. 

 Height: Up to 7 feet

Appearance: Plump with tubercles

Flowers: A combination of lavender and red 

Fruit: up to 2inch, oval-shaped and yellow in color

7) Christmas Cholla

Christmas Cholla

There is something absolutely homely and adorable about everything related to Christmas and this is the most popular choice of homeowners, Christmas or Holycross Cholla, which produces a red fruit during Christmas. This special plant adds some stunning makeover to your home garden spreading the Christmas vibes all around. Since Christmas brings happiness and joy, many prefer to grow this cactus plant at home. 

 Height: 4 feet to 6 feet

Appearance: Smooth and thin, free from tubercles

Flowers: Bronze and yellow flowers

Fruit: Grape-sized, red berries that last throughout cold weather  

8) Devil Cholla 

[caption id="attachment_8036" align="alignnone" width="860"]Devil Cholla  [/caption]

Not all cactus plants have well-defined tubercles, except Devil Cholla or Club Cholla. They are low-growing plants with sharp spines in different colors. 

 Height: Approx 4 inches 

Appearance: Does not have any sheaths on spines

Flowers: Green and lemon yellow

Fruit: up to 3 inches long and spiny

9) Diamond Cholla 

Diamond Cholla

They can grow even in the driest of the areas including desserts. The sheaths are yellow in color with an orange tip. Unlike other cholla plants, it also has a grooved surface. 

 Height: Approx 5 feet

Appearance: In the same of a pencil with gray stems that have diamond-like tubercles.

Flowers: Pink and Apricot

Fruit: Dry and Spiny 

 10) Pencil Cholla

[caption id="attachment_8039" align="alignnone" width="860"]Pencil Cholla  [/caption]

Like Christmas chollas, these plants have a trunk in place of a shrub. They mostly grow in sandy plains and valleys. 

 Height: Approx 2 feet to 5 feet

Appearance: Green, thin and long in the shape of a pencil

Flowers: A combination of yellow and orange

Fruit: Green in color and fleshy

 

Useful Tips for Growing Cholla Cactus Plants

Who doesn’t love to make their house look incredibly amazing which can stand out differently among others? So, if you want a cholla cactus plant for your home? We’ve got some amazing tips to help you grow it: - 

  • These plants love sunlight which means they would love to grow well outdoors. However, if you have an indoor spot that gets plenty of direct sunlight, you can easily grow a cholla plant there. In fact, these are so adjustable that can even manage in Indoors, where it can grow well with artificial light as well
  • When planning the Cholla cactus for the first time in your house, try not to forget to water it regularly. It makes the plant used to new conditions and helps it settle faster. Once it gets settled, you can slowly reduce the amount of water depending upon the need.
  • A cholla plant is known for its incredible tolerance to cold temperatures but only for a short span. That’s why sometimes we often recommend keeping them indoors during wintertime. 
  • They flourish and produce flowers mostly during warm temperatures. Make sure you keep them in warm temperatures - more than 21 °C.
  • To keep them in their natural habitat, you need to plant them in soils that drain well and have an average pH.
  • Contact a gardener and invest in soil mix created specifically for cactus plants. This way, you can ensure that your plants remain healthy for years to come. 
  • Regular feeding is the most important aspect of growing a Cholla cactus plant. We suggest using a combination of granular fertilizer and water-soluble fertilizer.  
  • A plastic or clay pot is a great way to grow cacti. Even gardeners recommend this technique because plastic keeps the soil damp for a long time. Clay pots too are an exceptional choice for those looking to grow taller Cholla cactus plants in their backyards. 
  • Cactus plants like Cholla also require you to repot them. If you choose a container to grow them, you need to repot them on a regular basis. Just take the plant out of the pot and replace the oil soil with a new one. You can also switch the plant to a totally different pot with the whole new soil. But if you grow them in your backyard, you might need a gardener’s assistance to replant them. 
  • Most people don’t know this, but Cholla plants are vulnerable to cochineal insect invasions. These insects are sticky and white that produces a red substance that can harm your plant. To treat them, you need to spray them with a mix of water and alcohol in equal proportions. When growing them in the garden, you can remove the pests using a garden hose.

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To Conclude

Well! If you are a cactus lover and couldn’t resist planting them near your house then go ahead as taking care of a Cholla cactus plant isn’t as challenging as it seems. They grow well in all kinds of environments, need a succulent soil mix, and love sunlight along with timely watering. 

 So, if you are seriously thinking about growing these plants in your home, don’t stop yourself with the concerns as it is much adjusting and easy for you to do that. In case of questions or concerns regarding which Cholla cactus plant to opt for, let us know, we’ll help you make the right choice.