Cholla Cactus: Planting 101

Cholla Cactus: Planting 101

Cholla cacti are some of the most beautiful and sought-after plants globally, but they’re not for everyone. They can be notoriously tricky to grow, and if you get them wrong, your cactus can quickly die.

This post will help you decide whether a Cholla cactus is suitable for you and how to plant them from seeds if you choose to give it a shot.

Cholla Cactus: Planting 101


Cholla (pronounced “choya”) cactus is a plant that is native to the desert southwest. It is also known as the Hanging Chain Cholla due to its natural growth habit of clustering together in large groups. This clustering characteristic makes it ideal for use in a xeriscape landscape. However, it can be quite the maintenance headache, depending on the variety and size of cholla you choose to grow. The following information will help you decide which type of cholla cactus will suit your yard and how to care for it properly.

Chollas are perennial plants with many stems branching out from the base. They can survive in most types of soil without supplemental water, as long as they have plenty of sun exposure.


Once you’ve decided a cholla cactus is a plant for you, select the type of cholla. You can choose from Arizona pencil cholla, buckhorn cholla, Christo’s Staghorn, Christmas cactus (which isn’t a true cactus), chain fruit cholla, jumping cholla, and teddybear cholla. The easiest way to identify different types of chollas is by their characteristics. Consider the number of stems each class has, their size and shape, and their coloring. Also, keep in mind the stiffness of their spines when choosing which type to grow.

Candelabra Tree Cactus (Euphorbia Ingens). Shot in Santa Fe, NM.


You should always choose a pot that has a good drainage system. It is advised to drill holes in the bottom of the pot for added drainage. In this way, the soil will not be too wet and the cholla cactus will avoid root rot.

Cholla cactus grows best in warm climates that experience high temperatures. The ideal temperature is around 86 degrees Celsius (30 degrees Celsius) during the day and 70 degrees Fahrenheit (20 degrees Celsius) at night. If you live in an area with moderate winters, it would be best to move your cholla cactus indoors during this time.


The Cholla cactus is a classic Southwest plant that you can use in many ways—you just need to know-how.

Jumping Cholla Cactus in Joshua Tree, teddy bear cactus, desert, joshua tree with blossoms
  • Use the Cholla cactus in rock gardens, desert landscapes, and southwestern landscapes.
  • Use Chollas as accent plants or barrier hedges (plant them 24 to 36 inches apart). If you see a natural grouping of these cacti in the wild, it’s the perfect spot for your new ones.
  • Utilize Cholla cactus as background plants for your favorite patio or deck plants like agave, aloe, and tree cholla yucca (especially if you have a southwestern-themed landscape).
  • The opuntia variety of this species grows rapidly when young and creates an excellent barrier hedge (grow them 2 feet apart). They’re also great for attracting wildlife like quail and doves; just make sure you plant them in areas where they won’t interfere with human activity!

To sum up, the Cholla Cactus is a beautiful piece of artwork that can be used both indoors and outdoors to add a pop of color to any environment. It also provides many health benefits for those who suffer from asthma or allergies, as it cleanses the air naturally.


The Cholla Cactus is a slow-growing plant, and it can take up to 10 years to reach its full size. It can grow indoors or out, but it does not need any extra water if planted outdoors in the desert. Chollas are not prone to disease; however, pests like scale insects or mealybugs occasionally attack them.

“Cholla Cactus Garden, Joshua Tree National Park, CaliforniaMore images from”

If you follow the steps below, you will soon be able to enjoy the joys of having your own Cholla cactus.

1. You will need an open area with lots of sunlight. That’s because Chollas love the sun!

2. Make sure that the soil is well-drained and not too moist. This plant hates water but needs some moisture in the ground.

3. Plant it in the fall, so it has time to get used to its environment before summer comes again.

4. Plant about 3 inches deep in the ground and ensure no weeds are around it since they may steal all the nutrients from your new plant.

Congratulations, You are done!


If you love cacti, growing a cholla cactus will add some fun and variety to your gardening experience.

Cholla cactus is one of the most popular cacti types in the world for a good reason. They come in many different varieties, just like other kinds of plants. They also have beautiful flowers and can be found around the globe.

Notocactus Scopa V. Albispinus Succulent plant, spherical cactus branching from the stem. Pure white pointed python, yellow flowers.

One of the best parts about this plant is how easy it is to grow them indoors or outdoors!

The cholla cactus is a member of the Cactaceae family; they are typically spiny and cylindrical with few branches that may be branched at one end only (in some species). The most popular type of Cholla Cactus is called “Prickly Pear,” but there are many others too, such as Blue Agave and Peruvian Torchwood (Cereus peruvianus).

What’s stopping you from planting your own Cholla Cactus? With the proper care and maintenance, you, too, can have a beautiful and prickly cactus garden of your own!

If you live in a desert environment and are looking for an exciting succulent to add to your landscape, this is a great option.

Cholla cactus on desert mountain in Nevada

Cholla Cactus is one of the most exciting plants you can add to your landscape. They are native to the southwest and resemble green bonsai trees. They grow very slowly and are drought-tolerant, so if you want a plant that will last for years, this is a great choice.

In addition, if you’re looking for something unique to decorate your home with, this would also be an excellent choice! You can even grow them indoors in pots with minimal care.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *