Have you ever received a cactus plant as a gift and wondering the meaning behind that? Or, if you already are a cactus lover wanting to find out more about cactus symbolism, I’ve got you covered! Keep reading this article and you’ll find answers to your question and, I’m sure, some of them will make you go ‘Whoa, I had no idea!’. So, what does it mean if someone gives you a cactus?
Don’t worry, it doesn’t mean you are pricky like a cactus, and neither symbolizes bad intentions!
Also, what about the meaning and symbolism of the cactus flower?
You see, like all the other plants and flowers, cacti have their own symbolic meaning that you should know about, just in case you receive or wish to gift one to your friends and loved ones.
Not only do they make unique gifts, but, lately, gifting a cactus has become very trendy too! Are you ready to learn more about cactus symbolism? Let’s go!
They Think You’re Strong
What does it mean when someone gives you a cactus? Well, let me tell you, they think you are a strong and enduring person. You see, cacti can thrive in very unwelcoming and even hostile environments like desert areas and can survive with little to no water for multiple weeks and months. For these reasons, cacti have begun to symbolize tenacity, strength, and the ability to adapt in face of life’s difficulties.
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If your friend or lover gifts you a cactus, you should be flattened! They think you are a warrior, someone who has the mental strength to go through thought times and be victorious.
It’s a way to encourage you to stay strong because you have the ability to handle the most difficult challenges in life. A cactus plant on your desk or countertop is a ‘prickly-friendly’ reminder to reach out to your inner strength when you feel a bit down or defeated.
Recommended: Can a cactus survive without roots
They Want To Protect You
What does it mean if someone gives you a cactus? Perhaps you had no idea, but it means that they want to protect you. This meaning comes from the Chinese philosophy of Feng Shui, a practice of arranging pieces in living spaces in order to create balance with the natural world.
According to this philosophy, cacti are associated with personal success for their ability to absorb radiation and negative energies, promoting a climate of harmony. Placing a cactus on a windowsill or a terrace will protect you from bad energy and misfortune.
Image Credit @gohug_a_cactus
They Care About You
What does it mean if someone gives you a cactus?
Well, it also means they care about you! This concept originates in the Native American culture, where cacti symbolize maternal love and protection because of their amazing ability to thrive and survive in extreme environmental conditions.
Image Credit @botanicalsmh
Being such resilient plants, cacti have become a symbol of unconditional, strong, and enduring love. So when someone gives you a cactus, it means that they love you and care about you with the strongest and deepest of feelings.
Symbolism of the Cactus Flower – What Does the Cactus Flower Mean?
Cactus flowers are some of the most beautiful flowers I have ever seen. Their vibrant colors and eye-catching blooms add a delicate touch to the cactus’ prickly look. These unique flowers, usually large and showy, have several interesting meanings.
They can symbolize two opposite concepts at the same time, depending on where the tradition comes from. In the tradition of Hanakotoba, the Japanese secret language of flowers, gifting a flowering cactus clearly symbolize lust and sexual attraction towards someone.
In contrast, many Western traditions consider it a symbol of chastity and abstinence from physical contact due to the presence of thorns that make the flower somehow inaccessible.
Image Credit @plantinghopela
Other common meanings of the cactus flower include resilience, thriving despite difficulties, love, affection, and protection.
Even the color of the flower carries its own symbolism. Cacti with bright red flowers are often gifted as birthday or graduation presents. While the meaning of yellow, pink, and orange varieties recalls happiness and friendships. Lastly, the white flower evokes strength and resilience.
Gifting Cactus: What Are The Best Options?
Choosing to gift a cactus is a wonderful idea for a variety of good reasons. First of all, cacti are unique, beautiful, and inexpensive (at least for most of the varieties). Unlike flowers and most plants that require special attention, cacti are known for their easy care and sustainability. So, gifting cacti would be a great idea to show unconditional love to the person you love the most.
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If you are thinking of gifting a cactus, there are several options that would make a very cool present:
Fairy Castle Cactus – A miniature cultivar with cylindrical stems resembling the turrets of a castle. It’s a trendy variety, and you can easily find it at your local garden center, and even at the grocery store! Looks great on desks, coffee tables, and countertops. Take note that the Fairy Castle Cactus rarely produces flowers—they’re often sold with artificial blooms attached. If you are wondering why you’ll find more info in this interesting article about Fairy Castle Cactus.
Balloon Cactus (Notocactus magnificus, a.k.a. Parodia magnifica) – Another great option to give as a present to your friends or loved ones. A stunning bluish-green spherical cactus that produces bright, yellow-lemon silky flowers during the spring and summer months. Easy to care for, it’s the perfect cactus for beginners since it doesn’t require any special care and can survive in many environmental and growing conditions. Read more about Balloon Cactus in this in-depth guide.
Christmas Cactus (Schlumbergera) – A small genus of cacti, is native to the coastal mountains of south-eastern Brazil and definitely a very popular and easy-to-care-for plant. Christmas Cactus blooms from late November to late January (hence its name). Flowers in red, white, orange, yellow, pink, or purple appear at the tips of these branches and measure up to 3 inches long with several tiers of petals. These plants easily do well in indirect sunlight or low light, therefore they are a great choice as office plants. If you are interested in more low-light varieties,
I suggest you read ’15 Best Office Succulents And Cacti That Can Tolerate Low Light Conditions.
How to Care for a Cactus
Cacti are wonderful plants to grow and a perfect choice for a beginner. They don’t require any special care and can survive in many environmental and growing conditions, indoors and outdoors. In any case, keep in mind that you will need to provide your plant with proper growing conditions to make it thrive well.
Being desert plants, cacti definitely love the sun! if grown outdoors as part of a cactus or succulent garden, you might want to plant it in an area that gets at least 6 hours of morning sunlight. However, during extreme heat or heat waves, it’s a good idea to place a sunshade over the cactus to protect it from sunburn.
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If grown indoors, make sure to provide your cactus with plenty of bright light by placing the pot in a sunny spot such as near a southern-facing window. If you lack sunlight, you may use grow lights, but natural light is always preferable.
As far as watering requirements, always remember that cacti are drought-resistant, and overwatering may lead to waterlogging and then root rot. If you keep your cactus outdoors and you get regular rainfall in the area where you live, you can forget about watering!
Otherwise, water every 2-3 weeks during summer and less frequently during the winter months, when the plant goes dormant.
Image Credit @ghostceramicsgbg
If you grow your cactus in pots or containers, I suggest you follow the ‘soak and dry’ method: water the soil until it is completely soaked and wait until it’s totally dried out before watering again (this may depend on your location and container).
If you plan to grow your cactus in a pot, you should choose a terracotta or clay one with drainage holes to reduce the risk of overwatering and consequent root rot. Terracotta or clay pots provide a healthy environment for most plants.
The porosity of clay allows air and moisture to penetrate the sides of the pot. That being said, terracotta pots release moisture faster when it’s hot outside, which means you’ll need to water the plants more frequently to prevent soil from drying out.
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For best-growing results, use a fast-draining cactus mix that allows for stronger root growth. For extra drainage, you can add 70% to 80% mineral grit such as coarse sand, pumice, or perlite.
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As far as fertilizing your cactus, if you’ve just repotted it in fresh soil, fertilization may not be necessary since the soil still has plenty of nutrients in it.
However, if you do need to add some nutrients to the soil, it is best to apply organic fertilizer, specifically designed for cacti, at half-strength during the spring-summer season when the plant is actively growing. Do not fertilize during the winter months when the plant is dormant.
What does it Mean if Someone Gives you a Cactus?
As you just read in this article, all the different meanings evoke positive concepts so you can feel good about receiving or gifting your prickly friend!
Hope you enjoyed reading this article and found it comprehensive and enlightening! If you like, feel free to leave a comment or share your knowledge on this topic in the section below.