17 Plants with Prickly Leaves

Ralph Astley is a retired gardener from Philadelphia who specializes in outdoor plants and trees. With years of hands-on experience, Ralph not only cares for a diverse range of outdoor flora but also shares his extensive knowledge through well-written articles and social media posts. A trusted authority in arboriculture, he's committed to helping the community grow healthier, more robust gardens.
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Plants with Prickly Leaves look quite quirky with their thorny foliage! This also saves them from the nibble of animals, too!

From the pointy foliage of the holly to the stand-out agaves, plants with prickly leaves can be quite a unique addition to any garden!

Explore Best Spiny Succulents here

Plants with Prickly Leaves

1. Cactus Varieties

Plants with Prickly Leaves 1

Cacti boast a distinctive feature—prickly leaves modified into spines. These water-storing plants need less maintenance and care, making them perfect for forgetful gardeners. Just place it in a sunny spot and avoid overwatering to prevent root rot.

2. Aloe Vera

aloevera with Prickly Leaves 2

Botanical Name: Aloe barbadensis miller

Aloe vera is popular for its medicinal and cosmetic properties, and it also looks quite great while being at it. The leaves have small spines and are also super pointy at the ends!

3. Rose

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Botanical Name: Rosa spp.

Roses are recognized for their thorny stems and serrated, prickly leaves. These natural defenses add an element of protection to their beauty.

4. Agave

agave with Prickly Leaves 4

Botanical Name: Agave spp.

Agaves are the epitome of plants with prickly leaves. Be it a small or large specimen, you can notice the spiny ‘teeth’ around their rosette-shaped foliage!

5. Holly Prickly Leaves holly 5

Botanical Name: Ilex spp.

A holiday plant, this one exhibits glossy, serrated leaves. The prickly foliage contributes to their traditional role in winter celebrations.

6. Blackberry

Prickly Leaves plant 6

Botanical Name: Rubus fruticosus

Blackberry bushes offer more than delicious berries—they have thorns and prickly leaves. Pointy leaves or not, these are a must-have in the garden! Just give them well-draining soil and full sun exposure for optimal growth.

8. Yucca

yucca plant Prickly Leaves 8

Botanical Name: Yucca spp.

Yucca plants stand out with their slender, sword-like leaves and towering flower spikes. Their leaves have long, pointed tips, and their edges are lined with needle-like prickles. All they need is well-draining soil and plenty of sunlight, making them ideal for desert landscapes.

9. Thistle

Plants with Prickly Leaves 9

Botanical Name: Cirsium spp.

Thistles produce purple blooms and prickly leaves that deter herbivores. Despite their pointy appearance, these plants support pollinators and local ecosystems.

Fun fact: Thistles is the national flower of Scotland.

10. Nettle

Prickly Leaves plant 10

Botanical Name: Urtica spp.

Nettles are notorious for their stinging hair and serrated, prickly leaves that deliver a mild toxin upon contact. Despite this, they have culinary uses, with young leaves used in teas and soups.

Look at the Types of Dead Nettle in this Post

11. Oregon Grape

oregan grapes with Prickly Leaves 11

Botanical Name: Mahonia aquifolium

Oregon Grape is known for its holly-like leaves and showcases clusters of yellow flowers. Its tart blue-black berries stand out amidst the prickly foliage.

Fun fact: Despite its name, it’s not a true grape but is used similarly in jams, jellies, and wines.

12. Lace Aloe

Plants with Prickly Leaves 12

Botanical Name: Aristaloe aristata

Lace Aloe boasts slender leaves with delicate, toothed margins and tiny prickles. The subtle pointy foliage gives it an eye-catching look!

13. Venus Fly Trap

venus flytrap plant with pricky leaves 13

Botanical Name: Dionaea muscipula

Venus Fly Trap plants have leaves with sensitive trigger hairs or blades that help them catch their prey. They give this plant a stand-out look!

Fun fact: These plants have a clever trick—they count touches before they snap shut, but they need at least two in 20 seconds for it to work!

14. Juniper

juniper pricky leaves plant 14
shutterstock/Deanna Laing

Botanical Name: Juniperus spp.

Juniper bushes have needle-like leaves that can be prickly to the touch. These evergreen plants are a great choice for landscapes.

14 Best Spiny Succulents

15. Sea Holly

Prickly Leaves plant 15

Botanical Name: Eryngium maritimum

Sea Holly has spiky flower heads and a thistle-like appearance. The plant’s prickly leaves protect it against herbivores.

16. Barberry

 Prickly Leaves plant 16

Botanical Name: Berberis spp.

Not as pointy as other ones on this list, but the leaves surely have a prickly appearance.  These shrubs also grow beautiful yellow flowers.

17. Mexican Poppy

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Botanical Name: Argemone mexicana

This one has to be the most notorious weed out there, and its prickly leaves are the reason why it is one! They keep the plant safe from animal nibbles!

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