28 Unique & Rare Cactus Plants to Grow If You Love Cacti & Succulents

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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Are you a big cacti lover and looking for an unusual one? Read on to pick your favorite from our list of 28 Unique & Rare Cactus Plants!

Cacti are surely one of the weirdest looking plants out there! They come in different shapes and if you want to have the best ones in your collection, then have a look at the most Unique & Rare Cactus Plants we have for you in this listicle!

Here are the best types of tall cactus you can grow indoors 

Unique & Rare Cactus

1. Starfish Cactus

Unique & Rare Cactus

Botanical Name: Stapelia grandiflora

What makes this plant bizarre is its flowers! The blooms look like starfishes and, along with the foliage, give the plant a very unique look.

2. Arizona Rainbow Cactus


Botanical Name: Echinocereus rigidissimus

If you are looking for a fancy specimen, Rainbow Hedgehog Cactus is the plant for you. The spines are red-magenta that also turn into a shade of yellow or light pink on maturity.

3. Ming Thing

Unique & Rare Cactus 2

Botanical Name: Cereus forbesii monstrose ‘Ming Thing’

It bears numerous clusters of sculptural blue to green nodules, making it look like it comes from another planet! The plant also features woolly areoles and small spines in a black hue.

4. Totem Pole


Botanical Name: Pachycereus schottii monstrosus ‘Totem Pole Cactus’

This very smooth, bumpy, and long plant makes it another very rare cactus plant. It is a natural mutation that leads this plant into growing up to be a huge misshapen cactus.

5. Chocolate Cactus

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Botanical Name: Echinopsis cv ‘Chocolate’

It looks like a bizarre mutation and is brown in color, making it to the list of Really Bizarre Cactus Plants that you can find. The looks can also be described to be like fungus.

6. Stenocereus Cactus

Botanical Name: Stenocereus hollianus cristata

This kind is unusual because of the growth in the shape of waves. The tips in dark purple color blend into the curve in a wild manner giving it a bizarre look.

7. Turbinicarpus Cactus

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Botanical Name: Turbinicarpus alonsoi

It is rarely found, and it only grows on rocky slopes about 1,900 meters above sea level. It has also been listed as a critically endangered species.

8. Dinosaur Back Plant


Botanical Name: Myrtillocactus geometrizans forma cristata ‘Dinosaur Back Plant’

Native to northern and central Mexico, this unusual variety has an intertwined clustered appearance that can grow to an extraordinary height of 16 feet, making it a really bizarre cactus.

9. Eve’s Needle

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Botanical Name: Opuntia subulata ‘Eve’s Needle’

A shrubby cactus with green-yellow awl-like leaves. A low-maintenance succulent that blooms concave reddish flowers in mid-spring to mid-summer only under favorable conditions.

10. Ruby Ball


Botanical Name: Gymnocalycium mihanovichii ‘Hibotan’

A unique vibrant colored showy variant that usually comes in shades of red, sometimes purple, yellow, white, or orange. Under right conditions, ‘Rubi Ball’ also blooms pale pink flowers and gray-green fruits.

11. Brain Cactus

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Botanical Name: Stenocactus multicostatus

Like its name, this cactus resembles a human brain and is surely one of the Really Bizarre Cactus Plants you can grow. To make it look more dramatic, grow it in a face-shaped planter!

12. Baseball Cactus


Botanical Name: Euphorbia obesa

The plant looks like the top of a baseball bat. It is a slow grower and does best in bright sunlight. You can also keep it in small pots on well-lit tabletops.

13. Golden Barrell Cactus

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shutterstock/Jantanee Boonkhaw

Botanical Name: Echinocactus grusonii

The globe-shaped stem of the plant makes it look quite distinctive. It is a really slow grower and also blooms yellow flowers when kept in plenty of sun.

14. Lilliputian Cactus


Botanical Name: Blossfeldia lilliputian

The plant looks like a cluster of small green globes tightly packed together with little spots of white all over. Not exactly bizarre, but it is surely cute looking!

15. Creeping Devil

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Botanical Name: Stenocereus eruca

Native to Mexico, the creeping devil grows horizontally on the ground with white hair all over. From a distance, the plant looks like a thorny bed of snakes!

16. Horse Crippler Cactus


Botanical Name: Echinocactus texensis

This one looks like a little pumpkin and can cause a lot of damage with its sharp thorns, which are pointy enough to cripple a horse!

17. Teddy Bear Cholla

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Botanical Name: Cylindropuntia bigelovii

Also popular as jumping cholla, it looks like some creepy animal wearing a coat of soft fur. It attains a good height and is one of the most Unique & Rare Cactus Plants you can grow!

18. Eagle Claw Cactus

Botanical Name: Echinocactus horizonthalonius

You can call it a cousin of Horse Crippler Cactus. This cactus has curved spines that look a lot like the talons of an eagle.

19. Silver Torch Cactus


Botanical Name: Cleistocactus strausii

This columnar cactus looks like a tall silver torch! It can attain an impressive height of 8-10 feet and grows carrot-shaped red flowers.

20. Hedgehog Cactus


Botanical Name: Echinocereus

Though you might have seen it a lot of times, the hedgehog cactus comes in a lot of shapes and sizes. Some of them can be really bizarre to look at!

21. Santa Rita Prickly Pear

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Botanical Name: Opuntia santarita

Resembles the prickly pear cactus in shape but differs in color—reddish-purple. This cactus blooms orange-red flowers in spring and produces oblong purple fruits after the flowering season.

22. Papyracanthus


Botanical Name: Tephrocactus articulatus var. papyracanthus

A low-growing cactus with flat paper-like spines that curl away after getting longer. ‘Paper Spine Cactus’ doesn’t grow to a height of more than 12 inches as the segments fall off the plant easily.

23. Varispiralis Cactus

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Botanical Name: Eulychnia castanea f. varispiralis

A pretty rare cactus with a striking appearance in a clockwise spiral motion and sharp spines in between the discs. This succulent needs extremely good drainage and thrives in a sunny spot.

24. Monstrose Cactus


Botanical Name: Copiapoa tenuissima ‘Monstrose’

This bizarre cactus is dark purplish in color, with tiny white woolly patches scattered uniformly on top.

25. Godzilla

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Botanical Name: Ariocarpus fissuratus ‘Godzilla’

Herbaceous cacti look like layers of triangular rocks stacked on top of the other. Bright flowers emerge from the wooly tips in fall or early winter.

26. Dead Man’s Fingers


Botanical Name: Maihueniopsis clavarioides

Also known as ‘Dead Man’s Fingers’, the stems are conical in shape and emerge out like fingers from the short greyish-brown stumps.

27. Old Lady Cactus

Botanical Name: Mammillaria hahniana

One of the most loved cacti, this variant shows unique spherical stems covered in compact and hairy white spines. Pretty purple flowers adorn the succulent in late winter or early spring.

28. Old Man Cactus


Botanical Name: Cephalocereus senilis

As the name suggests, the ‘Old Man’ cactus comes in a cylindrical shape covered with long cushioned grey hair. This must be an addition to your garden if you love unique succulents.

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