In Basic Care

Secret Symbolism of Cactus Plants in Life and Love

Cacti are known to be prickly, hardy, and resilient regardless of the harsh environments where they grow. Because of that, they have always been popular plants for homeowners. No wonder they are also regarded as some of the most symbolic succulents. 

A cactus requires minimal care and is one of the most popular gifts. Not everybody has a ton of time to devote to watering or pruning a plant. But a cactus is easy to care for so you can gift them to anybody and for almost any reason.

In this article, we will unravel the deep symbolism of cactus succulents. You may be surprised to find that the symbolism of a cactus depends on how it appears as well as what culture it is in.

Is a Cactus Lucky or Unlucky

The cactus is considered a lucky plant by many cultures. Part of that could come from cacti being so inexpensive to maintain and thus easy on your wallet and budget. Like many succulents, cacti purify the air in your home. Because of this, the cactus is thought to symbolize the abolishment of bad feelings and atmosphere.

What does a Cactus Symbolize as a Gift?

As stated, cacti are very common gifts. But how does the symbolism of cactus change or affect gift giving? When gifting somebody a cactus, you need to be aware of what meanings it may have so that you don’t accidently offend somebody.

cactus gift


Cacti grow in the harshest of conditions and still manage to survive. Gifting someone this succulent could be a gesture of appreciating their strength and resilience. It is the perfect gift for a friend or loved one who has been through many hardships but still managed to pull through. 


The thorns on cactus plants protect them from predators. These plants also have a waxy coating that protect them from water loss. The thorns and waxy coating on a cactus mean that the symbolism of cactus plants also includes protection. Sometimes they could indicate that the person you gift the cactus to is protective but it could also indicate a wish for protection for that person.

You may consider gifting a cactus to a friend or family member that is traveling far away to make sure they are protected against harm and to remind them of home. But equally symbolic is to give a cactus to somebody that has always been there watching over you.


A cactus maintains its green color even when growing in deserts. Despite growing in dry areas, cacti are full of water and minerals. This abundance in the face of nothingness leads to a cactus symbolizing an abundance in life beyond just a plant.

The gift of a cactus could act as a reminder of that abundance. Not only that but somebody gifting you a cactus could indicate a financial abundance in your future or a wish for such occurrences. If you have a friend going through some financial or physical hardships, you can gift them a cactus to help them get through.

pregnant woman

Maternal Love

Part of the symbolism of cactus is maternal love because it survives harsh conditions and still purifies the air around us by removing excess carbon dioxide. Carbon dioxide gives people headaches and fatigue, affecting their productivity. A mother would do anything to protect us from harm, just like the cactus. 

Cacti varieties such as aloe vera have healing properties that take this symbolism even further. The nurturing ability of an aloe, for instance, to help a burn feel better is reminiscent of a mother’s love and its ability to heal your emotional wounds.

Family Problems

Some people, especially in the West, believe that the symbolism of cactus is family problems because of their spines. In some cultures, placing cactus at the entrance of a home, living room, kitchen, or bedroom is a bad omen and can bring bad energy and conflicts to the household. 

For this reason, some cultures believe that a cactus should only be placed near a window or in the office. These locations are thought to be the best to help keep bad energy at bay because the bad energy can be directed outward rather than inward toward the family.

When Should you Give a Cactus as a Gift?

Given all of the symbolism of cactus plants, when should you consider giving one as a gift? You probably shouldn’t give somebody a cactus after a funeral for example. But there are many scenarios when a cactus would be an excellent choice of gift.

You should give a cactus as a gift to your friends and loved ones to show them love and protection. This means that you can give a cactus as a gift to thank them for their love but also to tell them that they are resilient and can overcome any situation.

When gifting a cactus, ensure that the recipient understands the symbolism of cactus to avoid confusion. Also make sure to teach them the basics of how to care for a cactus. Otherwise, your gift will soon die and the symbolism of cactus plants will be gone again.

biblical cactus garden

Biblical and Spiritual Meaning of a Cactus

The cactus is also believed to have some biblical and spiritual meaning. The symbolism of cactus spiritually stand for going through tough situations like a cactus does in the desert but remaining joyful and trusting of God. Just like the cactus survives many conditions, God’s love survives many trials.

Another spiritual meaning of the cactus is protection just like the needles protect the flesh of the cactus. Because of this symbolism, many people use a cactus plant in their homes to ward off spiritual evils.

A cactus could also symbolize patience and resilience in times of trial. Like in the Bible, Job was tested to the extent that he lost his family and property, and his body was also ailing. Regardless of the problems, he patiently waited for God to deliver him. This is akin to how a cactus survives in the harshest of environments. 

What Does a Cactus mean in Love?

symbolism of cactus in love

The symbolism of cactus plants in your love life is represented by its blooming nature that surrounds you and your loved ones with beauty, love, care, and protection. Their rarity and stunning beauty makes cactus blooms both prized and valuable. Similarly, true love is both rare and beautiful.

If you combine the symbolism of cactus for love lives and the protection symbolism, you can easily understand why cacti are given to pregnant women as gifts. Maternal love and protection for their unborn babies is perfectly symbolized in a cactus.

What Does a Cactus Mean Sexually?

It doesn’t take a leap of the imagination to figure out why the cactus has sexual symbolism when you take its shape into account. However, the symbolism of cactus plants goes even farther than that. In Japanese culture for example, the cactus indicates lust and sexual attraction.

On the flip side however, because a cactus lives in a harsh environment and they are somewhat solitary, the cactus could also symbolize loneliness. Be cautious when you gift a cactus to a sexual partner that it is taken correctly considering these two vastly different meanings.

What is the Symbolism of a Cactus Flower?

There are over 2000 species of cactus plants. While some cactus varieties do produce blooms, some do no. For those that do bloom, there are many different varieties and colors available. Of course, just like there are various meanings to the cactus in general, different colors of blooms mean different things.

cactus flower

Red Blooms

Cactus plant often produce red blooms around Christmas time, especially in the case of the Christmas cactus and the Thanksgiving cactus. Red cactus blooms symbolize birth, love, and care. Because the red cactus bloom symbolizes all of these good things, cactus plants with red blooms should be gifted to friends and family on their birthdays.

Yellow Blooms

Strength and perseverance are the typical symbols of the yellow cactus bloom. These yellow-blooming cacti are therefore excellent as gifts to people going through hardships, especially emotional hardships. Consider giving a yellow blooming cactus to a friend that recently lost a job or suffered a break up.

White Blooms

White blooms on a cactus symbolize strength and endurance as well. However, like other white flowers, they also indicate purity. The symbolism of cactus plants with white flowers makes them an excellent gift for a more specific purpose. For instance, a young mother may be gifted a white blooming cactus because she needs strength to handle everything her newborn has to throw at her.

Orange Blooms

The cactus with orange blooms combines the symbolism of strength with that of love. These cacti are perfect for a friend that is having trouble in a relationship. Love is still there but it takes a lot of strength to make a relationship work.

What does it Mean when you Dream of a Cactus?

Be cautious when you try to interpret dreams that have a cactus in them. Just like other dream interpretations, it’s simple to read too far into things. However, there are a few interpretations that you could tentatively guess in terms of symbolism of cactus in dreams.

dream of cactus

If you see a cactus in your dreams, it may symbolize negligence. It could mean that you are about to make a reckless decision that could lead to a loss. This negligence could also be from neglecting a relationship as well.

A dream of planting a cactus in your home could signify that someone you trust or help a lot will not appreciate you. Be aware of this because at first, this could hurt. But you have to make sure that you continue to do good deeds and be there for that person.

Dreaming about a cactus spine hurting you may indicate that you are trying to avoid errors. This symbolism of cactus plants should make you doubly aware since mistakes can hurt you financially, physically, or emotionally. 

A dream about a cactus with large spines means that you should evaluate everything inside and out. Often, people tend only to analyze the outward beauty but they disregard the inner beauty of things. Dreaming of a cactus like this should remind you to consider both.

Dreaming of destroying a cactus plant means you could be hurting those close to you, even unintentionally. Evaluate yourself to see if you can think of anybody you may be hurting and make sure that you are aware of your effect on others in the future.


The symbolism of cactus plants can be interpreted differently depending on a number of different factors. When you look at the symbology the cactus, you need to remember that culture, color, and even shape could change their meaning. The various meanings of a cactus could indicate love, care, endurance, strength, abundance, and protection. 

What is the symbolism of cactus in your culture? 

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