Outdoor Cacti BedsToday I thought it would be fun to share a completely random, somewhat long-term, project that we are undertaking in our flower beds. Bye-bye flowers…. haha! 

When we first moved to Tennessee, we were out driving one day and I saw a GIANT prickly pear cactus growing in someone’s yard. It was the size of a large bush. It was already getting cold, and I wondered how such a large outdoor cactus was living through the winters. Well, sure enough, I drove by it weekly and even in the snow it lasted. I was blown away. 

Laura found one in her neighborhood as well, and one day when we were at one of our local nurseries, we asked how it was possible for them to live outdoors and if there were more varieties like this! 

We learned that there is only one variety of traditional looking cacti that are actually native to Tennessee. It’s the Texas Prickly Pear. We both decided to take a chance on them and plant some at our homes! 

The only downside is they don’t really sell the giant ones. You have to get smallish ones and let them grow. And it takes years. But since we’re planning to be here for a while, I decided to plant a bunch! 

Now, being the complete psycho that I am, I begged Jeremy to plant them all over the front of our house. But he wasn’t into it because of the fact that it takes years for them to get big, and in the meantime the scale would be kind of off.

So we compromised and decided to plant them all around the back part of our house. Maybe a couple by the mailbox too! We had already had a bunch of bushes in the back pulled out when we were painting the exterior, so we decided to start there.

Baby steps! Besides painting the brick, this was our first outdoor project, you guys!! It’s happening! 

Outdoor Cacti Beds  Here’s the whole bed. Not much to look at yet. I am hoping that at this time next year I can post some pretty significant growth photos. I think a lot of it has to do with them getting the right amount of water and sun during the warm months. My understanding is that they don’t really grow in the winter. 

Outdoor Cacti Beds    Outdoor Cacti Beds    For scale. Look how SMALL. 

Outdoor Cacti Beds     Giving hugs because I love them SO MUCH. Even though they’re small, I still love how they look and feel like they make this little corner of our outdoor space 10x more charming and personal. 

If you are lucky enough to live somewhere temperate year round, please go out and plant 4-6 new cacti in my honor. DO IT. 

If you live somewhere with all four seasons, like me, and you want to plant cacti, here’s what you do! Go to a local nursery (not a big box store, a local store where the people working there really know their stuff!) and ask what options for cacti are cold weather hardy for your area. Maybe you’ll learn something new like I did? 

Thanks for letting me share my new obsession. If you have any tips or information on this subject, I’m all ears! xxoo -Elsie 

Credits/Author: Elsie Larson, Photography: Elsie Larson and Collin DuPree. Photos edited with the NEW A Beautiful Mess actions