The entire cactus family contains around 1500 different species. Many of these species are flowering cacti but only some of them have red flowers.
It’s also interesting to note that some of these red-flowering cacti are either cultivars, subspecies, or variants of the original species.
Nevertheless, in our quest to bring you the best red flowering cactus plants, we’ve come up with 15 different species for you to consider.
1 Austrocylindropuntia cylindrica (Cane cactus)
This species has quite unusual cup-shaped flowers that appear on the tops of each stem. These blooms reach up to 3.8 inches (7 cm) in diameter. They’re followed by yellow fruits that contain numerous seeds.
This is a shrubby species of cactus since it belongs to the Opuntia sub-family. The stems are heavily segmented and covered with white spines. This plant can grow to a height of 14 feet (4.2 m) when grown outdoors in ideal conditions.
2 Cleistocactus samaipatanus
This interesting cactus has the most stunning tubular red flowers. Interestingly, these grow from areoles along the sides of the stem, not just at the tip. If you’re lucky, you could witness the entire top part of the stem covered in these gorgeous blooms. These flowers can be up to 2 inches (5 cm) long and 1 inch (2.5 centimeters) in diameter.
This is a columnar cactus that has lime green stems. These stems are heavily ribbed and have clusters of golden spines growing along the ribs.
3 Cylindropuntia imbricata (Tree cholla)
This species can grow into a small tree complete with a short woody trunk. The lovely red flowers are quite attractive with their yellow centers. These are followed by orange fruits that are quite knobbly and tend to remain on the plant for a number of months.
The green candelabra-like stems or branches are ribbed and have fairly short spines growing from the areoles.
4 Disocactus ackermannii (Red orchid cactus)
This is definitely one to add to your collection. Especially if you want a cactus to grow in a hanging basket that’s going to stun you with its brilliant red flowers. Each bloom can be up to 5.6 inches (14 centimeters) in diameter and these can be quite profuse as they appear around the edges of the flattened stems.
Like most epiphytic species, this plant has long leaf-like stems that are segmented and have wavy edges.
5 Disocactus x hybridus (Orchid cactus)
If you already grow orchid cacti, then you’ll be familiar with this species as it’s the most commonly grown. The red flowers are funnel-shaped and have white stigma lobes. They are quite large and grow around the edges of the stems near the tips.
The long stems can be flat or triangular and are not as heavily segmented as those belonging to Disocactus ackermannii. In fact, this plant does equally well in a standing pot as the stems aren’t quite as pendulant.
6 Echinocereus coccineus (Scarlet hedgehog)
This is probably one of the more well-known red-flowering cacti. You might also know it as the claret cup cactus. This is because the flowers are somewhat cup-shaped and appear in profusion all over the top of the stem.
Each bloom can reach a length of 3.2 inches (8 centimeters) and a diameter of 1.2 inches (3 cm). They are mostly red but can also be orange on some plants.
These lovely blooms grow on thick stems that are usually erect and often, densely spined. The plant has a tendency to form clumps and in their native habitat, you can see large clumps that have over 100 stems.
7 Echinopsis chamaecereus (Peanut cactus)
This is an attractive cactus that has multiple finger-like stems and the most outstanding bright red flowers. These blooms can reach a diameter of 2 inches (5 centimeters). They appear on the ends of the many stems and when in full bloom, they give the most spectacular display.
This small plant only reaches a height of 6 inches (10 cm) but the profusion of stems means that it can form a large cluster. The stems have soft white bristles rather than sharp spines. This species looks fantastic when grown in a hanging basket.
8 Echinopsis huascha (Red torch)
When you see this cactus in flower, you’ll understand why it has the common name “red torch”.
The outstanding red flowers appear on the crown of the columnar stem and each stem can produce multiple flowers at the same time. The blooms can reach a length of 4 inches (10 cm) and a diameter of 3 inches (7.5 centimeters).
The bright green stems have a tendency to form tall clumps as they branch from the base. Each stem can reach a height of 3 feet (90 cm) and has only short spines.
9 Echinopsis mamillosa var. Kermesina
This small cactus plant will surprise you with its oversized flowers in a lovely rosy-red color. The flowers grow from areoles near the top of the plant. They can reach a length of 7 inches (18 centimeters) and a diameter of 3.1 inches (8 centimeters).
The globe-shaped stems of this species only reach a height of around 12 inches (30 cm) and a diameter of 3.1 inches (8 cm). They’re heavily ribbed and have a profusion of sharp yellow spines.
10 Ferocactus emoryi (Emory’s barrel cactus)
The large bright red flowers on this spine-covered cactus are an amazing sight to see. They’re funnel-shaped and can reach a diameter of 2.8 inches (7 cm). Commonly, they’ll appear in profusion on the top of the stem.
This is a cylindrical cactus that can reach a height of 8.2 feet in its native habitat. Each stem has a long and sharp central spine and up to 12 shorter radial spines. These are commonly so dense that they obscure the green of the stem itself.
11 Ferocactus latispinus (Devil’s tongue barrel)
This cactus is a little different in that it has bright red spines while the flowers can be rose or purple. The red spines give the plant a most attractive appearance. There is one wide central spine that can reach a length of 3 inches (7.5 cm).
This can be hooked on to the end. In addition, there are a further two or three narrower central spines and around 6 to 15 radial spines.
The stem of the plant is light green and spherical with numerous acute ribs. This can reach a diameter of 16 inches (40 cm).
12 Hatiora gaertneri (Easter cactus)
Many people would be familiar with the Easter cactus. It’s an epiphytic cactus that naturally grows on rocks and trees in tropical rainforests. It’s truly a magical sight to see when in full bloom. The funnel-shaped flowers grow from the ends of each stem and can reach a diameter of 3 inches (7.5 cm).
The stems branch readily and are usually flattened and segmented. This makes this species perfect for growing in a hanging basket.
13 Matucana haynei
This small cactus has the loveliest red tubular flowers that grow from the crown of the prickly stem. These blooms can reach a length of 3.6 inches (9 cm) and a diameter of 1.6 inches (4 cm).
The stem is spherical and covered with a dense matt of white, pale brown or gray spines. It can reach a diameter of 12 inches (30 cm).
14 Nopalea cochenillifera (Cochineal nopal)
Being part of the Opuntioideae sub-family, this species has paddle-like stems and can grow into a large cactus tree in its native habitat.
The flowers are quite unusual in that they grow from globular stem sections at the tips of paddle stems or cladodes. The blooms are bright red in color and can be up to 3 inches (7.5 cm) long. They can be quite profuse during the blooming season.
15 Parodia penicillata
This pretty little cactus puts on the most amazing display when it flowers. The funnel-shaped red blooms appear on the crown of the stem in large numbers, usually in summer.
The stem of the plant starts out being spherical and becomes cylindrical as it grows. It can reach a height of 20 inches (50 cm). The bright green stem is heavily ribbed and has numerous golden spines growing from the areoles on the ribs.