Spiky houseplants add interest to interior decor. They aren’t your typical indoor plants, so they make great conversation starters. Most houseplants with spikes will be in the succulent or cacti family. These two plant families are closely related, and plants from either family will be low-maintenance and easy to grow.
Some of the most common spiky houseplants are Aloe Vera and Agave, grown for their medicinal and culinary value, respectively. Bunny Ear Cactus, Dracaena, Ladyfinger Cactus, Yucca, and Snake Plant are other common houseplants with spiky leaves.
Check out these 11 great spiky houseplants for you to grow and add a few to your indoor plant collection.
1. Aloe Vera (Aloe barbadensis)
Aloe is one of the most popular spiky houseplants. It’s grown for its beauty, easy-care nature, and medicinal uses. The interior gel of the spiky leaves is used to relieve minor skin irritations and burns. The gel is also used to create a juice that promotes healthy skin, relieves constipation, and improves liver function.
Aloe vera needs to be grown in loose soil and in a location that provides at least 6-hours of direct sunlight each day. Water only when the top inch of soil is dry with a small amount of water.
Agave is a succulent native to regions with hot, dry climates. The spiky plant stores water in its’ leaves, and the sharp spikes are meant to deter predators from using the leaves as a water source.
Plant agave in gritty soil and place the plant in a full sun location. Feed the houseplant once each in spring and summer with balanced plant food.
3. Bunny Ear Cactus(Opuntia microdasys)
This cute spiky houseplant resembles the head and ears of a bunny rabbit. It’s a low-maintenance plant that is ideal for growing as a houseplant. It will reach 18-24 inches tall and about 3-feet wide when mature. It will produce 2-inch wide creamy yellow flowers in summer, followed by globular purple fruits.
Grow in a clay pot and sandy soil. Place the Bunny Ear Cactus in full sun and a warm location. Allow the top inch of soil to dry out between waterings and then soak the soil thoroughly.
4. Dragon Tree (Dracaena marginata)
This is an attractive plant with green sword-like, red-edged leaves. Native to Madagascar, the eye-catching spiky houseplant is easy to care for, drought-tolerant, and nearly indestructible.
Dragon Tree is a slow-growing plant that will reach around 6-feet tall when grown in a pot as a houseplant. It will produce tiny white flowers in the spring if grown in a full sun location.
5. Fairy Castle Cactus (Acanthocereus tetragonus)
This cactus got its name because its stems are said to look like a castle’s turrets. Personally, I think the comparison is a bit of a stretch, but it still makes it a unique conversation starter. This is a slow-growing cactus, but it will reach up to 6-feet when mature.
Fairy Castle Cactus will produce blooms on top of the stems under perfect growing conditions. The flowers are large and white and usually will not occur until the plant is ten years old.
6. Haworthia (Haworthia attenuata)
Haworthias are small succulents with tightly packed spiky leaves. It’s a miniature succulent that only grows 3-5 inches tall, so they’re perfect for desks or windowsills, and they will thrive in direct sunlight or indirect light.
These are easy-care spiky houseplants that will only need to be watered every other week.
7. Ladyfinger Cactus (Mammillaria elongata)
The long, finger-like growths of this spiky houseplant give it its common name. Place ladyfinger cactus into a well-draining potting mix designed for succulents – in a sunny spot. Once the soil is completely dry, give it just a bit of water every few weeks.
The Ladyfinger cactus flowers are large and bright pink, with a white to yellow center, and they bloom profusely in spring. The mature plant will be about 8-inches tall and can have a spread of 3-feet.
8. Pincushion Cacti (Mammillaria)
Native to the hot and dry regions of the United States, this spiky houseplant is small, round, and covered with prickly spines. In spring, the sharp spines produce beautiful pink or yellow flowers.
Pincushion cacti will be 6-inches tall and equally as wide. Plant Pincushion cactus plants in loose, rocky soil that is nutrient-rich for best results. Keep in a location where the air is dry, free from humidity, and the temperature remains between50-70F.
9. Snake Plant (Sansevieria trifasciata)
Also known as the Mother-In-Law’s Tongue, this succulent has upright spiky leaves that can reach 4-feet tall when the plant is mature. It will produce flower stems with a single white bloom resembling a hooded cobra mid-summer.
Snake Plant can tolerate bright and low light conditions, so the plant will do well in just about any room in the home. Water sparingly once a week.
10. Star Cactus
The star cactus is a small plant with long slender spiky branches. When the spiky houseplant is three years old, it will bloom from mid to late summer. The blooms are large and shaped like a star. The fragrance of the bloom is not as enjoyable as the sight of the bloom.
The bloom odor is meant to attract flies that can pollinate the plant. The flower’s interior is webbed, which traps the legs of the flies. As they struggle, a pollen packet attached to the insect’s leg is released, and they move on to the next flower.
A yucca plant is slow-growing, drought-tolerant, pest-resistant, and easy to propagate.
This spiky houseplant prefers temperatures between 65-75F, direct sunlight, and very little water. Fertilize once per month during spring and summer. Yucca plants are mildly toxic, so keep them out of reach of children, cats, and dogs.