Most Florida cactus plants produce flat stems and no leaves. However, they have characteristics that distinguish them from one another. The prickly pear cactus, for instance, produces flowers while a Christmas cactus might drop berries. Others, like the triangle cactus, only bloom at night. Florida's warm climate is the home to different species of cactus, some of which you can find in nurseries for home growth.
The Christmas cactus is a rain forest native that needs more moisture and shade than desert cacti. This plant doesn't have leaves, but it produces flowers that bloom at the tip of flat stems that look like foliage. It grows in soil that's rich and moist. It does well as a container plant.
Prickly pear is an edible cactus with nine species native to Florida, devil's tongue being one. This cactus grows 18 inches tall with a wide spread. Its flat stems look like leaves and produce 3 inch long spines, as well as smaller ones called "glochids." The bright yellow prickly pear flowers bloom one at a time for several weeks, each lasting only one day.
Triangle cactus grows in Florida, producing a large night-blooming flower that attracts hummingbird moths. Spines sprout from the cactus' leaf-like stems. The plant also produces an edible sweet red fruit. Triangle cactus tolerates freezing temperatures down to 20 degrees F.
This climbing cactus has no spines and produces large fragrant flowers that bloom for a night in the summer. According to the Cornell University Cooperative Extension Service, night-blooming cereus needs little care to thrive and will spread like a vine up to 40 feet long. To control its propagation, it's best to grow it in a container.
Emma Watkins writes on finance, fitness and gardening. Her articles and essays have appeared in "Writer's Digest," "The Writer," "From House to Home," "Big Apple Parent" and other online and print venues. Watkins holds a Master of Arts in psychology.