7 Cacti Motivational Posters

About 7 years ago I became friends with a few ladies from the southwest and I will never forget the day they asked me what my favorite cactus was. In that moment I stared at these three lovely ladies blankly, with truly no answer. They posed the question as if asking, “what’s your favorite color?”

They each proceeded to list different cacti and why they enjoyed them, and I blinked a few times and nodded to assure my new friends I was listening.

Now that we have the experience of our southwest road trip, I totally get it. Cacti are so cool. A picture, story, or book can’t do them all justice. The way they adapt to survive, work with their unique ecosystem, and each look so different is awing.

So to get you excited about cacti, here are seven motivational posters as told by cacti.

The Salt Stories: Cacti Motivational Posters
So without any further ado, 7 life lessons from cacti.


The Salt Stories: Cacti Motivational Posters

The Saguaro is a very slow-growing cactus. A 10-year-old plant might only be 1.5 inches tall. Often, branches don’t begin to appear until the saguaro reaches 50 to 70 years of age and it begins to produce flowers only after 35 years of age. Saguaro can grow to be between 40-60 feet tall and have an average lifespan of 150 – 175 years. So what the majestic saguaro teaches us is it’s okay to grow slowly overtime. Be patient with yourself when it comes to big change and bearing fruit, it all comes in the right season.


The Salt Stories: Cacti Motivational PostersEverything about their makeup supports survival in the desert and conservation of its most precious resource, water. Barrel cactus lack leaves and this helps in reducing transpiration and conserving water. The plant has sharp and long thorns that keep animals away from eating it and extracting the stored water in its stem. This is why it is sometimes known as the wild or fierce cactus. It stores water in its thick, fleshy stem where the predators cannot reach because it is covered with thorns. A waxy surface covers the stem to minimize transpiration and water loss. The pleated stem expands when the water is plenty and shrinks when the water decreases. Like the barrel cactus, let’s recognize what’s most important and protect it in whatever way necessary.


The Salt Stories: Cacti Motivational Posters

Cacti are flowering plants, so every kind of cactus is capable of blooming when it is mature. When and how often a cactus plant blooms depends on its species and conditions. Some cacti don’t bloom until they are more than 30 years old, some bloom every year, and others rarely. Cacti bloom beautifully, like no one’s watching, no need to impress or parade.


The Salt Stories: Cacti Motivational Posters

The organ pipe is one of Arizona’s most distinctive cacti, forming large clusters of 30 foot high stems, branching from the base. They are monstrous cacti, that make the onlooker wonder how a plant this big was ever possible in such a desolate land. Like the organ pipe, we have to make the most of an unforgiving environment. To take the seasons as they come and grow wide, deep, and tall.



The Salt Stories: Cacti Motivational Posters

Prickly pear cactus are found in all of the deserts of the American Southwest, with different species having adapted to different locale and elevation ranges. Most require course, well-drained soil in dry, rocky flats or slopes. But some prefer mountain pinyon/juniper forests, while others require steep, rocky slopes in mountain foothills. These cacti have found a niche that little else can inhabit and has become one of the most prolific cacti of the southwest. You too can thrive in places where others only see desolation. When you drive quickly past the desert, all you see is arid land full of nothingness, but when you stop and walk among the thorns and rocks the desert comes alive. Let’s learn to thrive without abundance.


The Salt Stories: Cacti Motivational Posters

By 200 years old, the saguaro cactus has reached its full height, reaching upwards of 45 feet tall. Saguaro and their distinctive arms are a southwest icon. Their arms generally bend upward and some saguaros have been seen with dozens of arms. Why each saguaro grows a different number of arms and in different patterns remains one of the desert’s mysteries. So, like the mighty saguaro, when you don’t know what to do, grow another arm. Well most of us can’t grow another arm, so instead, maybe we can ask for a hand. Reach out and ask for help.


The Salt Stories: Cacti Motivational Posters

Beyond the cacti’s prickly exterior, they are one of the world’s most cooperative plants. Often tiny, young cacti grow under the protection of a “nurse tree”, most often a palo verde, ironwood or mesquite tree. Let’s take a page from these cacti, and work with those around us, as mentors, partners, and friends.


The Salt Stories: Cacti Motivational Posters

The cholla from the hot deserts of Arizona and California, have a unique fuzzy look. Their green stems are covered by a very dense mass of sharp, easily detached spines, that serve to protect the cactus from predators. Dare to be different, no matter how fuzzy, silly, goofy or odd that makes you look. Cacti as a group have thrived because they are so unique. But even each cactus variety is so shockingly different, the cholla is no exception. These differences are what make survival in the desert possible, but also makes them look pretty wacky.


For more quick takes check out Kelly at This Aint the Lyceum.



    • We can thank the open road between Arizona and Texas for these goofy posters. My favorite is the extra arm one… my husband just laughed.

  1. I love the wisdom you can draw from cacti! We don’t have many in Virginia – there’s a Mexican restaurant near our house with some prickly pear cacti that one of my 3-year-olds decided to whack really hard the one time we went there, and now every time we pass it the kids make fun of her… Poor kid 😛 But we specifically told her NOT to touch it!!!

    • We each learn in our own ways. Some of us through experience. It was quite an adventure teaching our two year old about the awesomness, but also the pokiness of all the cacti on our trip.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *