Until recently, walking up the steps of our porch wasn’t terribly inspiring. It offered a terrific view of the peeling beige paint of the neighboring apartment building. So I came up with a solution: Opuntia subulata. These tall cacti—from Cactus Jungle—now greet us as we walk up the stairs. And they grow fast, like six inches a year, which is warp-speed in the cactus world.
The pots—which are a matte black when dry—are incredibly lightweight. Super easy for me to carry up the stairs. Once they were in the desired location I just filled the cleverly-designed reservoirs with sand and the pots became quite sturdy. They’re made by Crescent Planters.
I used cacti because I didn’t want anything that required frequent watering. Not just out of pure laziness, but also because I didn’t want to return from a trip to find dead plants on our porch. That’s not a concern with these guys—they just need water every 3 or 4 weeks.
Amy John Headley is a landscape designer based in San Francisco.