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Lifesaver Cactus

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  • Unique Appearance
  • Light Preference/Tolerated (Bright Direct Light, Bright Indirect Light)
  • Below Average Watering Needs
  • Cactus Soil
  • Mature Height 6-8 Inches

The Lifesaver Cactus (Huernia zebrina) is a low-maintenance plant that is actually not a cactus at all, but a member of the milkweed family. This succulent has thick, green stems lined with soft teeth, giving it its cactus-like appearance. The Lifesaver Cactus gets its name from its unique star-shaped blooms, with five zebra-striped petals surrounding a plump rubbery circular center that looks like a Lifesaver candy. This plant’s low water needs and minimal maintenance make it a great windowsill plant or addition to a succulent planter. 

Best Locations For Growing Lifesaver Cactus

Similar to cacti and succulents, the Lifesaver Cactus thrives in bright light, though it should be protected from intense afternoon light in the summer. Place this plant in a bright kitchen windowsill, add it to a succulent or cactus planter for a different texture, or hang it in a window planter. Like other members of the milkweed family, the Lifesaver Cactus contains latex and is therefore considered toxic. Place it out of reach of children and pets. 

Lifesaver Cactus Sunlight Requirements

Lifesaver Cactus will do best when placed in bright direct to bright indirect light. These plants can handle a bit of direct sunlight and do well in east- and west-facing windows. In west- and south-facing windows, provide a bit of shade in the afternoon to prevent the stems from burning. When exposed to direct sunlight, the green stems can turn a reddish-brown color. When placed too far from a light source, Lifesaver Cactus tends to stretch, losing its compact shape. 

Lifesaver Cactus Care

The most common issue that can be encountered with the Lifesaver Cactus is yellowing stems due to improper watering or lighting. This succulent prefers to remain in a small pot, limiting the amount of excess soil surrounding its roots and allowing the plant to dry out in between waterings. The Lifesaver Cactus will need to be repotted rarely, preferring to stay in the same pot for years. If repotting is necessary, choose a pot with drainage holes that is only slightly larger than the previous. Use a cactus soil when repotting. 

Watering Lifesaver Cactus

The Lifesaver Cactus stores water in its plump green stems, enabling it to go quite some time before needing water. Allow the soil to dry out completely before watering deeply until water is coming out the drainage holes and the soil is retaining water. Like other succulents, the Lifesaver’s thick stems will become soft and bendable when the plant is ready for water as it taps into the water stored in its stems. The frequency of water will depend on how much light the Lifesaver Cactus gets, though it will likely need water about once every couple of weeks to a month in the spring and summer. Taper back on watering in the winter as the plant slows its growth.

Feeding Lifesaver Cactus

The Lifesaver Cactus benefits from fertilizer in the spring and summer months while the plant is actively growing. Once a month, add a liquid cactus or succulent fertilizer into your watering routine, taking care to follow dilution instructions to avoid damaging the plant’s roots. Fertilizing is not necessary in the winter as the plant’s growth rate will be slowed.

Lifesaver Cactus Information

Light Exposure: Bright Direct Light, Bright Indirect Light
Care Requirements: Easy
Watering Requirements: Below Average - Let the soil dry completely, then, water deeply.
Pet Friendly: No
Kid Friendly: No
Air Purifier: Moderate
Habit: Upright
Growth Rate: Slow
Mature Height: 6-8 inches
Mature Spread: 6 inches
Flowering: Yes
Flower Color(s): Brown, Red
Flower Shade/Description: Burgundy and Tan Star-Shaped Flowers
Fragrant: Yes
Foliage Type:
Foliage Color(s): Green
Foliage Description: Deeply Green
Temperature: 50° - 80°F (10° - 27°C)
Humidity: Below Average to Average (20% - 60%)
Common Name: Lifesaver Cactus
Other Name(s): Lifesaver Cactus
Scientific Name: Huernia insigniflora
Plant Type: House Plant

Container Sizes

Please Note: The pictures below are to give a general representation of the different container sizes. The actual size/ages of plants are estimates and will vary based on; type of plant, time of year, last pruning & many other factors.

4.5 Pot

4.5" Pot
 Also Known As:
   4.5" Container

 Plant Age:
   ~ 6 months
 Plant Size:
   ~ 3"-6"
 Pot Size:
   ~ 4.5"H x 3.75"W
   1.42 quarts

Quart Pot

Quart Pot
 Also Known As:

 Plant Age:
   ~ 6 months - 1 year
 Plant Size:
   ~ 4"-8"
 Pot Size:
   ~ 4.75"H x 4.5"W
   1.50 quarts

2.5 Quart

2.5 Quart
 Also Known As:
   2.5 Quart Pot

 Plant Age:
   ~ 1 - 2 years old
 Plant Size:
   ~ 8"-12"
 Pot Size:
   ~ 6.5"H x 6.5"W
   2.20-2.30 quarts

#1 Pot

#1 Pot
 Also Known As:
   #1 Container
    1 Gallon
 Plant Age:
   ~ 1 - 2 years old
 Plant Size:
   ~ 10"-14"
 Pot Size:
   ~ 7"H x 7.75"W
   2.26-3.73 quarts

#2 Pot

#2 Pot
 Also Known As:
   #2 Container
    2 Gallon
 Plant Age:
   ~ 1.5 - 3 years old
 Plant Size:
   ~ 12"-18"
 Pot Size:
   ~ 9.5"H x 9.5"W
   1.19-1.76 gallons

#3 Pot

#3 Pot
 Also Known As:
   #3 Container
    3 Gallon
 Plant Age:
   ~ 2 - 4 years old
 Plant Size:
   ~ 12"-30"
 Pot Size:
   ~9.5"H x 11"W
   2.32-2.76 gallons

For more detailed information, please click here.

Plant Addicts Guarantee (Included On All Plant Orders)

Plant Addicts always guarantees your plant(s) will arrive happy & healthy. However, plant(s) are being shipped through the mail & sometimes accidents happen. If the plant is dead, has dried out roots or the incorrect item was shipped, just notify Plant Addicts within 3 days upon delivery. We may ask for pictures but will try to make it as easy as possible for you. Please note, plant(s) with damaged branches or wilted leaves will not qualify for this guarantee. Plants are very resilient and will rebound quickly when cared for correctly. 

For more information on how to care for your new plants, please click on our guide below.

Guide: How to Care for Your New Plant(s)

Plant Addicts Warranty - 1 Year (Extra Purchase Required)

We encourage all plant lovers to purchase the Plant Addicts Warranty, whether you're a new gardener or an expert. There are many variables outside of anyone's control that can cause a plant to die. Hungry animals, drought, poor soil conditions, over watering, diseases & pests are all good examples of what can cause plants to die. The Plant Addicts Warranty is a 1 year warranty protecting you from all of the unknowns and will replace your plant if something were to happen to it.

The warranty is purchased on a per plant basis and must be purchased at the same time as the plant(s). We will cover 100% of the price of the plant, but the warranty does not cover shipping costs. SImply let us know if your plant has died within 1 year of receiving it and we will get you a new one shipped out as soon as possible (depending on the time of the year and availability). We may ask for photos for documentation purposes, but we try to make the process as easy as possible.

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Guarantee and Warranty

Plant Shipping

Below are some factors we consider when determining when to ship the plants depending on the timing of the order.

Winter to Early Spring

We ship only when it's warm enough to plant in your growing zone.
Sometimes plants aren't completely ready to sell and ship in early spring. We will wait until the plants are ready before shipping so you don't get a subpar product.
For Southern plants we will be able to ship much earlier than plants coming from our northern nursery.


If there is extreme heat we may delay shipping for a week or several weeks.
We review what areas the plants are traveling through as well as your location.

Fall into Winter

We’ll ship plants out all the way up to the end of the fall planting season!


Get your order in early to reserve your plants for Spring planting!

Once your plant is shipped you’ll receive an automated email with tracking information. 

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Planter Shipping

Standard Colors: 2-3 business days

Special Order Colors: 8 weeks - this is due to the planter being custom made with the color(s) of your choice

Please Note: On special orders there can not be any cancellations