Knitting projects

How to knit a cactus!

I was after some greenery for my market stall, and while browsing for plastic plants (which I didn’t really want), I hit upon the idea of knitting some for myself. This way, I would avoid more plastic in my life and get a chance to use some of the green wool that I always seem to have floating around in my stash! I also liked that they would showcase my knitted work as well as being a cool decoration for my stall. I call that win-win.

I browsed a few patterns to work out roughly how to start, and found one that showed how to knit them as a square or rectangle, then gather the top and bottom so they become a ball. No shaping required, which means it’s easier to do some cool patterns on the surface to make them look realistic (in a knitted cactus kind of way!).


I’ve since become a bit addicted to knitting cacti! So much fun to do, and they make great gifts for those who aren’t gifted in the gardening department. They’ve also become a way for me to use the teeny tiny scraps of fabric and thread that I end up with after sewing as I use these to stuff the cacti which works a treat. So, they really are green 🙂

If you’d like to try making your own, you’ll need a small amount of green-ish wool, some stuffing and either a purchased crochet/knitted flower or coloured yarn to knit/crochet your own.

Start by casting on around 30-40 stitches in 8ply wool on 4mm needles. Choose a stitch, like seed stitch (alternating plain/purl stitches) or a prominent rib (like that pictured below). Knit for around 30-40 rows (for a round cactus) or more if you’d prefer an elongated shape.

Once you have the desired length, don’t cast off – cut the wool tail about 10-15 cm long, thread it through a wool needle, then thread it through the stitches on the knitting needle and pull tight. Sew a few stitches to fasten, then sew up the side of the cacti. When you get to the base, stuff the cactus until it’s nice and plump and cactus shaped. Then sew up the base, gathering in the cast-on edge so it looks similar to the top. Now you can sew your knitted/crochet flower on top. Done! Pop it in a pot or even a tea cup and admire your work.


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