How often does a Cactus produce flowers?
A complete and helpful guide!

Are you a cactus lover who wants to how often your cactus will bloom and produce flowers? You have come to the right place! We will discuss the main factors that decide their flowering period.

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Jimena Bolívar

March 30, 2021


How often does a Cactus produce flowers? A complete and helpful guide! Thumbnail

Introduction

Cacti are a great addition to your plant collection, mainly because of their unique growing pattern and ability to withstand harsh environments. Almost all cacti have the ability to produce flowers. Their flowers are gorgeous and vibrant, ranging from the brightest yellow to the most glistening red.

The miraculous blooming of cacti requires them to be in desert-like conditions and even then, they will only flower at their seasonal time. So if you are a cactus lover like me, and are anxiously waiting for your cactus to bloom, let me tell you how much you need to wait and what you should be doing in the meanwhile.

Cacti follow an annual cycle of blooming; most producing their flowers once a year, usually in the spring season. They start producing flowers once they are mature and are provided with the optimum conditions of heat, water, and light. Some varieties become mature within a few years of germination, while some can take up to 50 years.

How often does a cactus bloom?

As stated above, most cacti produce flowers once a year. To ensure that they bloom at their natural time, they need to follow their natural growth cycle. This means that they need to be dormant during the winter and wake up in the spring to produce buds.

Cactus producing small colourful buds

Different cacti produce flowers are different times of the year. They are listed below:

1. Cacti that bloom in spring:

These cacti will remain dormant in the harsh winter years and during this time, they require minimum water and light. At the start of February, just before the spring season comes back with all its glory, these cacti will start to produce buds. At this time, it will be safe to start watering them and providing them with adequate light. Most cacti fall under this category and will exhibit their gorgeous flowers between February and June.

2. Cacti that bloom in summer:

Some cacti will start flowering when the temperature rises to an extreme. This category has cacti that are larger and can store an adequate quantity of water in their stems. Thus, they can withstand the harsh temperatures that are usually achieved in the deserts.

Summer bloomers usually bloom between the months of May and July. Cacti that bloom in the summers include Saguaro, the tree-like cactus that can grow to be up to 60 feet tall, and the barrel cactus.

3. Cacti that bloom at night:

While most cacti put up their flower show in the daytime, some cacti are night bloomers. These cacti usually bloom at night and their flowers wither within one day. Producing flowers at night can help these cacti in conserving water.

These cacti include the cereus cactus, which produces a gorgeous large white flower, and the Peruvian cactus. They usually grow tall and their flowers are a sight to behold.

a cactus with a large beautiful white flower

4. Cacti that bloom in winter:

These cacti are famous around the festive season and include the Christmas cactus and the Thanksgiving cactus. As the name suggests, these cacti will flower during the winter months of November and December. However, you need to take care of them for months before their actual blooming time to ensure that they produce flowers at their natural time.

To know more about how to take care of your Christmas cactus, click here.

Christmas and Thanksgiving Cacti

Use them as gifts!

Christmas and Thanksgiving cacti make a wonderful gift for anyone who loves gardening. They are also a good gift to pass down in generations since they stick around for many years.

How long does it take for a cactus to start blooming?

The cacti will only start to bloom once they have reached maturity even if you are providing them with all the love and care they deserve. The age of maturity varies between different species of cacti, where some mature in a few years while others may take more than 50 years to mature.

Columnar Cacti:

These cacti take a long time before they reach maturity and finally start producing flowers. It may take 30-40 years if they are grown from seeds. An easy trick is to graft your cactus and grow them from a branch of an already flowering cactus. This will result in the cactus root blooming as soon as its flowering season arrives.

a small branch of a cactus that has been separated for grafting

Round Cacti:

These cacti are the best if you want them to be a colorful addition to your home or garden. They take around 3 or 4 years to reach maturity and their flowers bloom in different bright colors which make them look really attractive. An example is the pincushion cactus which is seen commonly in many homes.

a small round pincushion cactus

Short-Stem Cacti:

These cacti are also a good choice if you want to see them flower within a few years. They usually mature within 5 years. Some common examples are the hedgehog cactus and the Easter lily cactus.

a cactus with multiple stems

How long will the cactus flowers last?

Cactus flowers do not bloom for a long time throughout the year. Some species’ flowers, for example, those that only bloom at night wither within a one-day period while others may stick around for 6 weeks. But any more than 6 weeks is not usually seen so you should behold their beauty while it lasts.

Factors that influence the blooming of cactus flowers:

As mentioned above, the cactus will only produce flowers if it is provided with the right conditions. If you do not take care of the amount of light, water, and heat they are provided with, the cactus will not bloom even after reaching maturity.

Here are some things that might help you to make sure that your cactus blooms properly:

  • During winters, the cactus must stay in a period of dormancy. This means that you should provide it with minimal water and light.
  • During winters, make sure that your cactus stays in a cool place. If you bring it indoors, make sure you do not put it in a heated place. The ideal temperature for this stage is 55-60 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • When the temperature starts to rise in spring, do not expose the cactus to long periods of direct sunlight. Gradually make it used to the sun by slowly increasing its outdoor time.

Adequate sunlight

Rotate your cactus plant!

Keep rotating your plant so it can receive adequate sunlight from all directions. Excessive sunlight on one part may result in sunburn.

  • Choose a good quality of soil for your cactus.
  • A good fertilizer at this stage should be chosen to help your cactus produce flowers. A good fertilizer should have a minimal amount of nitrogen and a large amount of phosphorus. Click here to buy a good fertilizer for your cactus. Here is another option.
  • During blooming season, make sure to increase the amount of water your cactus receives. Water it once or twice a week.

Overwatering

Do not overwater your cactus!

Over-watering may harm your cactus more than under-watering. Water it only when the top layer of soil is completely dry. Keep it in a drainage tray and empty it to make sure the cactus does not stay in soggy soil.

To learn more about how to take care of your cactus, click here for a quick guide.

Conclusion

A cactus does not require a lot of your time to thrive. You need to water it once in a while and take care of its light intake. Even though all cacti are flowering plants, they only bloom once a year after maturing. You need to keep them dormant for the winter months before they can start blooming in the spring or summer. Their flowering depends on various factors listed above. Even though cacti do not look like they need much attention, many factors can disrupt their flowering time. To know more interesting facts about succulents, read other articles on our website. Hope we answered your query!

Jimena Bolívar Picture

By Jimena Bolívar

Easy Succulents Founder

My name is Jimena and I'm the the founder of Easy Succulents! I'm fascinated by this wonderful plants and I want to share with the world everything I know about them!

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Jimena Bolívar Picture

Jimena Bolívar

Easy Succulents Founder

My name is Jimena and I'm the the founder of Easy Succulents! I'm fascinated by this wonderful plants and I want to share with the world everything I know about them!

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