Many different things can affect the desert cactus bloom cycle such as too much heat, overwatering and not enough sunlight. We want to make sure that non-flowering isn’t an issue for you. We have written this article to help educate you on how often a cactus plant should bloom and the signs you should look out for!
For a cactus to bloom, it needs to be properly cared for.
Pretty much most types of cacti have the ability to flower. However, some won’t bloom until they are around 30 years old! Others will flower earlier but it all depends on the type of cactus you own.
So how often do cactus bloom? Well, on average a cactus plant will flower at least once a year. The most popular time of year a cactus will flower is in spring. This is because weather conditions are near perfect!
Read on to discover more about how often a cactus blooms, alternatively we think you might also enjoy reading the following:
- How to make cactus grow faster
- Cactus care tips for beginners
- Why is my cactus floppy?
- Why is my cactus turning black?
- How to take care of small cactus
When do cactus bloom?
We have discussed above that the most common time of year for a cacti plant to bloom is in the spring. However, we can often see cactus bloom in the summer, at night and a very special type of cactus will even bloom in December!
These wonderful flowers that bloom on a cactus can come in lots of different colours, all as strikingly beautiful as the other.
As we’ve mentioned above, most cactus will bloom in the spring after having rested all winter. Springtime provides us with light rain and warmer weather, the perfect environment for a cactus to flower.
Because weathers aren’t excessively hot yet, it is the ideal temperature for a cactus to begin blooming. Even if we are having a particularly dry spring, the cactus plant will use the water stored in its stems (cactuses are actually succulents, a type of plant that stores excessive amounts of water in its stems and leaves).
In North America, it’s common for your plant to bloom as early as March, with April being the prime flowering time. In May, you’ll begin to see the prickly pear cactus spring to life.
Although most cacti bloom in spring it’s not uncommon for larger types of cactus to flower in the hot summer. This is because they can store more water in their stems and even in the scorching weather, it is easier for them to flower because of this.
Most commonly, it is the Saguaros cactus that is known to bloom in the summertime. These beautiful plants can grow up to 60 feet and won’t actually begin flowering until 40 years old. Yikes! This tree-like cactus species is native to the Sonoran Desert in Arizona.
Another cactus type that is a summer bloomer is the barrel cactus species. These plants can flower in a range of wonderful colours such as yellow and orange.
Some cacti plants often bloom at night, which allows the plant during the hot season to conserve water. A good example of a cactus plant that blooms at night is the Peruvian cactus. Its trumpet-shaped flower typically has a sweet fragrance and a diameter of around five inches.
We’ve discovered how often do cactus bloom, but we’ve only gone into detail in regards to the desert cactus. The Christmas cactus (Schlumbergera) is a tropical plant and actually blooms in, well you guessed it, during the festive season.
Unlike the desert cactus, when preparing to bloom the Christmas cactus needs to be kept in darkness for at least 12 hours a day! The best way to do this is to put the plant in a room each night that doesn’t get used and you should really begin doing this in September if you want your houseplant to bloom in December.
The Christmas cactus also likes lower temperatures than the desert cactus – although this doesn’t mean it enjoys freezing temperatures. In September / October time you should be moving your plant away from a warm window sill, to a cooler porch area of around 55 F. This is the ideal climate for the plant to begin to bud. Any temperature hotter than 80 F, then you may begin to see the Christmas cactus leaves falling off.
Do all cactus bloom?
Cactuses are flowering plants. What this means is that once a cactus is mature enough it will have the ability to bloom. However, different things can affect this such as lighting, fertilizer, temperature and watering.
The age your cactus meets maturity often depends on the size. As mentioned above, some cactus types won’t begin to bloom until they are 40 years old.
It is also very common for indoor cacti not to flower. This is because they don’t get the right balance between light and dark. So, unfortunately, if any of you are houseplant lovers waiting for your cactus to flower, you may be waiting a while.
That being said, you can always try to move your cactus plant outdoors to try and maintain a good balance between light and dark.
Types of flowering cactus
As mentioned above ALL types of cactus have the ability to flower. But the below are some popular types of flowering cactus that we just love.
The barrel cactus is characterized by its cylinder shape and ribbed edges and can grow up to 10 feet. Although during the winter months the desert plant can look mundane, when it comes to flowering in the summer you’ll be delighted with it’s bright and stunning flowers.
These bright and wonderful flowers attract bees to pollinate and can come in shades of red, orange and yellow.
Easter Lily Cactus
The Easter lily cactus is by far one of the most beautiful flowering cactus plants around! This fast-growing group of cactus varies in size from small globular plants to large branching specimens.
The Easter lily cactus can take up to 4 years to start flowering (this is relatively fast compared to other species) and the stunning flowers can be so large, it dwarfs the cactus in comparison! The flowers are often seen to have white or pink leaves with a yellow centre.
Prickly Pear Cactus
The prickly pear cactus can be identified by its broad, flat branching pads and are often called paddle cactus. This type of cactus plant can grow between 6 – 12 inches tall and some types of prickly pear cactus will produce edible fruits.
Depending on the type of prickly pear cactus, flowers can come in all different colours such as yellow, pink, red and purple.
How often do cactus bloom? Conclusion
We hope that you now have a better understanding on how often a cactus blooms. Although the question itself is very vague as there are so many types of cactus, we’ve tried our best to answer as appropriately as possible.
So to conclude, how often do cactus bloom? We can safely say that most types of mature cactus will bloom once a year and this is commonly in spring.
We have also touched upon other topics such as when do cactus bloom? Do all cacti bloom? And types of flowering cactus.
We hope that this has been insightful and that you found the answer you were looking for. Looking for something else? Wondering why cactus turn white? or why your cactus is squishy? Or maybe you’re sat at home thinking you have a shrinking cactus? Leave a comment and we’ll be happy to get back to you with what you’re looking for.
Succulent Care Guide is a blogging website about all things succulents and cactus. All the advice we give is from our own experience with our plants but it is always a learning journey. If you have any great advice or tips on cactuses and it’s bloom cycle, feel free to comment! We are always eager to learn some new information.