6 Practical Tips to Make Cacti Bloom

Cacti allow us to relax with care, but you want to make them bloom. Follow our tips to keep them alive.
6 Practical Tips to Make Cacti Bloom

Last update: 10 March, 2023

Making cacti bloom implies commitment. Although they don’t demand rigorous attention, these plants “demand” obedience in terms of soil preparation and an adequate environment.

In addition, flowering is an act that demands serenity, because, unlike what happens with other species, it doesn’t occur so quickly in the case of cacti. Nor is it continuous, and it often doesn’t last lant.

Cacti stand out for their appearance and their wide range of purposes, among which Research in Phytotherapy highlights their uses in fodder, food, medicine, and as an ornamental plant. It’s the last of these uses we’d like to focus on here.

Does flowing occur in all cactus varieties? When does it happen? Let’s find out.

“Not all cacti flower”: Fact or fiction?

Cacti belong to the family Cactaceae of the kingdom Plantae and are characterized by their spiny appearance softened with large, colorful, solitary flowers. The Encyclopedia Britannica details that all genera of the species possess a floral tube with petal-like and other leaf-like structures.

Because of their rough appearance, some believe that the plant never flowers. However, an article published by the Secretariat of Culture, Recreation, and Sports of Bogota demystifies this belief.

The text clarifies that all cacti bloom, only that some types do so only when they reach a height of 2 meters or add many years. After the first annual flowering, at the same time, the buds sprout again.

There are more than 200 genera and 2500 species of cacti.

What can cause the flowering of cacti to stagnate?

The age of the plant is the first cause of stagnation for its flowering, so it’s important to know if it is young or adult, says Tropical Nature. They argue that, in particular, cacti experience different maturation times, marked by the species.

While some take more than 10 years to bloom, others do it in a year and a half. And if it grows in columns, it’s possible that the delay is greater.

Another cause that affects flowering are diseases. Cacti can become infected with aphids, mealybugs, and fungi that delay or definitively prevent the birth of flowers. If they reach buds, the pests will cause them to wilt, adds Tropical Nature.

Factors such as low light and substrate deficiency also affect the prosperity of the plant, as well as the time of year depending on the species. That is, even if you focus on providing fertilizer if it’s not their blooming season, it simply won’t happen.

Flor roja de cactus.
All cacti can bloom, but the fact will depend on the internal and external conditions of the plant.

Recommendations for making a cactus bloom

Instead of growing and waiting for flowering, the easiest way to enjoy a flowering plant is simply to buy a flowering cactus. Overall, to experience the process, the first thing to do is to find out what variety of Cactaceae you have at home.

For example, Cereus open their petals at dawn, Selenicereus open about 2 hours before midnight, and Epiphyllum opens after midnight. However, the flowers are short-lived and then fall off, details the Monaco Nature Encyclopedia.

To make cacti bloom, it’s advisable to put the following tips into practice.

1. Plant your catus in the appropriate pot

To promote the flowering of cacti, take advantage of clay pots. This material is porous and helps to aerate the substrate and accelerate drying between waterings.

When planting, choose pots that are not too large, so as not to accumulate water. Small pots are better, as long as the roots do not come out of the drainage holes. As soon as these organs begin to show through the drainage holes, consider transplanting.

2. Fertilize at the appropriate time

Fertilizing cacti is important, but this activity should be done a couple of months before flowering. Ideally, this should be done in the spring and summer.

When you do it, verify that the fertilizer is specific for cacti or that it contains a high dose of potassium. Agroproductores claims that this mineral is related to the activation of more than 50 enzymes essential for plant development and is involved in controlling the amount of water that enters and leaves the plant cells.

3. Let cacti bask in the sun to make them bloom

Cacti love the sun and, therefore, the light. When plants are grown indoors, flowering is difficult, as they require a location where they receive as much light as possible.

During spring and summer it is fine to take them outdoors for sun, but before leaving them outdoors you need to acclimatize them. In the winter, it’s important to leave the Cactaceae indoors, in a light spot and where it feels warm at night.

4. Respect the space between watering

The hydration of a cactus is determined by how dry the soil is and the ambient heat. The greater the dryness and temperature, the more water it demands. HOwever, don’t overuse watering, so as not to waterlog it.

On the other hand, space out the water supply during autumn and winter, since this is the passive phase of cacti and they have the water reserve stored in the previous months.

5. Provide the proper nutrients

Both in soil and in pots, cacti need a special soil to flourish. It’s recommended that the substrate is porous, does not hinder drainage, and contributes to the oxygenation of the roots. Likewise, you must clean it of weeds and pathogens.

Monografías Botánicas states that the substrate can be organic, inorganic, or mixed – specifically, those with granulometry, pH, and water retention suitable for cacti. They propose the following options as valid:

  • Gravel
  • Perlite
  • Vermiculite
  • Silica sand
  • Coconut fiber
  • Volcanic rock
  • Expanded clay
  • Blonde and black peat
  • Washed siliceous river sand
Hacer florecer un cactus Santa Rita.
The Santa Rita cactus flower, or Opuntia santarita.

6. Allow your cacti to rest to make them bloom

Cactus varieties rest in winter and, if you want them to flower, don’t disturb their rest. How can you help them? By moving them to a luminous area, isolating them from the cold, and restricting the maximum watering to a couple of times a month.

You’ve done everything to make cacti bloom but it hasn’t: what next?

If you comply with all the above guidelines but you still don’t see your cactus bloom, what remains is to be patient. Many of these plants respond to slow growth – so much so, that it can take years before the first flower sprouts.

In the same way, when acquiring a Cactaceae, ask the sales clerk all the details about the specimen, to know from the first moment how long it would take to bloom, the care that would support this purpose, and if it’s a variety that features momentary flowering. This way, you will be prepared to contemplate this natural spectacle when it occurs.

All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.