When caring for cacti, we sometimes find a dead bloom or two. Or, they might encourage root rot after a long, hard rain. So, to save the plant, deadheading the cactus flowers might be necessary. Deadheading is the process by which you remove flowers before they shed seeds and petals.
Once seeds appear, blooms slow down or stop growing altogether. Removing the spent flowers may help to “trick” a Cactus into producing more flowers, as is the case with the Christmas Cactus.
Step by Step for Deadheading Cactus Flowers
Knowing how to remove dead flowers from the cactus will not only encourage more blooms, but will also keep the plant happy, healthy, and thriving. When you perform deadheading, the energy that would’ve been for the seeds goes into producing new growth.
Removing dead flowers from a cactus should only happen one or two times during the growing season.
Don’t fuss with the plant in its dormancy period. It’s advisable to remove only a few flowers at a time. Plus, exercise the utmost caution when handling cacti to prevent painful punctures and stabbing from its spiny needles.
1. Look for Seeds: Flowering Buds
Before removing anything, inspect the plant for seeds that might reproduce. They will likely be in a seed pod near the flowering area, around the stem, or inside the flower.
If they’re maturing, leave them alone. Likewise, if there are any buds, forming fruit or other healthy flowers, avoid removing these.
Only determine to remove ones that look dead, dry, and faded. This is also a good time to inspect the plant for pests and diseases along with any other signs of struggle and deficiency. Take note of any softness in the skin, discoloration, or shrinkage as these could be signs of root rot in progress.
2. Cut off The Top of the Cactus
Wear a pair of thick gloves and, if needed, a long-sleeved shirt. It will be all the better if you can pull the flowers off with a gentle tug from the stem.
But you may have to shear away an inch or two from the uppermost part of the cactus or on the spines. Use a clean, sterilized, and dry pair of scissors or shears and clip off the least amount possible.
If you find any fresh growing flower buds, try to avoid damaging or insuring them. Be careful cutting because these succulents will keep remnants of any injuries, bruising and trauma on its body for the entirety of its lifespan. If damaged enough, no new growth will appear there either.
3. Prune Any Other Foliage
If you notice any other dead or damaged areas around the cacti, remove them with scissors or shears as well. This way, you can clean up the plant’s aesthetics while helping to promote healthier growth and more blooms. In the event you suspect root rot, clear away the soil and inspect to see if the roots are brown or black.
4. Give a Little Water to Cacti
So long as the soil isn’t already moist or you know you haven’t watered recently, pour a small amount of water into its containers to soak the cactus. This will help this desert plant bloom more and heal well from the cutting.
During this step, it’s a good idea to ensure the cactus plant has prime soil conditions. This includes its current resting location along with well-draining substances like rocks, sand, and peat moss.
5. Place It in Sunlight
Depending on the species and variety you have, ensure the cactus sits in a location with bright sunlight, ensuring it only gets a few hours of direct light per day.
Too much sunshine, especially on the clipped areas, may burn cacti. This can result in other problems you don’t want and force the plant to struggle.
Should Dead Flowers Be Removed?
Yes, dead flowers should be removed because they are dead and have no more purpose. Removing them can help the plant to be healthier. I’ve had many different types of flowers for years and removing the dead flowers will also help the growth.
Dead flowers are bad for the plant and removing them is a good idea. Plants need light, water, and food to grow and it’s important to monitor your plants so if you notice a dead flower quickly remove it from the rest of the plant, or else it will brown that part of the plant as well.
Why Do Cactus Flowers Die So Quickly?
Cactus flowers die very quickly because people overwater them. Mainly in a small pot because of how fast they grow and people like to have the biggest plants possible, so they overwater them which causes flower death.
So if you see that your cactus flowers die very quickly make sure to get a bigger pot or find a way to water them less.
In general, you shouldn’t have to remove dead flowers too often from cacti. But deadheading like this can be good to promote better health and the development of more cactus flowers. If you do this, make sure you at least wear a pair of gloves and be smart about the ones you choose.
Avoid cutting away a flower that’s healthy and refrain from destroying a budding bloom. Also, be mindful of the skin and body of the plant so as not to hurt it.
So, if you can, pull off a bloom with your fingers but don’t force it off if it won’t do it on its own. Following these simple steps will ensure your cactus thrives for decades while providing timeless beauty.