All plant lovers know how exciting it is to watch beautiful flowers blooming and bringing magnificence to their garden.
Cacti plants can also produce the most gorgeous and huge flowers that are a sight to see. However, one concern for many gardeners is how long a cactus flower will last. Generally, most cactus flowers bloom and wither within 24 hours.
Flowering Cactus Species
One cacti species that is known for its big, bright yellow or orange cactus flower is the fishhook barrel cactus. Another cacti species that blooms pretty flowers is the Easter Lily Cactus. This cactus has night blooming flowers in shades of pink, pale red, lavender, and white.
When it comes to weather, most cactus flowering takes place in early spring and summer. For those who like rich, magenta flowers, the Hedgehog cactus blooms in spring. Whereas, another species, Ferocactus latispinus or Devil’s Tingue Barrel Cactus blooms in late fall.
Taking care of cacti plants in the flowering season
Ample morning sun and desert-like sunlight are essential to make a cactus bloom properly. The ideal temperature to encourage flowering in cacti is around 55 to 60 degrees. Maintaining this temperature at least 6 weeks prior to flowering season helps in proper blooming.
Usually, the plant will store enough water to fulfill its needs. With natural rainfalls, you do not need to give more water to the cactus plant. However, when the weather is dry, watering is one way to keep flowers healthy. Water the plant once or twice a week, but be careful not to overwater it.
Between waterings, you should allow the soil to completely dry as this is an essential measure to prevent root rot and other diseases.
Once the cacti plants have bloomed, the life of its flowers will depend on how you take care of the parent plant. Some cacti species are bound to wither within a day or two, but with good maintenance, some species will give you a beautiful display for weeks.
Should You Cut Off Dead Cactus Flowers?
Eventually, your cactus will lose its lovely flowers. What should you do with dead flowers? Most of the time, dead blooms will simply drop from the plant once they are lifeless.
So, you can just remove them once they fall to the ground. Sometimes, dead flowers do cling to the plant and rot away especially after the rainy season.
In case they don’t fall, pruning the dead cacti flower is another option. When it comes to some species like the Christmas Cactus, pruning the flowers actually makes the plant bushier and encourages more flower growth next year.
However, this should be done carefully as you can prick and hurt yourself from the plants spines. Remember to wear gloves, use a sharp knife or tool, and do not cause injury to the plant.
Why Do Cactus Flowers Close?
Some factors that result in opening or closing of cactus flowers are light and temperature. Many cactus flowers usually stay open from 12 a.m. until 4 pm when they start closing up.
At this time, light, as well as temperature, are at peak intensity. While many people do not know why the flowers close, one possible explanation is preventing the loss of water.
Cactus plants will only flower once they have fully matured. Some cacti plants can start flowering in a few years but others may take a minimum of 30 years to be mature enough to bloom. However, all cacti are flowering plants.
Some species are more prominent bloomers with more impressive flower displays. Even the tiny torch cactus from the U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 9 through 13 can bloom 3 inch flowers that are larger than the plant itself.
The only cactus plants that do not bloom are the ones that were not exposed to the ideal conditions. In case you have observed this, try to ensure that your plant is getting the right amount of light and dark, temperature, water, and also check the type of potting soil.
If you still see no flowers, you might have a cactus species that takes very long to bloom. For instance, the Saguaro has to be grown from seed and it takes 40-55 years until it first flowers.
If you’re a cactus lover and want your plant to bloom early, the Hedgehog cactus and Easter lily cactus will produce gorgeous flowers within five years of termination. The best way to ensure that your cactus blooms are to buy a healthy one that is already in bloom.