Cactus plants are some of the most common plants you’ll come across.
In the first decade or so of the 21st century, this commonality did not lead to much fanfare, but as we progress into 2022, the cactus plant is one of the most common houseplants in the world.
Cactus plants are popular because they are aesthetically pleasing.
However, there are a lot of other features of a cactus plant that make it extremely popular.
One of these features is the cactus flower that sprouts out of a cactus plant.
Like all other plants, Cacti also can produce flowers. These flowers may be bright and varied in colors. We find after much research that not all species of cactus will produce flowers or fruit.
It’s clear that only cactus species that flower can produce fruits. Cacti species can have long growing seasons and very short dormancy, depending on the type of species.
Many Cactus species have different kinds of shapes, sizes, and colors. The circumstances of a cactus plant tend to define whether that cactus plant will flower or not.
In the article below, we will discuss the cactus flower and which species of cactus plants tend to flower.
Table of Contents
What is a Cactus Flower?
A cactus flower is just a flower that blooms from the cactus pad. These flowers eventually tend to go and form cactus fruits. The flowers of a cactus are generally large and showy.
The vibrant nature of these flowers is necessary so that they can attract pollinators to them. Cactus plants generally face extremely hardy conditions.
These hardy conditions are generally in places where there is not a great presence of animals. Thus, to attract animals or pollinating devices, the cactus flower must be big, vibrant, and obvious.
How Often Does a Cactus Flower Bloom?
All cacti are flowering plants; however, only a few under the right circumstances tend to produce flowers.
If a cactus grows in conditions with too much heat, too much water, and an inability to find the balance between light and darkness, it may find it difficult to create flowers.
Flowers tend to bloom when it’s the perfect time to do so.
All cactus plants can bloom. However, if you want your cactus plant to bloom perfectly, you will have to provide it with the right amount of sunlight, water, and nutrients.
Cactus plants are hardy, which means that they spend most of their effort surviving the desert’s tough conditions.
However, if you provide them with the right conditions, then they are more than likely to bloom into flowers.
The presence of a flower indicates that the cactus is doing well. The flowering frequency of a cactus plant can vary.
However, a typical cactus tends to bloom at least once a year. If there is a normal distribution of water, the flowering periods might be more frequent.
Some cacti species flower in spring when the weather conditions are near perfect. You will find that the most diverse spring-flowering cacti are species that you can observe generally occur in April.
There may also be a significant stretch into May with some species, as the species of the prickly pear cactus can bloom well into early May.
There are other species like Saguaros which can flower from mid-May to mid-June.
When do Cactus Plants Flower?
A significant number of the cactus plants look as if they’re meant to be kept in an aesthetic location. With the addition of flowers on a cactus plant, there is also greater beauty.
They come in a wide range of colors, and sometimes they can even have many colors on the same cactus plant.
The color of these plants is important as it helps you identify the period when they’re likely to bloom. Most cactus plants tend to flower in the springtime.
From April to May is when you will find most of your cactus plants flowering. However, some species will flower in early June, depending on their conditions.
The cactus plants, which bloom in the summer or early June, tend to bloom at night with cooler temperatures.
Cactus Flowers- Spring
Winter is a confusing time for cactus species as they’re likely to achieve a state of dormancy due to the cold.
When spring finally comes in, Cactus plants tend to leave some of that dormancy behind and instead manage to come back to life.
Spring weather also seems favorable for cactus plants as Spring often comes with light showers and warmer weather.
The balance of water and temperature spurs the cactus plant into action. Due to this, Cactus plants can start their flowering process again.
Spring is the perfect temperature for flowering. It’s not hot enough that the plant would have to enter survival mode, and thus, they can instead invest their resources in propagating their seeds instead.
Even if the water is not enough, you’ll find most cactus species putting on an impressive show of vibrant flowers.
Some parts of the world have a climate that can sustain the existence of these flowers well early into March-May, and other parts start a little late.
The prickly pear is one of the species that does its best in the early and late spring.
Cactus Flowers- Summer
As we’ve mentioned before, there are also those species that flower in spring. Summer presents higher temperatures that don’t support the flowering of all the cactus species.
The cacti plants, which are larger in size and ones which can generally store a greater amount of water, tend to bloom flowers during this time.
Their ability to access water and provide it for flowering in the summer heat allows this particular species to bloom in the summer.
Saguaros are an example of the type of species that flower in the summer. They are generally very tall and very old, which means they don’t flower until they’re at least 40 years old.
How Long Does a Cactus Flower Last?
The length of time that a cactus flower can last depends on several factors. The most important factor is the species of the plant.
Some plants can bloom easily and then die out in a day, while others have flowers that bloom until a period of six weeks.
The factors which inform how long the flower lasts are the water and the temperature that the flower receives during a period of bloom.
If you find a cactus plant flowering, it will do you well to take extra care of it.
How Does a Cactus Flower Smell?
Cactus flowers can smell differently depending on the species. There are sweet-smelling cactus flowers, cactus flowers that have a neutral smell, and conversely, cactus flowers that smell rank.
Some sweet-smelling cactus flowers smell like vanilla and honey. Examples include the Orchid cactus and Vanilla cactus.
More neutral cactus smells are that of the Christmas cactus. Additionally, the Carion cactus smells like decaying animals, so there are also cactus flowers that smell foul.
Is Cactus Flower Poisonous to Humans/Animals?
The pads and fruits of all cactus species under the genus Opuntia are edible for humans and animals. However, you may find that some cactus flowers have spines.
Most species of cactus are edible to human beings and animals. The only problem is that the spines may create complications in humans and animals.
However, the term poisonous is incorrect. The cactus flower is not poisonous to humans/animals in any way. The cactus flower may have some extract that causes diarrhea in humans and animals.
Thus, you may want to proceed carefully if you’re trying to eat it. If you find that your animal has taken a bite out of a cactus, a trip to the vet may be advisable.
Types of Cactus Flowers
There are many types of cactus flowers as there are flowering cacti species. We have listed a few species below:
Easter cactus or Rhipsalidopsis
The Easter cactus comes in a variety of bloom colors, and they are easy to bloom. The flowers have different colors, from orange to red to lavender and pink.
To flower, they need cooler temperatures and many hours without sunlight.
Garnet or Dwarf Cacti
This cactus can grow many flowers in the right conditions. They generally possess larger, more brightly colored flowers that are present on the lower stems.
Christmas cactus or Zygocactus
These cactus plants are found away from the cactus’ natural habitat of a desert. They’re found in rainforests, and it is important to water these cacti more than other types.
When it feels like they’re close to budding, you will have to monitor the water more frequently.
Pincushion cactus from the Mammillaria family
These cactus plants bear funnel-shaped flowers with a wide variety of colors like red, yellow, pink, white, and green.
The flowers will later develop into often red-colored fruits that resemble a berry or are more elongated.
Frequently Asked Question (FAQ)
Is it rare for a cactus to flower?
Cacti are plants that thrive in arid conditions. They are usually found in deserts or semi-desert areas. Some species even live in extreme temperatures.
Cacti are often considered to be drought resistant because they store water in their leaves. This allows them to survive droughts without dying. Cacti also produce flowers to attract pollinators.
However, some cacti can bloom at any time of year. In fact, some cacti flower every month. These include the Christmas cactus (Schlumbergera truncata), which blooms from December through February.
When a flower dies on a cactus can you plant the flower?
Flowers are beautiful, but they don’t last long. If you want to preserve them, you’ll need to store them properly. How do you do that?
There are many ways to preserve flowers. The simplest way is to freeze them. This method is effective because freezing slows down the rate at which water evaporates from the flower.
You can also dry flowers using a dehydrator or oven. Drying helps prevent mold growth and preserves the color of the petals.
But perhaps the best way to preserve flowers is by adding to their composition in a container. It’s better than drying out the air inside your home.
A big difference between dried flowers and fresh flowers is the smell of each one.
There are many cactus plants of the flowering variety. Cactus flowers are large, colorful, and wonderful.