How Often Does a Cactus Flower Bloom? (A Complete Guide)

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Cacti are not only easy-to-grow plants, but they are also quite attractive.

Their fleshy stems are covered in spines, and their blooms range from small and simple to complex and delicate.

However, how often does a cactus flower bloom?

While there are exceptions, most cactus flowers only bloom once a year. The blooming of a cactus plant will be determined by several factors, including its age and how well it is cared for.

Not all cactus plants will flower as often as others.

Many cactus plants will not bloom until they are mature enough. Some cactus may take several years to produce their first bloom.

While most cacti only bloom once a year, certain cactus species may flower twice in one season or even multiple times within the same growing period.

This is known as repeat blooming, and some plants will do so every few weeks until an extreme condition causes them to stop.

The frequency of a cactus flower blooming will vary from plant to plant, and several factors determine when it flowers, such as the following:

  • Temperature – Some cacti will flower more frequently when exposed to warmer temperatures. This is why many of them can be grown indoors and in greenhouses where it is warm year-round.
  • Light levels – Cactus flowers need a lot of sun, so they bloom most frequently when exposed to more light. If the cactus is not getting enough sunlight, it will become weak and stop blooming altogether.
  • Watering – A underwatered cactus plant will not flower as frequently or produce blooms of equal size and quality. However, a cactus plant that has been overwatered will suffer and may even rot or die.
  • Soil type – The soil in which the cactus is planted can affect how often it flowers because different types of soil have varying drainage capabilities. If the roots are not getting enough oxygen, they will suffocate and stop blooming.

When Do Cactus Flowers Bloom?

A cactus flower blooms once a year. Some species produce more than one bloom per year, whereas others only have one chance to blossom each year.

Cacti flowers can blossom at any time of the year. However, they generally flower during spring and summer when there is a lot more sunlight.

However, some cacti bloom at night or during the winter months.

Spring Blooming Cactus Plants

Most cactus plants flower in the spring. The blooming period lasts for several weeks, depending on the species of cactus.

A flower stem may have one to three flowers.

Flowering occurs only after the plant has reached maturity and is stimulated by longer days with warm sunlight.

Some cactus species that bloom in spring are:

  • Schlumbergera gaertneri (Easter Cactus)
  • Echinocereus coccineus (Scarlet Hedgehog Cactus)
  • Tephrocactus articulatus
  • Opuntia basilaris (Beavertail Cactus)
  • Opuntia humifusa (Eastern Prickly Pear)

Summer Blooming Cactus Plants

Summer is an active period for cactus plants. Some of the blooms are very showy, while others are barely noticeable.

Flowers usually open in the late morning and remain on the plant until they wilt or fall off naturally at nightfall.

A flower may have one to five flowers per stem, depending on the cacti species.

Some cactus species that bloom in summer are:

  • Coryphantha macromeris (Nipple Beehive Cactus)
  • Echinopsis oxygona
  • Thelocactus setispinus (Miniature Barrel Cactus)
  • Coryphantha ramillosa (Bunched Cory Cactus)
  • Aztekium ritteri (Peyotillo)

Winter Blooming Cactus Plants

Cactus plants that do flower during winter will usually produce buds between November and January.

The flowers of a winter flowering cactus appear in the late afternoon or evening on short stems from within special leaf-like bracts.

These emerge at the growing points where leaves have been produced during spring and summer.

The most common winter-blooming cactus is the Christmas cactus, which is native to Brazil.

This cactus will produce beautiful pink flowers around Christmas time. It is commonly used as a houseplant and will flower around two weeks after being cut.

Night Blooming Cactus Plants

There are many night-blooming cactus plants, but they all have one thing in common; their flowers only open at night.

The main reason for this is that the flowers only open at night when it’s’ cool, and they close in the morning as soon as it gets warm.

This helps protect them from damage by intense sun rays during daylight hours.

Some cacti that bloom at night are:

  • Epiphyllum oxypetalum (Dutchman’s Pipe Cactus)
  • Selenicereus anthocyanins (Fishbone Cactus)
  • Selenicereus costaricensis (Costa Rican Pitahaya)
  • Selenicereus grandiflorus (Queen of the Night)
  • Cereus hexagonus (Lady of the Night Cactus)

How Long Does a Cactus Take to Flower?

One thing to keep in mind is that cacti flower at different times, depending on the species. Some plants get their flowers after one to three years, but others can take up to thirty or more before they finally bloom.

If you have been growing your plant for less than five years and it still has not flowered, there isn’t any reason to worry.

Many types of cacti take a long time before they finally produce flowers, and it is perfectly normal for them not to flower in the first few years that you own them.

Cacti are unique plants that have striking flowers. Most people grow them because they look beautiful, but it can be frustrating if your plant doesn’t flower for a long time after you buy it.

There is no need to worry about this, though, as most cacti will eventually produce their flowers, so do not give up on your cactus if it does not flower for an extended period.

How Long Does It Take for a Cactus Flower to Bloom?

Cactus flowers take an average of ten to twelve weeks to bloom.

This timeframe typically starts when a cactus flower bud appears until it fully blooms into a beautiful flower.

While this is just an estimate, most cacti will produce their first flower buds in about six weeks and then begin producing additional ones every few months after that.

The time it takes for a cactus flower to bloom can vary significantly, though. Some blooms will only take about eight weeks, while others may not be ready until several months have passed by.

Cacti flowers also need certain conditions to blossom and produce seeds fully.

These plants are very resilient, but they need to be in well-draining soil and exposed to bright sunlight. This means that you should not expect cactus flowers to bloom outside of these conditions.

If the plant is growing inside, make sure it has access to plenty of light through a window or lamp. You can also use artificial lights to encourage blooming.

The following are some additional factors that may affect the timing of when cactus flowers bloom:

The Specific Type of Cactus Plant You Have

Some varieties will blossom faster than others, so it’s’ essential to look at this information on any new flower before deciding how long it will take to blossom.

The Plant’s Age

New cactus plants may not produce their first blooms for a few years, so older plants are more likely to have produced at least one flower by this point.

Where the Cactus Plant Is Growing

Cacti exposed to a warmer environment may produce flowers more quickly, while those in colder areas will take longer.

Does Every Cactus Bloom?

All cacti have the ability to bloom. Some bloom only once in their lifetime, while others are known to flower twice or more throughout the year.

Although all cacti bloom, the bloom is not always noticeable. The flower may be tiny or hidden behind leaves and spines; it may even lack petals.

Also, remember that some cactus flowers only last one day while others can live for two weeks at a time.

If a cactus isn’t flowering, it doesn’t necessarily mean something is wrong with the plant.

Some cacti won’t bloom for several years after being transplanted, especially if the cactus was recently moved from a greenhouse or conservatory.

Cacti in containers may not often flower because most blooms occur when plants are actively growing in warm weather and have adequate root space to expand.

Containers can’t accommodate this kind of growth, so they don’t produce abundant flowers frequently or at all.

How Do You Know When a Cactus Is Going to Flower?

One way to find out if your cactus will flower in the near future is by its color.

If you notice that it becomes more greenish, the chances are good that a bud has started growing on top of it and will soon open up into a gorgeous flower.

Of course, there are exceptions to this rule. Some types have white or yellow flowers, and these do not indicate that the cactus is about to flower.

In most cases, though, you will notice a pretty change of color when it comes time for your cactus to bloom again.

How Long Do Flowers on a Cactus Last?

Cactus flowers will only last a few days to two weeks at the most.

Some may even close up after just one day if they are pollinated or fall off on their own accord before this has happened.

Most blooms open in the early morning and fade by noon, but some varieties of cacti can stay open all day long as long as they receive enough sunlight.

The flowers of some varieties can last up to two weeks, but most will be gone within a few days at the very most.

If they are pollinated, some varieties of cacti will stay open all week long.

What Do I Do After My Cactus Blooms?

If you want to keep your cactus plants alive and healthy, the answer is simple: don’t do anything.

Once they’ve bloomed, leave them be until the flowers fade away completely.

Like with any plant life cycle event, some things can prolong their existence if done correctly.

Watering

Don’t water your cactus plant until the soil is completely dry.

They do not need their soil to be wet, and overwatering can lead to root rot or mold growth which will most likely kill off a healthy cactus in no time at all.

Light

Once your cactus flower has bloomed, make sure they get a lot of light.

Don’t place them in direct sunlight for hours on end because this can lead to sunburns, and it will kill off any new growth that may have been developing.

Just enough bright light is needed to keep the plant healthy and growing.

Temperature

If your cactus is placed in a room with cold drafts, it will not perform as well, and its growth may be stunted.

The ideal temperature for most cacti is between 20°C – 25°C (68°F – 77° F).

This way, they can grow to their full potential and bloom when they are ready.

Soil

If you want to keep your cactus healthy, they must be in soil that drains well.

Soil that retains water can lead to root rot and mold growth very quickly, so be sure the plant has enough drainage holes for the excess water.

Pests & Diseases

Cacti may not have many pests which are specifically harmful to them, but they can still get common houseplant pests like mealybugs and spider mites.

These bugs feed on the plant’s juices and will do a lot of damage if left untreated.

If you notice these insects crawling around your cactus, make sure to take care of it right away before things start getting out of hand.

Another potential threat is mold growth, particularly if the plant’s soil has excess water which cannot drain properly.

If you see any kind of fungus growing on your cactus leaves or stem, it needs to be removed immediately to not spread and kill off the plant entirely.

How Do You Get a Cactus to Bloom Again?

It can be pretty impressive when a cactus does flower, especially if you have never seen one before.

It is essential to know that the plant will not bloom again for several years once its blooms are finished, and they usually only do so every year or two, depending on the species.

To get a cactus to flower again, you need to mimic what it would do in the wild.

Cacti Need Watering Too!

It is important that after a cactus flowers, it dries out completely before being watered again.

If you water too quickly or are kept overly moist during this time, they can be susceptible to root fungi and other diseases.

When a cactus is waiting to flower again, you should keep it very dry and only water them enough, so they don’t shrivel up completely.

Cacti Need Sunlight!

It is important not to overwater your cactus or give them too much sunlight either, as this can cause their blooming cycle to slow down.

They need to be given enough sun to grow, but not too much that it causes them to stop blooming.

This is a delicate balance, and you should do some research on your specific species to determine how much sunlight they need.

Cacti Need Specific Soil!

You should also ensure that you are giving your cactus the right soil. They need to be able to drain properly, so they don’t get root rot and other issues.

A mixture of 50% potting soil, 25% sand or perlite, and 25% composted manure is a good idea for most species of cacti as long as you mix it all before putting it into the pot.

Finally, you need to keep in mind that most cacti are succulents and do not need extra water or sunlight during their resting period.

You should only really be giving them the right soil mixture and keeping them dry until they flower again.

If you want your cactus to bloom more often than this, it is best not to wait for it to flower and instead begin a new cycle by sharing some of the tips above.

Flowers on a Cactus vs. Flowers From Other Plants

Cactus flowers have adapted to survive in hot and dry conditions where other plants cannot.

Their petals often close up during the day and do not expand until late evening when the temperature lowers, and the sun is no longer as harsh.

Cactus flowers are often pollinated by bats, moths, or night-flying insects that can navigate during this period.

This allows them to avoid heat and direct sunlight, which would otherwise harm their delicate bodies if they were active in the day like other plants’ flowers tend to be.

Final Thoughts

Cacti are pretty easy to take care of. They require little water, sunlight, and attention, so you can leave them on the window sill for days without having to worry about killing them.

Cacti flower at various times throughout their life, but they generally bloom once a year in late spring-early summer when day length is long enough for them to produce flowers.

Cacti that flower in the summertime will have a much longer bloom period than those flowering in early spring or late fall since blooming depends on day length, and cactus may only store enough energy for one short burst of activity during their lifetime.