The cactus is one of the most common plants that you might know of. In fact, the cactus doesn’t exactly look like a common plant.
There are no leaves and it grows with tiny spikes all over as well. This is a defense mechanism that the plant has created to avoid it from being eaten.
It is no secret that gardeners actually love the cacti plants. It’s not just because of the unique appearance of the plant, but also because the cacti has beautiful flowers.
In fact, one of the main reasons why so many people plant cacti all over their gardens is because they have amazing flowers.
When they are close to blooming, the entire garden will look colorful, and it is definitely one of those moments that you do not want to miss. But, how long is the show going to last? How long can you expect the cacti to be in bloom?
The length of time that a cactus flower tends to last is going to vary based primarily on the species of the plant itself. While there are certain plants that tend to bloom and die within a single day, you should know that there are several others that can bloom for more than six weeks.
There are several important factors that are going to determine just how long a cactus flower is going to last. One of those factors is the temperature in which the cactus flower grows.
Furthermore, the amount of water that the plant receives is also going to play an important role. In the following paragraphs, we will talk about the various kinds of factors that are going to impact the cactus flowers, and the steps that you can take to make them last as long as possible.
How Old Must Your Plant Be to Give Flowers?
The first thing you need to know is how old your plant must be to grow flowers. A cactus plant is only going to give flowers when it is completely mature and has been exposed to the right conditions.
Keep in mind that age is a critical factor for the plant’s ability to give off flowers. While there are some cactus plants that give off flowers when they are relatively young, you should know that there are others that might not give flowers for more than three decades!
Another thing that you should know is that the plants are unlikely to give off flowers, despite their age, if they haven’t been exposed to the right conditions.
Proper care is essential for a plant to give flowers. The right lighting conditions and sufficient amounts of fertilizer and watering are both necessary for the plant to grow.
Columnar cactus plants are likely to take several years before they bloom for the first time, especially if you grow them all the way from seeds.
But, if you are going to root a branch and use it from an already mature cactus plant, you should know that the newly propagated plant will continue to bloom even after it has been separated from its parent plant.
There are certain columnar cacti plants, such as the Saguaro, that have branches that are unable to root. It doesn’t matter how much you attempt, this just won’t happen.
Another option available to you is to grow a cacti species that have been grown from seed. However, in that case, the waiting period is going to be around 40 to 55 years before you see the first flower.
There are a few plants that are able to produce flowers within the first 10 to 20 years. For instance, the Peruvian cactus plant is a common example.
The short-term cactus that has mature stems will give you flowers after five years of germination. Another common example is the hedgehog cactus.
The hedgehog cactus gives off gorgeous red or pink flowers during the spring period. The easter lily cactus is also a common plant that falls into this category.
This plant creates phenomenal flowers that are shaped like a funnel. You will notice these flowers appearing after the germination process.
For the round cactus, you don’t need to wait for a longer period of time before the first flowers begin to appear. In fact, once the plant begins to sprout, you should know that flowers will begin to appear within three to four years only.
Even though most of the cactus plants are going to be round when they are still young, you should know that they will lengthen and turn into medium columnar plants over time.
When Do the Cactus Flowers Bloom?
Most of the cactus flowers are generally going to bloom in the spring. Their flowers open in the day, and the spring flowering season is going to begin from mid-February and will last all the way through June.
The peak usually lasts from the middle of March and will exist all the way through April. However, you should know that this period is going to vary based on the temperature and the rainfall.
Thespring bloom is actually going to be spectacular, because it can easily last for days or even weeks on end. Even if the rain is quite sparse during this period of time, most of the cactus plants are going to draw up stored water and then use it to show off the flowers.
The cactus plant usually draws up the stored water from deep within the ground, which is one of the reasons why it is able to flower even when there is little rain. The difference is that they won’t flower as much as they would when there is rainfall.
There is conclusive proof that wetter years tend to produce more flowers as well. The cactus show is going to continue throughout the spring.
There are certain species that are going to flower in May, and then you have the giant Saguaro in the June period. As mentioned, even though a vast majority of the cacti usually flower during the spring months, there are some that flower in the summer.
Most cacti plants that usually flower in the summer months are the ones that are bigger, and tend to store a great deal of water in the stems.
The water that is stored in the stems helps the plant bloom in a reliable fashion, even when the temperature is considerably high. For example, the Saguaro is known for its gorgeous flowers, and the plant blooms primarily from the month of June all the way through July.
These are massive plants and can reach heights of up to 60 feet. But, you should know that they are not going to flower until they are at least four decades old.
How Do You Create an Ideal Environment for the Cacti?
If you have cactus plants on your property, you should know that there are several different ways to create the right conditions for the plant to bloom.
As mentioned above, even if your plant has reached full maturity, the plant is unlikely to flower if you do not provide it with the right conditions.
As you might expect, all of the cactus plants require bright light, and the desert-like conditions need to be replicated if they are to bloom.
Furthermore, you should know that these plants also require a dormancy period, which usually happens in the winter months. This period is essential for the plant to prepare for its upcoming blossom.
Here are some important conditions that must be met for the plant to bloom.
The Suitable Temperature
For your cactus to give flowers, you have to get the temperature just right. Most cacti plants are going to enter a phase of dormancy during the cold winter months, and as soon as spring begins, they will begin to bloom. This is going to go all the way into the summer months.
Ideally, the best range of temperature that the plants need to give flowers lies between 55 and 60 degrees F. To get flowers, you have to make sure that the temperature remains the same for at least six weeks before the flowering season is about to begin.
During the dormancy period, if you are able to maintain this temperature as well, you should know that the plant is going to divert a considerable portion of its energy in creating the flower buds, which are going to bloom in the summer months.
If you are keeping the cacti in a greenhouse, it will be considerably easy for you to maintain the temperature.
During the spring months, you can slowly increase the temperature and monitor just how the plants respond. You have to be quite vigilant in this case because most cacti plants generally love the higher temperature and are going to cope very well when they are transitioned from an indoor setting to the outdoors. It primarily depends on the difference in temperature, however.
If you don’t want to move your plants outdoors, you might want to keep them near or in front of a south-facing window. This is the position where they are going to receive lots of sunlight, and as a result of that, they are going to give more flowers.
How Much Light Does the Cactus Need?
Another important question that many people ask is related to the amount of light that the plant needs. Just before the blooming season begins, you will want to bring your cacti indoors so that it is exposed to the darkness.
In fact, this might come as a surprise to most people, but your cactus needs at least 12 to 14 hours of darkness (uninterrupted) on a daily basis for at least eight weeks.
This is essential for the plants to bloom properly. This is what’s referred to as the period of dormancy, and in this period, the plant is focused on making the flower buds. In this period, you might want to expose the plant to a minimal amount of sunlight.
That’s perfectly fine, but you also have to make sure that the cycle of darkness is not interrupted on a regular basis.
Things are likely to change when you notice the buds appearing and the flowers blooming. You need to know that during the flowering period, these plants require at least six hours of direct sunlight, so keeping them out in the morning is a wise idea.
It’s not difficult because plenty of sunlight is available in most parts of the world where cacti usually bloom.
On a typical basis, you should know that the plant is likely to show signs of distress and problems when it is not receiving an appropriate amount of sunlight.
For instance, the flowers will likely begin to wilt and wither, and you may even notice a considerable amount of discoloration appearing on the spines of the plant.
Furthermore, you will notice that the plant will begin to stretch in the direction of the light. If you see any of these obvious signs, it might be a wise idea to relocate the plant.
Be gentle about it, and slowly move the plant to a position where it is going to be exposed to a greater amount of sunlight.
You should know that there are other requirements that must be met. For instance, even though the plant is incredibly tolerant to drought, it still requires a considerable amount of water during the flowering period.
You have to consider that these plants generally grow in a natural desert environment, and in their natural habitat, they receive most of the water during the monsoon season.
While the amount of water stored by the plant is usually sufficient, you have to make sure that the plant does not become exposed to incredibly harsh conditions. It is recommended that you check the potting mix from time to time and make sure that the plant has appropriate amounts of water.
Growing up with a mom who filled her home (inside and out) with all sorts of plants, Lisa got her start in gardening at a young age. Living now on her own with a home and yard full of plants (including an indoor greenhouse), she shares all the gardening tips she’s gained over the years.