While getting a cactus to flower is not the ultimate goal for most growers, seeing these spiky succulents bloom is still the icing on the cake. The wait can be long as some cacti species take dozens of years to mature, but getting your cactus to flower is a real gardening feat.
Here are some tips to get your cactus blooming.
Choose a cactus that is comparatively easy to grow. Some cacti take more than 50 years to mature, but the Gymnocalycium, Parodia, Mammillaria and Notocactus cacti are easy to care for and can flower indoors.
Choose a medium-sized pot with a drainage hole for your cactus, then give it some room to grow. Be sure to use well-drained soil. Like other succulents, cacti don’t like too much water.
Water your cactus regularly during the active growing season, which usually lasts from spring through fall. Wait until the soil is completely dry to water again. Reduce watering in freezing cold weather.
Cacti need rest to bloom. The rest period usually lasts between two and four months when the temperature is below 15ºC. During this time, withhold water or fertilizer and place the pot in a cool spot with plenty of sunlight.
Place the cactus in a bright spot where it gets plenty of sun. Most cacti need at least five hours of bright light, so use artificial lights if it’s too dark indoors. Succulents that don’t get enough light will wither (turn pale) and most likely not bloom.
Try not to repot the cactus often as it doesn’t like being moved. Instead, prepare a larger pot first. If you need to move it from one pot to another, don’t water the cactus once the journey is complete.