Although getting a cactus to bloom isn’t the ultimate goal for most growers, seeing these spiky succulents bloom is still icing on the cake. The wait can be long, as some cactus species take dozens of years to mature, but getting your cactus to bloom is a real horticultural feat.
Here are some tips to encourage your cactus to bloom.
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 bloom indoors.
Choose a medium-sized pot with a drainage hole for your cactus and give it some room to grow. Be sure to use well-drained soil. Like other succulents, cacti don’t like too much water.
During the active growing season—which typically lasts from spring to fall—water your cactus regularly. Wait until the soil is completely dry before watering again. Reduce watering during freezing weather.
Cacti need rest to bloom. The dormant period is usually two to four months if the temperature is below 15°C. During this time, withhold water or fertilizer and place the pot in a cool location with plenty of sunlight.
Place the cactus in a bright location where it gets plenty of sunlight. Most cacti require at least five hours of bright light. Therefore, use artificial light if it is too dark indoors. Succulents that don’t get enough light will turn pale and most likely won’t bloom.