Home Improvement Expert Danny Lipford

How To Encourage Cactus To Bloom


How do I encourage my indoor cactus plant to bloom? It was blooming when I bought it, but it hasn’t bloomed since. -Beth

Desert cacti (the spiny kind) are a challenge to get to bloom indoors, simply because we can’t provide as much light as a sun-drenched desert. In addition to light, two other important factors for blooming are:

  • Age: Some plants take years to mature. The best way to check this is to buy one that’s already blooming, as you did.
  • Dormancy: Many desert cacti bloom in response to a cool, dry, dormant period. During the winter, you should reduce watering to only about once a month—just enough to keep the plant from shriveling up—and move your cactus to a cool spot, around 50° F, that has plenty of sunlight.

Also, keep in mind these tips for year-round cactus care:

  • Indoor cacti do best in a sunroom or south-facing windowsill. They’ll receive the most sunlight, and the air around windows is generally cooler in winter than the interior of a room.
  • During the growing season (spring and summer), your cactus needs maximum light and heat. Put your plant in direct sunlight, and turn it occasionally for even light exposure.
  • It will also need more water during the growing season. Allow the top 2” of soil to dry out before watering the plant thoroughly until it runs out the bottom (empty the drainage tray). Imagine a sudden desert rainstorm that soon dries in the sun, so never leave your plant in soggy soil.
  • Fertilize cacti only in the spring and early summer, using a cactus-specific fertilizer or a highly diluted fertilizer lower in nitrogen and higher in phosphorus and potassium. Overfeeding will not make your cactus bloom!
  • Repot your cactus using a potting mix designed for cacti and succulents. Don’t water your cactus for a week after repotting.


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11 Comments on “How To Encourage Cactus To Bloom”

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  1. Angela Says:
    March 8th, 2012 at 11:26 pm

    I’m loking for the name of the cactus featured in the photo above on your site. I recently purchased one without a label and have been looking for the name of this cactus.

  2. Shirley Taylor Says:
    September 23rd, 2012 at 12:50 pm

    I am also looking for the name of that cactus featured in the photo above on your site. I have one identical, but bloom on top died and I now have a new cactus growing out of the side of the old one and another new one growing out of the top of the new one. The two new ones have roots growing out of their sides going in every direction. Do I break them off and repot or leave alone? No new red top on any new or old.

  3. TeeJay Says:
    August 18th, 2013 at 2:16 pm

    Shirley, did you ever get an answer to your question? I have the exact thing happening now.

  4. Kris H. Says:
    April 16th, 2014 at 10:41 am

    I as well am wondering about the name of the cactus in the photo. Also, I have two cactus of that variety growing very close together in the same pot. Is there danger to the cactus’ if I separate and re-pot them?

  5. Aunt York Says:
    June 5th, 2014 at 3:55 pm

    The plant is called a Moon Cactus. They come in different colors, but pink is the most popular.

    Jesus watch over you and keep you safe and happy always.

    Aunt York

  6. Kris H. Says:
    June 6th, 2014 at 4:09 pm

    I have two moon cactus’ side by side in the same pot. Used cactus mulch to transplant. The blooms are beautiful! Water thoroughly every two weeks with “SCHULTZ” cactus plus. I’m amazed at how nice these plants are doing. (I live in Oregon)

    God bless, one and all.

    Kris H.

  7. monika freudenberg Says:
    June 26th, 2014 at 7:01 pm

    I have a 8ft. spiny catus .it needs a cleaning. how do I do it .it can not be moved

  8. Aunt York Says:
    June 27th, 2014 at 11:44 am

    Hi Monika,
    Not sure if this will help, but this lady used a toothbrush.


    My Thorny cactus is relatively new to my house, but I imagine in time I’ll find out if this works for myself.

    Jesus watch over you and keep you safe and happy always.

    Aunt York

  9. Betty Says:
    September 16th, 2014 at 7:37 pm

    My indoor cactus has a large bloom and was top-heavy and broke off above the root system. Can it be repotted/saved?

  10. Luke Says:
    October 31st, 2014 at 2:00 am

    I believe the cactus in the picture is a grafted cactus. The cactus on top does not grow well by itself, and thus must be grafted to the green stem. I only know the colourful cactus by the name “Albino Cactus” which I’ve never really understood, perhaps due to the obvious lack of chlorophyll.

  11. sarah Says:
    November 21st, 2014 at 8:06 pm

    Hey I have a cactus I’m not to sure what one it is but it is a roundish shape quite small. I have had it for about a year and it hasnt grown at all.Small cactus’ have started to grow on the side and im not to sure if iI can take them off and grow them. Would I be able to root them and will this cactus flower at any point. Thanks :)

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