How To Encourage Cactus To Bloom

By: Julie Day

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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32 Comments on “How To Encourage Cactus To Bloom”

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  • Paula Payne Says:
    October 8th, 2018 at 4:09 pm

    I have a orchid cactus it has not bloomed in 3 years when it did I had one flower. It’s in a 10” pot and it’s huge. Petals leaves are 20” plus long hanging over pot. Any ideas it’s a beautiful red color. I read I should give it potash.
    Thank you

  • Chaudhry Riaz Ahmed Says:
    March 14th, 2018 at 11:55 pm

    Dear Sir/Madam,

    My nineteen years old old lady cactus has stopped flowering.
    My pot has no space for further growth. Should I split it every
    year. Would appreciate your suggestions.

  • Official Comment:

    Thomas Boni Says:
    March 13th, 2018 at 12:02 am

    Hi, Lenorah,
    We provide questions to Danny on a weekly basis. Like the website says, we’re not able to answer every question due to the high volume of mail we receive, but we sure do our best. 🙂
    Thanks so very much for watching, and for visiting

  • Lenorah Says:
    March 8th, 2018 at 11:37 am

    Questions, questions, questions, but never any answers. Where do I find the answers?

  • eva burke Says:
    November 13th, 2017 at 8:19 pm

    have a healthy Christmas cactus that I would like to have blooming at Christmas. what do I need to do to get it to bloom.

  • Donna Twaddle Says:
    November 1st, 2017 at 10:07 am

    I’ve had my Christmas cactus awhile. I heard you can both water and give your plant 2 tsp evaporated milk to make it bloom. Also do you know anything about spring cactuses . I’m also looking for a mother of thousand plant do you know where I can get one Thanks

  • Caroline Winklepleck Says:
    July 17th, 2017 at 1:05 pm

    My cacti was overwatered and the stem is yellowish and the flower part is still hard and bright. Is there a way to take the flower part and start a new cacti . Will it regrow a new one. please help

  • Linda Says:
    July 4th, 2017 at 12:39 pm

    Hi I have had this cactus for about a year the flower part dried out and I don’t know what to do with it. do I remove it or leave it on?
    and on the side of the plant it has grow a new one with roots going out of it do I remove it or leave it on?

  • Lucy Says:
    June 1st, 2017 at 7:45 pm

    I just got a cactus from a plant store near me! I’m very excited, and I really want it to bloom. I’d love to do these recommendations, but the plant store was very descriptive and identified my cactus as “cactus”. (I was being sarcastic there.) I don’t even know if my type of cactus will bloom at all! Can anyone help me?? Also where the heck can I find an area that is 50 degrees and still sunny in winter? It is basically never sunny in winter where I live. Trying to figure out my new no-name cactus, Thank you if you can help!

  • victoria talbert Says:
    April 18th, 2017 at 6:54 pm

    i have a” tarantula ” cactus for about 16 years it grows and grows never blooms no blooms what so ever . do they bloom? and if they do how do i make mine bloom? thanks

  • NicholasManny Says:
    April 18th, 2017 at 8:21 am

    I have a small prickly pear house cactus and it has grown one new pad but it has not bloomed ? It is 3 years old I think and it has not bloomed. Can any one predict when it will bloom?

  • Maxine Says:
    December 9th, 2016 at 11:39 am

    I never took much notice to my mothers cactus plants, but remember one flowing the most amazing flower, which took us all by surprise,after my mother passed away, I collected her plants, thought they might need some tlc. Repoting feeding etc, I placed them on my worktop under the fluorescent light which is on most times, after many years the bloom has started again hopefully out for Christmas Day.

    August 24th, 2016 at 8:00 pm

    I have a christmas cactus for about 5 yrs. When it was given to me as a gift it was blooming, but since then hasnt bloom again. What should I do? Thanks

  • Official Comment:

    Lindsay Hughes Says:
    June 20th, 2016 at 10:04 am

    Lesliq, I believe that is a Pink Moon Cactus featured in the photo.

  • Lesliq Says:
    June 18th, 2016 at 11:08 pm

    June 18,2016
    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.

  • Edward Jolly Says:
    May 14th, 2016 at 11:15 am

    I have a plant that I think is of the cactus family, however I do not know its name. I am trying to find out the name and how I should take care of it.
    Can I email you a picture,
    Thank You

  • neda Says:
    July 19th, 2015 at 12:14 pm

    I Want to know more about cactus. I have 10 kind of cactus but their growing is very low

  • Penny Says:
    July 13th, 2015 at 11:38 am

    Hi there, I have a cactus in bloom. What do I do with the flower when it is finished? Not sure if I pinch it off or just leave it.

  • Jan Young Says:
    June 7th, 2015 at 2:09 am

    For the past 2 years our spiny cactus has produced a big bud but it doesn’t open out. We watch it at night too in case it would only open at night but still no luck. Is there anything we can do to encourage it please?

  • Sharon Barker Says:
    May 22nd, 2015 at 8:10 pm

    I have a Christmas cactus and it started to bloom this year and then the flower never opened up. Now it has shriveled leafs on it and they feel cold. Live in Fargo, ND and could it possibly got too good and now trying to warm it up with a small lamp shining on it. Had it by patio doors all year and it gets direct sunlight. Waiting to hear your response. Thanks Sharon

  • Frances Davies Says:
    April 19th, 2015 at 10:26 am

    My cactus was bought for my Mother in 1958. It has never bloomed. it”s quite healthy looking and 1metre high. However, the bottom looks very dry and old in comparison to the top which looks fresh. I’m a very patient person and wait every spring with anticipaton of it flowering. Will it ever happen?

  • 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 🙂

  • 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.

  • 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?

  • 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

  • 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

  • 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.

  • 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

  • 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?

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

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How To Encourage Cactus To Bloom