How to Get Cactus to Bloom?

The average indoor cactus will likely never bloom because it’s hard to mimic its natural environment. With that said, if you’re dedicated and patient enough, you may be able to get your cactus to bloom.

When you look at the details, it’s not that complicated outside of caring for the cactus all year round, especially during their growing season.

So how exactly can you get a cactus in California to bloom? The answer boils down to picking up on the tiny details related to their care requirements. For instance, you should know precisely when to water the plant, control the humidity down to the exact percentage, and, if possible, recreate the desert ecology for the cactus to feel at home.

It’s no rocket science, and all you have to do is nail the basics for a cactus to bloom. There is no magic supplement, fertilizer, or device to get a cactus to bloom. While cacti are low-maintenance plants, the care requirements become more unforgiving and challenging when you want to get them to bloom. Let’s go over the details.

Cacti Basic Care RequirementsDetails
Temperature70°F to 95+°F
Humidity50% or higher
Watering frequencyOnce every two weeks in the summer, once every three weeks in the fall, and once every four weeks in winter.
Soil TypeThree parts potting soil, two parts perlite, and three parts sand


It’s no secret that cacti species spend several hours in the day soaking up the sunlight. This is why you should keep your cactus in an outdoor environment with plenty of indirect sunlight. If you’re afraid of pests and frost damage, you can keep the cactus in a south-facing window.

Your goal is to provide the cactus with at least six hours of sunlight. If this isn’t possible where you live, you may use a grow light to help the cactus get enough light. A grow light can be especially useful in the winter months.

Cacti have a tendency to give warning signs that they’re not getting adequate light. A cactus plant that doesn’t receive enough sunlight will show slight discoloration in its leaves with stretchy foliage in a bid to reach the sunlight. On the other hand, it is possible for an overzealous grower to keep their cactus under the scorching sun for too long.

This can lead to burn damage that can develop dark spots on the cactus’s skin. Sunburn can also cause cactus plants to become discolored. Fortunately, fixing this issue is as simple as relocating the plant to a spot that receives less sunlight.


Cacti plants are known for being incredibly drought resilient thanks to their unique water management tactics. But you shouldn’t let their reputation get in the way of establishing healthy watering habits.

To determine when it’s time to water your cactus, you can feel the topsoil by inserting your finger. If the soil feels dry, you should water it. If it feels wet to the touch, you should wait a few days before watering the cactus.

Most people won’t have to water their cacti more than once a week. The main problem most cactus owners run into is overeating. If you keep your cactus in a pot that doesn’t have enough drainage holes, its roots will become vulnerable to root rot. This can cause permanent damage to your cactus; even if you can revive it, you probably won’t see it bloom.

Signs of root rot include:

  • Soft and lumpy foliage
  • Discoloration around the soft spots
  • The top of the plant begins to yellow and sag

The easiest way to prevent overwatering is to find a pot with enough drainage holes at the bottom.


To maximize the chances of blooming your cacti, you should provide it with fertilizer for an extra boost. Just make sure to find a product that has the right dosage of nutrients for blooming. For this reason, you should use a fertilizer specially designed for cacti species. You can also get a general-purpose fertilizer as long as it has a low nitrogen content and a high phosphorus ratio.

Most growers will only need to fertilize their cactus once or twice a year. The best time to fertilize a cactus is during the growing season, such as the spring and summer months.

My Cactus is Blooming – Now What Do I Do?

Now that you got your cactus to bloom, your work is far from over. You must keep taking care of the plant just like you did before it bloomed. The fact that you got your plant to bloom means that you are providing the cactus with the ideal conditions for it to thrive.

Keep providing it with the same level of care to keep the cactus blooming continuously and for longer periods of time.

Why is My Cactus not Blooming?

The time of year may be a key reason why your cacti may not be blooming. Cacti will go through a dormant period during the fall and winter months due to a drop in temperature. It is natural for cacti to slow their growth rate during this season. For obvious reasons, your cactus will not bloom during the dormant months.

But it would help if you keep providing your cactus with optimal care, including the appropriate amount of light and water, to stay healthy for the growing seasons. Just be extra careful with the watering frequency because the cactus is more vulnerable to root rot.

As long as you take the necessary precautions, such as providing the cactus with the ideal soil and drainage holes, you should be able to prevent root rot.

Find the Right Kind of Cactus

Although every cactus can bloom if it’s mature enough, some species are more likely than others to bloom. We recommend picking any one of the following cacti because they can bloom more easily:

  • Spiny cacti
  • Christmas cactus
  • Easter Cactus
  • Pincushion cactus
  • Dwarf cactus
  • Hedgehog cactus
  • Notocactus
  • Lobivia cacti

It may take several years, to the tune of 20 to 30 years, for some cacti variants to achieve maturity and bloom. And achieving maturity won’t guarantee that the cactus will bloom unless you provide it with the perfect environment.

To maximize your chances of blooming cacti species, you should buy one on the verge of blooming. Then, you must provide it with the right lighting, watering frequency, and keeping pests away throughout the various seasons.

How Long Do I Have to Wait for a Cactus to Bloom?

It can take several years for some cacti species to bloom. This is why it makes sense to buy a species that has bloomed in the same environment. With that said, just because a cactus species has bloomed once doesn’t guarantee that it will bloom again.

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Wrapping Up

As mentioned earlier, there is no magic supplement or tool that can help your cactus in California to bloom. You must care for it properly throughout the year for several years until the plant becomes mature enough to bloom.

All cacti can bloom, so it doesn’t matter which species you have as long as you’ve seen it bloom before. As long as you provide it with the optimal amount of sunlight and water, the cactus will have everything it needs to bloom when the time is right.

Remember, it can take several years for cacti to bloom if they’re not growing in their natural habitat. But if you keep at it, you should see the cactus bloom eventually. Let us know what steps you took to get your cacti to bloom, and we may update this space with more information.

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