Why is my Hedgehog Cactus Closing its Flowers?

Why is my Hedgehog Cactus Closing its Flowers?

Why is my cactus not blooming, this question is asked very often? First of all, is your cactus old enough? With rebutias, for example, this often works with 2-year-old seedlings. But with a Mother-in-Law’s-Seat (Echinocereus engelmannii) you usually have to wait 40-50 years before the first flowers appear.

It’s likely that your cactus is closing its flowers because it needs more light. The hedgehog cactus requires at least four hours of direct sunlight a day. If you’ve recently moved your plant or brought it in from outside, and you are unsure of how much light it’s getting, then be sure to check the location where you have placed it—is there an exposed window nearby? Could you move your plant so that it can get more sun exposure?

Many cacti produce very pretty flowers which makes them popular in homes and dry gardens. However, you don’t always know how to make your cactus bloom, or under what conditions. This little guide to the flowering cactus will help you see things more clearly. 

What Can You Do Yourself to Ensure Abundant Bud Development?

First and foremost, a plant that doesn’t grow sufficiently won’t also produce many blooms, as flowers are often produced from the areoles of the previous year.
So make sure your plant has the right conditions so that it can enjoy exhibiting your flowers.
Look at the substrate; if you can’t recall the last time the succulent had new soil, it’s most likely time to repot it.

A Big Mistake That Is Made Again and Again:

In the living room, for instance, your cactus is constantly in the same spot both in the summer and the winter.
It consequently believes that all four seasons are the same here, has a minimum temperature of 20 degrees, and receive water every 14 days.

It would be better if we kept it there for at least 8 to 10 weeks over the winter at a temperature of 6 to 12 degrees.

The substrate must to be dry; avoid giving the poor creature any water during his protracted sleep.

In the cool winter climate, the water would remain in the ground for a very long time and could cause decay.

Which Cacti Bloom?

All cacti are capable of producing flowers, including the most commonly-grown plant in the United States. However, there are some types of cacti that tend to flower more easily than others. If you grow either a Echinopsis or a Rebutia species of cacti, you can expect to see flowers within one to two years. Other types of cacti will tend to take a bit longer to flower, and may never flower at all if their growing conditions are not ideal.

This is true for almost all plant species. For example, you can buy certain hybrid roses that have been specially bred so that they will bloom within one year from when they were planted. But if you were to try and grow an antique rose (a type of wild rose), it may take several years before it begins blooming. Some plants just don’t produce flowers or fruit as easily as others.

When people who are new to growing cacti want to know how soon they can expect their plants to begin flowering, this is often the first thing I tell them: keep your expectations realistic about what kind of cactus you have and how quickly it will begin producing flowers.

What Are the Flowering Periods of the Cactus?

Cacti generally produce flowers from April to September. After this period, they return to dormancy or wintering (October – March). This rest period is very important for the plant. Without this moment of calm, it will not be able to bloom.

How Do I Know If My Cactus Will Flower?

We have seen that the vast majority of cacti can flower in the wild. However, you have to check certain points (3) to be sure to see your cactus in bloom.

  1. Its species: not all species flower in the same conditions.
  2. Its maturity: the growth of a cactus will depend on its flowering
  3. The care provided: respecting wintering, providing soil and ideal maintenance conditions are essential for good cacti flowering

Methodology to Have a Pretty Flowering Cactus

  1. Put the cactus in winter (October to March): Although it is true that cacti need a great deal of light, they are not the only plants that can be placed in semi-darkness throughout the winter. Indeed, the cactus is not the only plant that blooms during the spring, but it is also possible to use a large part of the garden to rest during this period. In order to recreate natural conditions, you should place them in a darker corner of your house and avoid exposing them to direct light. In addition, you should keep them in a fairly cool and dry room (but not humid).

    Do not water your plant during this dormant period. This wintering period is essential to prepare for the flowering of the cactus. Watering your cactus during the winter greatly limits its chances of flowering. 
  2. Create a thermal shock (April): In order to trigger the flowering of your cactus, you must provide your plant with a thermal shock. In the hottest regions (such as in Arizona), the temperature can reach 50°C (122°F) during summer.

    When it is so hot, it is impossible for most plants to survive. The cactus has developed a solution to this problem: it shuts down its metabolism in the summer and goes into hibernation until the temperature cools down. But it cannot resist the thermal shock and therefore, when the temperature becomes too high, it is necessary to provide your plant with a thermal shock that announces the beginning of summer.
  3. Leave it in the light (April-September) and water it a little: When you bring your plant back from the cold and into the light, start with a few hours at first. Gradually increase the amount of time it spends in the sun, as well as its exposure to light indoors. You should also gradually start watering it more often.

    You shouldn’t water your cactus very often in the spring; this will make the plant limp. Wait until the soil is dry to water it again. If you want your cactus to bloom, remember to give it some water around mid-summer (but not too much).

This method of getting a cactus to flower is probably the easiest and least expensive. You just have to respect the cycles of the plant and know how to be patient. If you can’t, I can also offer you another solution.

My Cactus Does Not Flower: Why Should I Do This?

The reasons for not seeing your cacti bloom are many and it can become discouraging.

  • Too young to flower: your cactus may be too young and has not reached sexual maturity. In this case, check-in an encyclopedia to verify its species.
  • Too dark: Your habitat lacks natural light or has bad climatic conditions (too cold, frost, humidity, etc.): in this case, look at horticultural lamps to help you get cacti in bloom and in good health.
  • Bad soil: The soil is a determining element for the well-being of your plants. If you don’t see any improvement or your succulent looks in bad shape; add a mix of soil for cactus so that the soil is well draining.

A Cactus Greenhouse Can Help Your Succulents Bloom

A greenhouse is a structure with glass walls and roof that lets in sunlight. It’s used to protect plants from extreme weather conditions, for example, a cold winter. Greenhouses are normally used as a supplement for another type of shelter for plants, such as a conservatory or an open-air garden. A greenhouse can be built at any time of the year, but the best time to build is when the temperature is consistently above freezing at night and during the day for at least two weeks.

The installation of a cactus greenhouse, if you have the space, will help your plants flower. It is a dry, hot environment that mimics the temperature requirements for cactus blossoming. Bringing them indoors for winter storage also allows for a very dry environment.

Here are some species of flowering cacti that are ideal for beginners. 

1. Ferocactus / Barrel Cactus (or Mother-in-Law’s Cushion)

Ferocactus or barrel-shaped cacti are identifiable by their cylindrical appearance. Their natural distribution is throughout the southwestern United States and northern Mexico, especially in the Mojave and Sonoran deserts. Echinocactus or barrel cactus tolerate both cold and hot weather well. They can withstand frosts down to -7 degrees.

Hedgehog cactus or Echinocereus

The Hedgehog cactus (Echinocereus sp.) is a smaller barrel-shaped plant that often produces deep red flowers. This variety of flowering cactus is found mainly in Mexico and the western United States.

Hedgehog cactus, also known as the Mexican hedgehog cactus, has been cultivated in homes and gardens around the world for its unique appearance. Its needles grow in a row along the outside of its body, unlike other cacti with needles that are clustered on top or in lines down the sides. One interesting fact about this plant is that it reproduces through little buds growing on its surface, called pups. When these pups reach maturity they fall off the parent plant and root themselves when they hit the ground.

Echinocereus benefits from choice pollinators. Indeed, the concave flowers remain open at night, attract hummingbirds and produce edible fruits. This succulent plant is the first to bloom in the spring (April to June).

Anwar Hossain

My name is Anwar Hossain. I am a cactus lover, researcher, and cactus blogger.

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