Cactus may look peculiar and prickly, but most of them can produce stunning blossoms of vivid display. Do you know which cacti have the most beautiful floral presentation? A survey I I did on 100+ cactus enthusiasts will make your life easier when you want a cactus to show off.
The best flower-bearing cactus species, according to most cactus lovers, are as follows:
- Schlumbergera Truncata (best)
- Edithcolea Grandis
- Thelocactus Bicolor
- Echinopsis paramount
- Gymnocalycium Baldianum
- Echinopsis arachnacantha
- Frailea Grahliana
- Mammillaria Plumosa
- Astrophytum Myriostigma
- Parodia Warasii
When looking for flowering plants, cacti are most likely to be the least considered species. If you thought they are all just greenish and spikey, wait till you see them bloom. Stick around to see their striking flowers.
Table of Contents
- 1 The Survey Method
- 2 Most Beautiful Cactus Flower [Top 10]
- 3 Takeaways
- 4 Sources
On my FB gardening page, I posted a survey asking my audiences the question below.
“What do you think is the most beautiful cactus flower?”
I was so glad to have received more than 100+ responses. I tallied each reply, sorted the ten most voted cactus species with beautiful flowers, and came up with this result.
Below are the ten most attractive cactus flowers that are a sight to behold. Read till the end to find the number one! You disagree! Well, just drop me an email! I am always happy to receive and have a chat with all of you!
Synonym: Balloon Cactus
Parodia Warasii is a spherical cactus with golden lemon yellow flowers of glossy petals. The bloom measures 5-6 cm in diameter, sometimes solitary but often emerges in pretty clusters at the plant’s apex. The buds begin to form in early summer.
The Parodia species is endemic from Brazil. It is an erect cactus with 15-16 vertical, prominent ribs containing the areoles and spines rows down each rib. The stem appears to be dark green, and the needle-like, soft spines are yellow to brown. The juvenile plant resembles a balloon-shaped stem but later grows into an elongated cylinder that can reach up to 2ft tall and 1 ft wide.
Parodia warasii are most appreciated when the plant matures, gets large, and forms into clumps with each cactus head flowering. They look like a massive bouquet with a yellow floral accent. Propagation is possible through cuttings and seeds.
Care: They prefer full indirect sun with periodic watering during the warm season. Soil requirement must be a well-draining medium. A climate as low as 2 °C (35°F) is not harmful to the plant. They are summer growers, so keep them lively by giving them the basic requirements.
Synonym: Bishop’s Hat
Another cactus with beautiful flowers is the Astrophytum myriostigma, a species of the genus Astrophytum. Its blossom resembles a funnel with shiny yellow petals that measure 3-6cm long from the areole and last for 2-3 days.
As most cacti appear to have spines, Astrophytum myriostigma, on the other hand, has no spines at all. This species is unique because it has a star-shaped green stem covered with white spots like scales or dots, giving the plant a greyish shade.
This awesome cactus usually has five sharp-edge ribs, or sometimes 3 to 4 (considered rare) where areoles are forming. The stem is spherical to cylindrical, turning woody on the base as it matures. Myriostigma can reach up to 60-100 cm in length and 15-20 cm in width.
They typically blossom during the spring and summer months. However, the plant starts to bloom only when they reach the maturity age of 3-5 years.
Care: Bright, indirect sunlight will encourage more flowers and maintain their form. The minimum required temperature in the rest period (dormant) is 7°C (45°F) with occasional watering.
Synonym: Feather Cactus
Mammillaria plumosa is one of the fuzziest cactus species that bears tiny flowers (3-15mm wide) varying from white to pink with yellow or pink mid stripes. The blooms have a wonderful sweet-smelling scent.
It is called a “Feather Cactus” because of its feathery spine appearance, which resembles a cotton ball. This species usually grows in low clumps reaching 20cm wide when mature. The furry white spines that are as soft as a feather cover entirely the spherical stem.
Care: This mammillaria prefers full to partial sunlight in the summer with regular watering. When watering, make sure not to wet the stem as it is prone to rot. Instead, water directly into the soil to avoid stem rot.
Frailea Grahliana is an interesting cactus species that clumps heavily and gives off seeds generously. Frailea grahliana have pale to vibrant yellow blooms that measure up to 4cm wide. They may or may not bloom and are known to be cleistogamous.
Cleistogamous flowers can be self-pollinated, and fertilization occurs in a closed bud. Fraileas can produce viable seeds without opening their flowers. It is one of the notable characteristics of this species. However, some buds will bloom open, and this happens during the brightest sunny day around noon. It remains open for 4-5 hours and never opens the next day again. Sometimes, they may or may not pollinate, and hand-pollination will never be an option.
Frailea is a fast grower and can rapidly fill a 15cm pot because it produces many tiny pups on its base. Aside from having too many offsets, they develop round seed pods one after another that, if not harvested, will pop open, releasing hundreds of brown seeds on the topsoil. Fallen seeds are quick to germinate.
Care: The stem of this species is spherical and varies from dull-green to purplish, with 13-15 indistinct ribs that enjoy heat under direct sun exposure. Water fraileas once or twice a week during scorching days. They tend to shrink fast when deprived of water. Most Fraileas live up to 15 years.
Synonym: Echinopsis arachncantha
Echinopsis arachncantha are small, clump-forming species that bear vibrant showy flowers of various colors in pink, yellow, orange, and red, usually with a satin texture. The blossom is around 5 cm wide, emerging from a hairy cylindrical floral tube 6-10 cm long.
Upon reaching its full bloom, the flower is often as large as the plant itself.
The pear-shaped buds open early in the morning, last for a couple of days, and bear fruit if pollinated. Aside from its large bloom and flashy color that attract cactus collectors, it is also an excellent species for newbies.
The stem is primarily green and round that can reach up to 6cm in diameter, with 14 or more radial ribs containing spider-shaped spines on each areole. It is best to put them in areas with enough bright light to maintain their spherical compact form. The plant will remain green under shade, while direct full sun will give it a stressed color of copper.
Care: Like most cacti, Lobivia requires regular watering, especially in the growing season. It is cold hardy up to -5C. Propagation of this species is either through offsetting or seed sowing.
Common Name: Echinocactus Baldianus
Gymnocalycium baldianum blooms abundantly and puts on a spectacular show. It is a species that all cactus lovers should consider because of its stunning blossoms that come in various colors from red to pink with shades of purple, measuring 4-5cm in diameter.
Baldianum has a flat, spherical dull-green stem with ten ribs in deep grooves. The grey spines range from 6-7, curved and emerging from the deep-set areoles. This species rarely produce offsets unless beheaded and form a clump. Propagation is primarily through seeds, so pollinating their blooms is necessary.
Care: If you are looking for an easy-to-grow species, then Baldianum should be on your list. It is sun-loving, and exposure to full sunlight will bring out its stressed color and encourage more bud growth. A juvenile species can bloom profusely and requires no special care.
During the growing season in summer, they require watering as soon as the medium dries out. The plant is tolerant to frost down to -10C but should be kept dry.
Synonym: Hildewintera, Monkey’s Tail
Hildewintera colademononis is a unique free-flowering cactus species that bears beautiful vivid red flowers, 8 cm long, usually in drooping position. This plant is always an attraction for its trailing stem, white spines resembling a monkey’s tail, and pretty blossoms adorning the hairy stem.
One cannot tell right away that Cleistocactus colademononis is a cactus species because of its peculiar appearance different from a typical cactus. It has a long, cylindrical stem that measures 2-5cm in diameter. The slender green stem is concealed with white or yellow, thin spines like fur/hair.
The blossoms form on areoles of the plant lined up horizontally and zygomorphic (irregular formation). They are showy and quite a sight when they bloom all at the same time. It bears a spherical fruit/seed pod that turns red when ripe. Once mature, the seed pod will burst open revealing black viable seeds that germinate quickly.
Care: Monkey’s tail would love to bask in a bright indirect sunny spot. Adequate sunlight makes their stem fuller and has consistent growth. Watering once every week will keep them hydrated in summer. Cut back from watering in winter, hydrating them twice a month only. Allow the soil to dry between waterings.
Synonym: Echinocactus Bicolor
Cactus collectors are amazed by this cactus species due to its gorgeous magenta flowers that measure up to 7 cm in diameter. The blossoms emerge on the plant’s apex and have a splash of red on its central part that compliments the magenta petals.
Thelocactus bicolor is erect, spherical, and becomes cylindrical as it matures and reaches up to ten centimeters in diameter. It has eight vertical ribs with long yellow rigid spines, and central spines on the apex are yellow-reddish.
The buds begin to form before springtime and open in early spring to autumn. They are most beautiful when two or more buds bloom simultaneously, creating a bouquet on the top center of the plant.
Care: Bicolor is most active in summer and, in fact, easy to cultivate. It requires minimal maintenance, as most cacti need. The light requirement is full to partial shade with periodic watering to preserve its compact form. Give the plant a dash of fertilizer during its active state to boost healthy growth.
Synonym: Stinky cactus
Edithcolae Grandis has an awesome blossom that most collectors described as a Persian Carpet flower with yellow and copper-red dots. The hairy-edged, star-shaped flower, when in full bloom, measures up to 10-12 cm wide and diffuses a stinky smell like carrion.
It has green to reddish stems that spread in all directions. It has brown spots all over and has a sharp-tooth texture. The flower forms on the branch and may develop into a fruit or seed pod. This species has a reputation as difficult to cultivate due to its specific growing requirements. Edithcolea Grandis is prone to root rot and pest infestation. So regular plant inspection is necessary.
Care: It requires a relatively high amount of light, above 16C temperature in winter. However, it enjoys regular watering in summer, and a dash of fertilizer will encourage blossom development. Propagation through stem cuttings is the easiest way. To grow roots, the cuttings are allowed to dry and heal before laying on the topsoil (do not bury).
This plant has 16% votes and ranked 2nd for the most beautiful cactus flower. Indeed, the blossom is lovely and remarkable, but just don’t get too close to avoid its foul smell.
Synonym: Crab Cactus, Thanksgiving Cactus
Schlumbergera truncata garnered 1st place as the most beautiful cactus flower. This resilient cactus species has striking flowers that bloom just in time for Thanksgiving, hence the name. It blooms profusely in various colors like pink, orange, white, purple, and red. When in full bloom, the plant resembles a fountain of flowers.
It is sometimes mistakenly called Christmas cactus, but its stems and flowers are distinct. Thanksgiving cactus has flat green branches with claw-like appendages that resemble crab claws. Its bloom appears to be erect and not dropping, unlike that of the Christmas cactus.
Care: They are cacti, but they are unlike other cacti that thrive in arid conditions. This species does well as indoor houseplants. They prefer bright, indirect light with high humidity in a warm room below 75F. Please keep it away from too much light in summer as the stem may turn yellow under intense sunlight. They are easy to reproduce by stem cuttings.
1) Cactus are flowering species, and most of them are capable of producing beautiful flowers.
2) Schlumbergera truncata is considered a cactus with the most amazing blooms.
3) Cactus may be spikey. Indeed it has incredible blooms that will attract not only insects but also cactophiles.
“Feather Cactus,” Duke University
“Flower Terminology, Part 2,” Palomar College
“Floral Symmetry,” Annual Review of Ecology and Systematics
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