General Question

deni's avatar

How can I get my cactus to flower?

Asked by deni (22647points) December 4th, 2011

I have a Golden Rat Tail cactus in a pot indoors. It’s in good shape and healthy and I’ve had it for about a year…....I see in pictures and on cactus info sites that they are flowering plants, but will mine flower? I can’t really find any info on how to get it to flower or if it just does it naturally….anybody know?! I really want mine to!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Thanks!

Observing members: 0 Composing members: 0

18 Answers

marinelife's avatar

“The Cleistocactus winteri has salmon-pink flowers in spring and summer, 1.6 to 2.4 inches (4 to 6 cm) in length, 2 inches (5 cm) in diameter. Mature plants bloom repetitively. The flowers are followed by green fruit, 0.4 inches long (1 cm). Desert Tropicals

Perhaps your cactus is not yet mature. One reference i found said that a women had hers for two years before it bloomed.

whitetigress's avatar

needs plenty of sunshine

MRSHINYSHOES's avatar

I used to have a lot of luck getting my cactus to flower by placing the plant on a window sill that received a lot of bright light (full sun) in winter, but it was a window sill that was pretty cold in the winter, 60 F. or below, but not freezing. I remember the window used to get frosty inside (that’s how cool it was). The cactus needed that “cold”, resting period in winter. Also, water it minimally in the winter, only once a month, just to keep it from shrivelling. In spring, as the temperature warms up, water it every week, and give it a shot of weak fertilizer. Your cactus should flower.

It depends on the kind of cactus you have too. Some flower more readily than others. You can find the easily flowering kinds in a cactus book. Some have to mature first before they flower (like after 10 years). Others flower when they’re very young (2 or 3 years old).

I believe rat tail cacti flower more readily than others. It’s beautiful in flower. I used to see one at my barber’s in flower.

MRSHINYSHOES's avatar

It doesn’t have to be on a window sill, just anywhere cool and bright in winter.

deni's avatar

@MRSHINYSHOES It is by a window, BUT it’s above a heating vent. Do you think thats bad? Might it get dried out too much?

marinelife's avatar

@deni The desert is very dry.

deni's avatar

@marinelife Of course but I just wasn’t sure if the constant dry heat blowing on it would make a difference. I figured not, but you never know.

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

@deni That’s a long night cactus.It needs a certain amount of unlimited darkness with no light whatsoever to flower.

MRSHINYSHOES's avatar

@deni If it’s above a heating vent, it probably will not flower. Cacti need that “cool-cold” to warm change from winter to spring in order to stimulate them to flower. Do you have a cool-cold place where it’s bright? In winter, cacti need to dry out a bit, but they like a cold rest.

deni's avatar

@MRSHINYSHOES Not really…space to put it is kind of limited because it has to be out of the way since it’s so pinchy…and it’s in a very heavy pot and I can’t hang it so….what should I do? Obviously probably in April we will stop using the heat but thats a long way off and I really want flowers so should I move it? @Adirondackwannabe How much darkness? How can I give it enough?

MRSHINYSHOES's avatar

@deni Do you live in a really cold climate, or somewhere like mid-California where nighttime temperatures only drop to about 45 to 50 F. in the winter? If you live in a place like mid-California, you can set your cactus outside, then bring it in in the spring. If you live in a really cold climate, like Canada, try putting it in a cold sheltered place, like your garage, but insulate the cactus with a lot of burlap first. Don’t water it. Leave it there for about 3 to 4 weeks, then bring it back inside. If your garage doesn’t drop below freezing, it should be fine, even in the darkness.

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

@deni I’m not sure. I’ll do some digging. I’m guessing 12 hours of complete darkness. If you flick on a light for a few minutes it stops it from flowering.

deni's avatar

So should I put it in the basement? I think thats the only way I could give it that much darkness. My house is really small and theres really nowhere out of the way.

@MRSHINYSHOES I’m in Colorado, so it does get cold…

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

There’s two types of plants, long day and long night. The long day need a certain amount of sunlight to flower. The long night need complete dark for a certain amount of time to flower. If you want it to flower, you’re going to need to keep it in the dark for length of time it needs. Sounds like a lot of work to me to take it to the basement every day.

deni's avatar

@Adirondackwannabe So essentially….just give up on the flowers? lol

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

@deni Here’s an idea. Can you cover it with something for the time required?

MRSHINYSHOES's avatar

@deni Try my second method.

deni's avatar

@MRSHINYSHOES If it were outside or in the garage though, it would definitely experience below freezing temperatures…

Answer this question

Login

or

Join

to answer.

This question is in the General Section. Responses must be helpful and on-topic.

Your answer will be saved while you login or join.

Have a question? Ask Fluther!

What do you know more about?
or
Knowledge Networking @ Fluther