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by dorothy
(ontario canada)

What can i do to make my cactus bloom? I have had it for about 9 years. it had 1 cactus in a very small pot when it was given to me. It now has 19 cactus growing from the 1.

Hi Dorothy, there are several things you can do to trigger blooming of your cactus.

Imagine the native habitat of these plants.

In some cases they grow in extremely inhospitable places; Full sun exposure with sandy, infertile soil, desperately hungry and thirsty animals that want to eat them (that explains the spines that they’ve evolved as protection) and periods of drought that can be for most of the year, sometimes several years.

When they do finally get some rain, this triggers the plants to flower, to take advantage of this one time chance to make some seeds and reproduce themselves.

Try and see if you can copy these conditions for your plant.

Bright light is essential, with well draining soil mix (not manure or peat based, preferably) and keep it dry. Yes, that’s right – let it dry right out, so that the plant starts to shrivel.

Water it well, a couple of times, then let it go dry again. I use rainwater, but distilled water is good too. Avoid your tap or well water because of the minerals and chemicals, and never use water that has gone through a water softening unit, as this adds salts to it – most plants will not do well with this type of water.

The soil can be so dry that the weight of the plant threatens to topple it over. This is why I usually use terracotta clay pots or hypertufa to display my collection in, as they are heavier than the plants.

If you know what kind of cactus you have, try and copy what the climate would be in their natural habitat, otherwise, allowing the plants to have their dormant (non-watering) time in the winter, and a growing season in spring to summer will work for most kinds.

Best of luck getting your cactus into bloom!