Flowering Cacti and Succulents
It is a myth that cacti flower only every seven years. Once flowering size is reached, they will flower every year and some even twice in one year. Many cacti reach flowering size at two years old, while some take ten years to mature. These latter plants are generally grown more for their attractive spines etc. than for their flowers. If a "flowering" cactus doesn't produce results, then either it is the wrong sort, or the cultural conditions are wrong.
To produce flowers, some cacti need a cool, dry, rest period in the winter. A cool bedroom is ideal for this. Given this rest each season, and plenty of sunshine, many varieties will flower on a windowsill, although there are some that produce better results in the greenhouse or conservatory. For easy-flowering, we can recommend the following - Echinopsis, orchid cacti (Epiphyllum), Gymnocalycium, Mammillaria, Rebutia (- Aylostera), Notocactus, also Christmas cacti (Schlumbergera). Among the other succulents, easy-flowerers include Crassula, Echeveria, Hoya and Sedum.
To obtain more flowers on your Christmas cacti and Orchid cacti, these also benefit from a rest, unlike other cacti this is most effective if given for a week or two following flowering.
Flowering is greatly helped by regular feeding, with a high potash fertilizer in the growing season. Any tomato fertilizer is ideal, or a special cactus fertilizer such as Chempak. We feed every third watering.
All cacti and other succulents will produce more flowers if - once they have reached their mature size - they are not over potted. A plant that has a lot of space to grow into, will do just that, and not worry too much about flowering.
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