The Beautiful Flowers of Cacti

It never ceases to amaze me each year when different species of cacti suddenly transform themselves by putting on a

It never ceases to amaze me each year when different species of cacti suddenly transform themselves by putting on a truly stunning display of flowers.

Beavertail Prickly Pear in flower.

I know, I know.  Prickly cacti are probably the last place that you would look for a beautiful floral display.  But, believe it or not, cacti flowers are truly impressive.

The large white flowers of the Argentine Giant cacti.

Most cacti begin to form large flower buds in early spring.

It is almost magical, just watching each flower begin to unfurl to reveal their vibrant colors.

Cactus flowers come in many different colors.  Some yellow, pink, red and white.

Claret Cup Cactus

By late spring, most cacti are in full-bloom, proudly showing off their beautiful flowers.

Flowering Saguaro Cactus

There are some exceptions though.  Saguaro flowers begin to appear in May and into June.  They are fertilized by moths and birds.  Juicy, red fruit appears in the summer, which the birds feed upon.  The Saguaro flower is the state flower of Arizona.

Fishhook Cactus (Mammillaria microcarpa)

Most cacti bloom only once a year.  But the little Fishhook cactus blooms repeatedly throughout the summer months in response to rain.  Rings of pink flowers appear on my Fishhook cactus (above) over and over all summer long.

Yellow Flowers on a Purple Prickly Pear cactus

So the next time you see a prickly cactus, don’t dismiss it as a rather boring plant.  Instead, imagine how beautiful it looks for a few months out of the year when it is covered with flowers.

Have you ever seen a cactus in flower?  What color were the flowers and where did you see them?  Please share with us 🙂

Noelle Johnson
Noelle Johnson is a horticulturist and certified arborist who lives and gardens in the desert Southwest. When she is not writing or helping other people with their gardens, you can find her growing fruits and vegetables, and planting flowering shrubs and maybe a cactus or two.