Cactus with star shaped flower

When Do Succulents Bloom: Learn About Flowering Succulent Care

Most of us grow our cacti and succulent plants for the attractive and unusual foliage. Flowers on a succulent are a special surprise. All succulent plants and cacti have the capability to bloom at some point, but location and conditions have to be just right. If a bloom stalk or bud appears, you’ll likely exclaim “My succulent is flowering!” Proceed in the right way to get the most beautiful, long-lasting bloom. Read on for tips to help with caring for flowers on a succulent plant.

Blooming Succulent Plant Care

When your bloom stalk or flower begins to develop, keep an eye out for aphids buzzing around it. They are particularly attracted to this type of new growth. Spray them with a 50% to 70% alcohol product or a horticulture soap. Some succulent growers remove the stalk at this time for this reason.

If your intriguing bloom leads you to provide extra care, follow some or all of these tips:

Succulent and cacti flowers love sunlight, so the more you can gradually provide will make the flower bloom more quickly. Be cautious when temperatures are in the high 80’s and 90’s, though, as some succulent plants can’t take extremely high heat. As always, it is best to know your succulent plant and research details about its bloom and how much heat it likes. Since most plants in this category bloom in late spring to early summer, high heat is not always an issue. Blooms tend to last longer in dry climates.

When you see a bloom stalk or flower developing on your plant, begin adding an hour more sun each day, if possible. Gradually add more until it is in full sun all day. If you grow your plants indoors, find the brightest, sunniest window and acclimate them there. Keep a check that leaves and pads don’t burn.

Flowering succulent care involves extra water and fertilization, according to some expert info. Drench the blooming succulent plant when you water. Water again when the top two inches (5 cm.) of soil is dry. Continue this watering schedule until the blooms fade.

Instead of fertilizing once a season, step up your fertilization to monthly. Use a high phosphorus fertilizer, the middle number on the three-digit fertilizer ratio. Also, increase the feeding up to half-strength instead of one-quarter. Continue feeding until the blossom begins dying off.

All these are potential care tips that can make your flower bloom earlier and last longer. Or you can do nothing to the plant that is blooming and let nature take its course. As with the growth of these fascinating plants, flowers also sometimes thrive on neglect.

If you want to attempt growing more plants via seed, collect fading blooms and place in a small paper bag. After flowers dry up, you will find tiny seeds.

When Do Succulents Bloom?

Bloom time varies in succulent plants. Most echeverias bloom in late spring to early summer but are known to blossom in fall as well. Aloe vera typically blooms in summer, but can certainly blossom at other times of the year – several blossom in autumn and winter. Jade, kalanchoe, rhipsalis, and some hoya also bloom in autumn and winter.

Sadly, some succulents are monocarpic and exist only to flower one time. Cold-hardy sempervivum and the beautiful aeonium, for instance, die after producing their first bloom. Before flowering, though, they’ll produce babies that continue their line.

Most cacti and succulents bloom the first time at the age of four to six years. Others may bloom at a younger age.

How to care for cacti and succulents

Cacti and succulents are now a very common houseplant. They come in a vast range of shapes and sizes from the petite to the grand. Cacti and succulents fall into the same group because they both have characteristics meaning they can survive in arid environments.

The native habitat for most cacti and succulents is a desert. Therefore, they will grow best in lots of light, good drainage, high temperatures and low moisture. However, there are some cacti and succulents, such as Schlumbergera, which have a native environment of a rainforest so prefer semi-shade and humid conditions.

To care for a cacti and succulent, it is best to try to recreate their natural habitat. Here are the main things that you need to consider when caring for your cacti and succulents.

Light, temperature and ventilation

Cacti and succulents thrive with good light sources, and it is best to place cacti and succulents in a bright place. A south facing position will provide good sunlight. However, be careful to not put them in direct sunlight because the intense light can make the plants turn a yellow colour. The optimum light depends on the variety of cacti and succulent that you are growing. For example, forest-growing epiphytes, such as Rhipsalis, need semi-shade, but an Echeveria needs bright light.

During the autumn and winter months, it is best for the plants to be kept cool at night with temperatures of around 8°C to 10°C. In the spring and summer the plants need good ventilation, but will survive in high temperatures.

Compost

A free-draining compost, such as Westland cacti and succulent potting mix is a good compost to use as it has added girt and sand for optimum drainage. It also contains the right level of nutrients for your cacti and succulents.

Watering and feeding

There is a common misconception that cacti and succulents only require a small amount of water. Even though they have water-storing characteristics in their leaves and stems which allow them to survive in dry habitats, they will certainly not thrive with little water. Watering is an essential part to how well your cacti or succulent grows. Overwatering will stunt growth, but under-watering causes shrivelling.

Tepid rainwater should be used for watering, rather than tap water. This is because the minerals in tap water build up in the soil and can cause deposits on the leaves. Minerals also disrupt the flow of essential nutrients to the plant.

Spring and summer

In the growing season, the plants should be watered at least once a week. When watering, the soil should be given a good soaking, allowing excess water to drain away. Allow the compost to dry out slightly between each watering.

Feed your plants once a month using Westland Cacti and Succulent Feed which is a good formula to use. It helps them to produce healthy growth with more disease tolerance and better flowering. Simply use the dosing chamber to get a 5ml dose of the feed and add to 1 litre of water.

Autumn and winter

This is the time where the plants enter a rest period. Watering should be reduced so that the potting mix dries out between the watering. The regularity of watering is dependent on the environment they are in and the variety of succulent. Winter-flowering cacti needs to be in the warmth and have regular watering at this time, but desert-dwellers can be left un-watered. You do not need to feed cacti or succulents during this period.

Re-potting

If your cacti or succulent is pot-bound, then the best time to re-pot is in the spring. To re-pot:

  • Firstly water the plant and allow to drain before removing carefully from the pot, using folded paper to protect your hands against the spikes.
  • Clear away the old soil from the roots with a thin stick, such as a chopstick, so that you do not damage the roots.
  • Put a layer of potting mix in the new pot, which is slightly bigger in diameter, and sit the plant on it.
  • Fill the rest of the pot with the potting mix and firm down.
  • Do not water for a few days to prevent rotting of damaged roots.

Keeping these conditions gives the best care for your cacti or succulent. Most importantly, remember when it comes to the caring for your plant is that you are trying to recreate its natural habitat!

9. So what is a Christmas cactus? And how is it different?

A Christmas cactus is a popular Christmas plant during the festive season. The Brazilian coastal plant known as an epiphyte, grows on top of other plants, trees or rocks, and there are two species: Schlumbergera truncata and S. × buckleyi. A Christmas cactus flowers for around two months from late November to late January, with lots of little flower buds – in red, white, yellow, pink and purple – appearing throughout the Christmas period. Find more Christmas cactus care and growing tips here.

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6 Bloom & Wild plants that are better than flowers

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Summer Herbs, £32

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Hearts-on-a-String, £30

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The House Beautiful team From the team at House Beautiful

Plant of the Week: Carrion Cactus

The University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture does not promote, support or recommend plants featured in “Plant of the Week.” Please consult your local Extension office for plants suitable for your region.

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Carrion Cactus
Latin: Stapelia gigantea

OPEN YOUR EYES, HOLD YOUR NOSE – Carrion cactus flowers are beautiful to behold but stinky. (University of Arkansas Division of Agriculture photo by Gerald Klingaman.)

Plants are great problem solvers. When a species is given a set of problems to solve, plants have a way of working through the difficulties and arriving at elegant solutions. An example of this problem-solving ability can be seen in the carrion cactus (Stapelia gigantea) that blooms in late summer and early fall.

The carrion cactus is not a true cactus but a member of the milkweed family from South Africa. It grows about 8 inches tall and spreads sideways by a series of succulent, coarsely toothed leafless stems. Depending on their age and degree of engorgement, the stems will be rounded, squarish or plus-shaped when viewed in cross section. They have no thorns but have been lumped in popular parlance with true cacti because they grow in dry, rocky ground like some of our American prickly pear cacti.

The star-shaped flowers look like a starfish in general outline and size. The base color of the flower is light tan to a brownish yellow with a series of reddish maroon, interrupted lines running perpendicular to the outstretched petals. At the center of the flower, these lines are closer together to give the plant a blood-colored central eye where the black stamen and pistil reside.

In a wonderful example of biological mimicry, the flowers not only have the general look of an open wound, but they also smell like ripe road kill. Flies, beetles and all manner of insects are carrion feeders, so from a problem solving standpoint the carrion cactus has simply used the resources around it to get what it needs.

Its stem architecture is also well-suited to surviving in low rainfall areas. It long ago gave up its leaves and committed its stems to the role of photosynthesis. To get through periods of drought, these stems are pleated in cross sections so they can contract in dry times and swell as they take on more water during the rainy periods.

At one time the Stapelia genus was large and included a whole series of plants with interesting and variable blooms and stem types. Over the years species have been separated out into separate genera based primarily on differences in flower characteristics. Orbea, Orbeopsis and Huernia have plants that have the overall look of Stapelia except for their flowers.

To have a carrion-smelling houseplant on your windowsill may be a bit off-putting to some, but the plants are an excellent example of nature’s ability to problem solve in a difficult environment. The odor need not be a serious problem because a cultivar called ‘Schwankart’ is available that is claimed to be odor-free. But really, why would anyone want to grow a carrion cactus that didn’t stink?

The Stapelia are easy to grow in small 4- to 6-inch pots. Use any well-drained potting soil. During the summer, move them to a sunny patio and let rainfall provide the needed watering. In the winter, give them a bright area but hold back on the water. Keep the wintertime temperature above 40 degrees. They will overwinter out of doors in north Texas. Mealybugs are the only serious insect pest.

By: Gerald Klingaman, retired
Extension Horticulturist – Ornamentals
Extension News – November 13, 2009

The University of Arkansas Division of Agriculture does not maintain lists of retail outlets where these plants can be purchased. Please check your local nursery or other retail outlets to ask about the availability of these plants for your growing area.

Star Cactus Flower Stock Photos and Images

(604) Narrow your search: Vectors | Black & white | Page 1 of 7

  • Cleistocactus parviflorus . Flowering Cactus
  • Stapelia variegata, Starfish Flower, Star Flower or Toad Cactus
  • Close up of Star of Bethlehem. (Ornithogalum thyrsoides)
  • Cleistocactus parviflorus . Flowering Cactus
  • Starfish Plant, aka Starfish Cactus, Star Flower, Carrion Cactus, Carrion Flower, Toad Cactus, Toad Plant (Orbea variegata)
  • Stapelia grandiflora Star Flower Cactus, Starfish Cactus, Carrior Plant,
  • Cleistocactus parviflorus . Flowering Cactus
  • Starfish Plant, aka Starfish Cactus, Star Flower, Carrion Cactus, Carrion Flower, Toad Cactus, Toad Plant (Orbea variegata)
  • Astrophytum ornatum x myriostigma. Star cactus flower
  • Stapelia grandiflora Star Flower Cactus, Starfish Cactus, Carrior Plant,
  • dahlia white star cactus flowered flower flowering bloom perennial
  • A star flower (starfish) Cactus Orbea variegata syn Staphilia on a white background.
  • Astrophytum cactus in flower.
  • dahlia white star cactus flowered flower flowering bloom perennial
  • Easter cactus flower
  • Close up of Dahlia ‘Yellow Star’ in a flower border
  • Cactus with star
  • Close up of Dahlia ‘Yellow Star’ in a flower border of a cottage garden
  • Easter cactus flower
  • Close up of Dahlia ‘Yellow Star’ in a flower border of a cottage garden
  • Desert star cactus plant
  • closeup of the center of a white night blooming echinopsis cactus flower showing the star shaped stigma
  • Close up of Dahlia ‘Yellow Star’ in a flower border of a cottage garden
  • Desert star cactus plant
  • Dahlia Star Elite
  • Close-up Of Star Flower
  • Hedgehog cactus blossom, Hot Springs Canyon Trail from Rio Grande Village, Big Bend National Park, Texas.
  • High Angle View Of Star Shaped Flower
  • Star flower (Orbea variegata), deHoop Nature reserve. Western Cape, South Africa.
  • Star Cactus (Astrophytum asterias), San Antonio, TX, USA
  • close up of echinopsis stars and stripes pink flower cactus blooming in the garden
  • Star flower (Orbea variegata) DeHoop Nature reserve. Western Cape, South Africa.
  • close up of echinopsis stars and stripes pink flower cactus blooming in the garden
  • Flowering Huernia keniensis (Kenyan Dragon Flower) is a tropical, succulent plant with 5-angled grey-green stems with some red mottling, up to 5 inche
  • Star flower (Orbea variegata) DeHoop Nature reserve. Western Cape, South Africa.
  • Dahlia ‘Yellow Star’
  • Flowering Huernia keniensis (Kenyan Dragon Flower) is a tropical, succulent plant with 5-angled grey-green stems with some red mottling, up to 5 inche
  • Star flower (Orbea variegata) close-up. DeHoop Nature reserve. Western Cape, South Africa.
  • closed flower of a Huernia keniensis (Kenyan Dragon Flower) a tropical, succulent plant with 5-angled grey-green stems with some red mottling, up to 5
  • STAPELIA VARIEGATA (SYN ORBEA VARIEGATA ) KNOWN AS THE CARRION FLOWER OR STAR FLOWER, HAS A PUNGENT ODOUR THAT SMELLS OF DEAD MEAT
  • Dahlia Yellow Star flower
  • Starfish Plant, Orbea variegata, in a garden in Penonome, Cocle province, Republic of Panama.
  • Captured at Shelby botanical garden in Sarasota Fl. Cactus flower in shape of a starfish.
  • Collection of various Haworthia Fasciata (Zebra Cactus, Pearl and Star Window Plant) and succulent plants in different pots. Potted cactus houseplants
  • Starfish Plant, Orbea variegata, in a garden in Penonome, Cocle province, Republic of Panama.
  • Star shape miniature cactus succulent close up view.
  • Stapelia variegata flower
  • Star of Bethlehem (Ornithogalum thyrsoides)
  • Cactus in Mexico, Baja California
  • Stapelia variegata flower
  • Noche Buena. Christmas. Poinsettia flower.
  • patches in flower pattern fashion image
  • Stapelia variegata flower
  • Orbea Variegata has a beautiful star shaped flower that stinks of rotten meat to attract flies.
  • Star flowers (Orbea variegata) one unfolding with one folded. deHoop Nature reserve. Western Cape, South Africa.
  • Stapelia variegata flower
  • Orbea Variegata has a beautiful star shaped flower that stinks of rotten meat to attract flies.
  • Stapelia cactus close up macro photography for background. Exotic flowers
  • Christmas cactus, Schlumbergera x bridgesii, Close view of one bright pink flower with swept back petals, white stamens and unusual star shaped pink stigma.
  • Stapelia cactus close up macro photography for background. Exotic flowers
  • icon set of cute related icons over white background, colorful design. vector illustration
  • star fish cactus or Stapelia grandiflora with flies pollenating the cactus plant with huge showy flowers that smell of rotting flesh.
  • Stapelia cactus close up macro photography for background. Exotic flowers
  • Cactus flower Stapelia on white background, close up view.
  • star fish cactus or Stapelia grandiflora with flies pollenating the cactus plant with huge showy flowers that smell of rotting flesh.
  • Starfish flower. Stapelia variegata.
  • Succulents
  • sedum or stonecrop known as palmer’s sedum Latin sedum palmeri family crassulaceae a succulent plant native to Mexico
  • Starfish flower. Stapelia variegata.
  • Sand Dollar Cactus (Astrophytum asterias) flower
  • sedum or stonecrop known as palmer’s sedum Latin sedum palmeri family crassulaceae a succulent plant native to Mexico
  • Red flowers of the peanuts cactus (Echinopsis chamaecereus, Chamaecereus silvestrii)
  • sedum or stonecrop known as palmer’s sedum Latin sedum palmeri family crassulaceae a succulent plant native to Mexico
  • Giant Saguaro cactus
  • Red flowers of the peanuts cactus (Echinopsis chamaecereus, Chamaecereus silvestrii)
  • Dahlia ‘Josudi Tel Star’ flowers at RHS Wisley flower show, Surrey, England
  • Cactus vase with stars
  • Raindrops on Red Petals, of flower
  • Dahlia ‘Josudi Tel Star’ flowers at RHS Wisley flower show, Surrey, England
  • little cactus.
  • Stapelia variegata flower blooming
  • Dahlia ‘Josudi Tel Star’ flowers at RHS Wisley flower show, Surrey, England
  • little cactus.
  • Stapelia variegata flower blooming
  • little cactus.
  • Set of wildlife cactus or succulent plant
  • little cactus.
  • Stapelia variegata flower background
  • Flowering Huernia keniensis (Kenyan Dragon Flower) is a tropical, succulent plant with 5-angled grey-green stems with some red mottling, up to 5 inche
  • Tiny little green star shaped cactus on the rocky ground.
  • Notocactus scopa, Parodia scopa Flowering, yellow flower
  • Flowering Huernia keniensis (Kenyan Dragon Flower) is a tropical, succulent plant with 5-angled grey-green stems with some red mottling, up to 5 inche
  • Caralluma Fimbriata. Family: Asclepiadaceae. A small leafless succulent herb which grows on dry rocky hills. Its stem is edible.
  • Vivid scarlet red flower of cactus, Rhipsalidopsis gaertneri syn. Hatiora gaertneri, Easter cactus, on dark background
  • Flowering Huernia keniensis (Kenyan Dragon Flower) is a tropical, succulent plant with 5-angled grey-green stems with some red mottling, up to 5 inche
  • Dahlia with creamy white petals. Dahlia cactus white flower
  • closed flower of a Huernia keniensis (Kenyan Dragon Flower) a tropical, succulent plant with 5-angled grey-green stems with some red mottling, up to 5
  • Vibrant green succulents in glass jar with pebbles
  • Dahlia with creamy white petals. Dahlia cactus white flower
  • closed flower of a Huernia keniensis (Kenyan Dragon Flower) a tropical, succulent plant with 5-angled grey-green stems with some red mottling, up to 5

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Carrion flower (Orbea variegata)

Also known as: star flower, starfish cactus, toad cactus

Carrion flower is a succulent perennial herb with fleshy upright stems and star-shaped, putrid smelling flowers.

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How does this weed affect you?

Carrion flower is a horticultural oddity that is native to South Africa. In Australia, it has naturalised in semi-arid regions where it out-competes native grasses and herbs. It is spread by seed and fragments, and is known to spread from old garbage tips and refuse areas.

What does it look like?

Carrion flower has cream to yellow star-shaped flowers with brown or purple markings. The flowers emit a putrid odour which attracts flies that act as pollinators.

Biosecurity South Australia (2015). Draft fact sheet Declared Plant Carrion flower Orbea variegata. Government of South Australia.

Perkins, J. (n.d.) Orbea variegata in PlantNET, The Royal Botanic Gardens and Domain Trust, Sydney, Australia.

Queensland Government (2016). Orbea variegata in Weeds of Australia, Biosecurity, Queensland Edition.

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Control

Herbicide options

WARNING – ALWAYS READ THE LABEL
Users of agricultural or veterinary chemical products must always read the label and any permit, before using the product, and strictly comply with the directions on the label and the conditions of any permit. Users are not absolved from compliance with the directions on the label or the conditions of the permit by reason of any statement made or not made in this information. To view permits or product labels go to the Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority website www.apvma.gov.au

See Using herbicides for more information.

PERMIT 9907 Expires 31/03/2020
Fluroxypyr 200 g/L (Starane™)
Rate: 500 mL to 1 L per 100 L water
Comments: Spot spray
Withholding period: 7 days.
Herbicide group: I, Disruptors of plant cell growth (synthetic auxins)
Resistance risk: Moderate

PERMIT 9907 Expires 31/03/2020
Fluroxypyr 200 g/L (Starane™)
Rate: 35 mL per L diesel/kerosene
Comments: Basal bark
Withholding period: 7 days.
Herbicide group: I, Disruptors of plant cell growth (synthetic auxins)
Resistance risk: Moderate

PERMIT 9907 Expires 31/03/2020
Fluroxypyr 333 g/L (Starane™ Advanced)
Rate: 300 to 600 mL per 100 L water
Comments: Spot spray
Withholding period: 7 days.
Herbicide group: I, Disruptors of plant cell growth (synthetic auxins)
Resistance risk: Moderate

PERMIT 9907 Expires 31/03/2020
Fluroxypyr 333 g/L (Starane™ Advanced)
Rate: 21 mL per L diesel/kerosene
Comments: Basal bark
Withholding period: 7 days.
Herbicide group: I, Disruptors of plant cell growth (synthetic auxins)
Resistance risk: Moderate

PERMIT 9907 Expires 31/03/2020
Glyphosate 360 g/L (Roundup®)
Rate: One part product to 50 parts water
Comments: Spot spray
Withholding period: Nil.
Herbicide group: M, Inhibitors of EPSP synthase
Resistance risk: Moderate

PERMIT 9907 Expires 31/03/2020
Glyphosate 360 g/L (Roundup®)
Rate: One part product to 9 parts water
Comments: Splatter gun
Withholding period: Nil.
Herbicide group: M, Inhibitors of EPSP synthase
Resistance risk: Moderate

PERMIT 9907 Expires 31/03/2020
Metsulfuron-methyl 600 g/kg (Brush-off®)
Rate: 10 – 20 g per 100 L water plus surfactant
Comments: Spot spray
Withholding period: Nil (recommended not to graze for 7 days before treatment and for 7 days after treatment to allow adequate chemical uptake in target weeds).
Herbicide group: B, Inhibitors of acetolactate synthase (ALS inhibitors)
Resistance risk: High

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Biosecurity duty

The content provided here is for information purposes only and is taken from the Biosecurity Act 2015 and its subordinate legislation, and the Regional Strategic Weed Management Plans (published by each Local Land Services region in NSW). It describes the state and regional priorities for weeds in New South Wales, Australia.

Area Duty
All of NSW General Biosecurity Duty
All plants are regulated with a general biosecurity duty to prevent, eliminate or minimise any biosecurity risk they may pose. Any person who deals with any plant, who knows (or ought to know) of any biosecurity risk, has a duty to ensure the risk is prevented, eliminated or minimised, so far as is reasonably practicable.
Central West Regional Recommended Measure*
Land managers should mitigate the risk of new weeds being introduced to their land. The plant should be eradicated from the land and the land kept free of the plant. The plant should not be bought, sold, grown, carried or released into the environment.
*To see the Regional Strategic Weeds Management Plans containing demonstrated outcomes that fulfill the general biosecurity duty for this weed

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For technical advice and assistance with identification please contact your local council weeds officer.
For further information call the NSW DPI Biosecurity Helpline on 1800 680 244 or send an email to [email protected]

Reviewed 2018

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