23 Beautiful Flowering Cactus Plants: A Showcase of Nature’s Delight

Cacti are often associated with spines and thorns, but did you know that many varieties also produce stunning, vibrant flowers? These flowering cacti can truly steal the show with their unique and captivating blooms. From windowsills to conservatories to outdoor gardens, there’s a cactus that can thrive in almost any setting.

To guide you through the world of flowering cacti, we’ve interviewed expert growers like David Ennals, owner of Coach House Cacti, and Dirk Himschoot, president of the Desert Plant Society of Vancouver. With their knowledge and passion for these plants, they shared their favorite varieties and insights into caring for these fascinating plants.

Expert Chosen Varieties: A Selection of Floral Wonders

According to David Ennals, the beauty of cacti lies in their diverse forms and characteristics. Some people grow them for their flowers, while others appreciate the unique shapes and spines. David particularly enjoys cacti with strong supination, such as Ferocactus and Stenocactus. Dirk Himschoot shares a similar sentiment, loving the early flowering Mammillaria and Gymnocalycium varieties.

But the choices don’t end there. We’ve compiled a list of 23 flowering cactus plants that will surely captivate garden enthusiasts and nature lovers alike. Each cactus has its own unique charm and requirements, ensuring there’s something for everyone to admire and cultivate.

1) Christmas Cactus: A Winter Wonderland

The Schlumbergera × buckleyi, commonly known as the Christmas cactus, is a favorite for indoor cultivation. Its jointed segments can vary in color from dull greyish-green to glossy bright green. During the winter months, it produces tiered, pendent flowers in shades of pink, red, or purple, adding a touch of festive cheer to any space. With its vibrant blooms, the Christmas cactus has earned the prestigious RHS Award of Garden Merit.

Christmas Cactus

2) Common Winter Cactus: A Delicate Display

Similar to the Christmas cactus, the Schlumbergera truncata, or common winter cactus, features less jagged segments and slightly smaller thorns. Its cascading habit makes it another excellent choice for indoor containers. In late autumn and early winter, it produces beautiful flowers in shades of pink, orange, and red, adding a touch of warmth to the colder months.

Further reading:  The Ultimate Guide to Watering Your Strawberry Plants

Common Winter Cactus

3) Dwarf Turks Cap Cactus: A Little Gem

The Melocactus matanzanus, also known as the dwarf Turks cap cactus, is a small and fascinating plant. With its spherical shape and long, pronounced thorns arranged in a star shape, it’s a true marvel. During the summer months, it blooms with oblong and curved flowers in hues ranging from mid-pink to deep red. Its unique appearance and captivating flowers make it an intriguing addition to any collection.

Dwarf Turks Cap Cactus

4) Orchid Cactus: Beauty in Diversity

Epiphyllum, commonly known as the orchid cactus, stands out with its very long, flat segments capable of reaching great heights. The flowers of the orchid cactus come in various shapes and colors, depending on the hybrid. Although they only bloom for a few days in late spring to early summer, the large, fragrant blooms in brilliant tones of pink, yellow, and red make it worth the wait.

Orchid Cactus

5) Texas Rainbow Cactus: A Burst of Sunshine

The Echinocereus dasyacanthus, also known as the Texas rainbow cactus, catches the eye with its vibrant yellow flowers. With stems reaching less than 40cm in height, the large, elongated, conical-shaped flowers create a stunning contrast against the cactus’s spiny exterior. Its long blooming season, covering the spring months, ensures a continuous display of sunny yellow blooms.

Texas Rainbow Cactus

6) Klapper’s Hedgehog Cactus: A Summer Surprise

The Echinocereus klapperi, or Klapper’s hedgehog cactus, is a summer bloomer with a clumping form and long thorns. Its vibrant orange and red funnel-shaped flowers create a striking contrast against its green stems. This resilient cactus thrives even when neglected, making it an excellent choice for those seeking low-maintenance beauty in their gardens.

Klapper’s Hedgehog Cactus

7) Scheer’s Hedgehog Cactus: A Vision of Beauty

The Echinocereus scheeri, commonly known as Scheer’s hedgehog cactus, boasts oblong stems with a clumping form. Its light green ridged stems, adorned with long, sharp thorns, provide a unique backdrop for its trumpet-shaped flowers. These flowers, which bloom in a variety of colors such as pink, fuchsia, and purple, add a touch of elegance to any garden. The Scheer’s hedgehog cactus has been honored with the RHS Award of Garden Merit.

Scheer’s Hedgehog Cactus

8) Black Lace Cactus: A Study in Contrasts

With its dark green columnar stem and prominent ribs, the Echinocereus reichenbachii, or black lace cactus, is a true showstopper. Its vivid purple funnel-shaped flowers, which bloom from mid-spring to early summer, create a stunning contrast against its dark green exterior. This eye-catching cactus has also received recognition with the RHS Award of Garden Merit.

Further reading:  Oak Leaf Holly: A Beautiful and Versatile Addition to Any Landscape

Black Lace Cactus

9) Silver Ball Cactus: Nature’s Sculpture

The Parodia scopa subsp. scopa, also known as the silver ball cactus, lives up to its name with its spherical shape and silver appearance. Its densely-packed, fine, silver spines give it a unique and fascinating look. During the summer, it produces layered yellow flowers, adding a vibrant touch to its waxy green exterior.

Silver Ball Cactus

10) Glory Of Texas: A Colorful Delight

The Thelocactus bicolor, or glory of Texas, is a solitary cactus with a spherical or ovoid stem. Its rich green stem serves as the perfect backdrop for its vibrant purple flowers. With a height of no more than 20cm, the flowers of the glory of Texas appear even larger, creating a truly mesmerizing display.

Glory Of Texas

11) Peanut Cactus: A Fiery Beauty

The Echinopsis chamaecereus, or peanut cactus, stands out with its fleshy, oblong segments and cream-colored stamen. Its bright red flowers, which bloom during the summer months, create a fiery display against its green foliage. With its hardiness rating of H3, it’s a great option for those looking to add some color to their gardens.

Peanut Cactus

12) Pond Lily Cactus: A Bushy Wonder

Nopalxochia phyllanthoides, or pond lily cactus, is a unique cactus with a semi-erect form. Although it lacks spines, it compensates by producing copious pink, lotus-shaped flowers during the summer months. With its bushy habit and charming pink blooms, it’s a cactus that will undoubtedly catch the eye.

13) Easter Cactus: A Spring Celebration

The Hatiora gaertneri, or Easter cactus, has segmented stems that arch gracefully and produce an abundance of scarlet flowers in late spring and early summer. With its sprawling growth habit and flat spineless stems, it adds a touch of elegance to any indoor or outdoor space. The Easter cactus has also received the RHS AGM for its exceptional qualities.

Easter Cactus

14) Bottle Cactus: A Fascinating Shape

The Hatiora salicornioides, or bottle cactus, showcases its unique shape with jointed, narrow segments that resemble upside-down bottles. Its bushy habit and cascading stems create a visually intriguing display. In late spring and early summer, it produces tiny yet charming funnel-shaped flowers in vibrant shades of orange and yellow.

Bottle Cactus

15) Rose Pincushion: A Floral Wreath

Mammillaria zeilmanniana, or rose pincushion, is a compact cactus known for its clustered spherical stems adorned with an abundance of thorns. Atop each plump stem sits a wreath-like ring of pink flowers, creating a delightful display. With its petite size and vibrant blooms, it’s a charming addition to any collection.

Rose Pincushion

16) Owl’s Eye Pincushion: Nature’s Art

The Mammillaria parkinsonii, also known as owl’s eye pincushion, features tightly packed clumps of ball-like stems covered in long white spines. Its colorful little flowers, whether bright yellow or vivid pink, adorn each stem in spring and summer. This unique cactus has also been honored with the RHS AGM.

Further reading:  Elongata Sambac Jasmine: A Fragrant Beauty for Your Garden

Owl's Eye Pincushion

17) Ladyfinger Cactus: A Sweet Surprise

Mammillaria elongata, or ladyfinger cactus, produces small cup-shaped flowers during the summer months. While they are typically pink with yellow tinges, this cactus can surprise with cream or white flowers. Its slender segments and delicate blooms create a charming and dainty display.

Ladyfinger Cactus

18) Wine-Fragrant Chin Cactus: A Delightful Scent

The Gymnocalycium tillianum, or wine-fragrant chin cactus, is a solitary ball-shaped cactus with a greyish-green hue. Its pronounced longitudinal ridges and thorns give it an intriguing texture. During the summer, it produces bright pink funnel-shaped flowers, adding a splash of color and a delightful fragrance to any garden. This cactus has earned the RHS AGM for its exceptional qualities.

Wine-Fragrant Chin Cactus

19) Purple Prickly Pear: A Unique Hue

The Opuntia macrocentra, or purple prickly pear, stands out from other prickly pear varieties with its stunning purple stem segments. Its cup-shaped flowers, in yellow with a bright red center, add a touch of vibrancy to its unique appearance. This cactus truly showcases the diversity within the Opuntia genus.

Purple Prickly Pear

20) Wheel Cactus: A Fascinating Silhouette

Opuntia robusta, or wheel cactus, captivates with its bushy habit and jointed, ovoid segments. Its rich green stems create a striking contrast against the bright, vibrant yellow flowers that bloom in spring. With its unique shape and stunning color palette, the wheel cactus is a true artistic wonder.

Wheel Cactus

21) Bishop’s Mitre: A Royal Display

Astrophytum myriostigma, also known as bishop’s mitre, stands out with its star-shaped grey segments. Unlike most cacti, it lacks thorns, adding to its unique charm. Its charming yellow flowers, which bloom throughout the summer, create a beautiful contrast against its dull green stems. The RHS Award of Garden Merit recognizes the exceptional qualities of this cactus.

Bishop's Mitre

22) Silver Torch: Nature’s Beacon

The Cleistocactus strausii, or silver torch cactus, is a tall and columnar cactus with branching stems. Its vertical spines create a visually striking pattern along the stems. During the summer months, it produces an abundance of tubular red flowers that add a fiery touch to any landscape. This captivating cactus has received the RHS Award of Garden Merit.

Silver Torch

23) Ground Master: A Hidden Beauty

Echinocactus texensis, or ground master, is a unique cactus with a solid barrel-shaped stem that extends deep into the soil. Its hard exterior, adorned with hard thorns, contrasts with its delicate bell-shaped flowers. These flowers, in shades of pink and red, bring a touch of elegance to the ground-level beauty of this cactus.

Ground Master