If you’re a cactus enthusiast, you’ll know that most cacti have the ability to flower. It’s part of their natural reproductive system that ensures their survival in the wild.
However, did you know that some species of cacti have the most spectacular flowers you could imagine?
Although many people grow cacti because they’re so easy to take care of, when they flower, you will be amazed at the vibrancy and beauty of the blooms that appear on these seemingly sometimes plain, thorny plants.
Here’s a collection of the most spectacular flowering cacti that you’re ever going to come across.
1 Ariocarpus fissuratus (False Peyote or Living Rock)
This interesting cactus with flowers has large bright pink flowers that can be up to 2 inches (5 cm) in diameter. These can last for around 3 to 4 days. The flowers look even more spectacular because they grow from the white wooly crown on top of the cactus.
This is regarded as a geophyte cactus in that it grows low to the ground and will retract even further into the soil during severe drought conditions. The cactus stems are arranged in a flat rosette and have no spines.
2 Astrophytum myriostigma (Bishop’s cap)
This is a delightful little blooming cactus plant that has the most spectacular glossy yellow flowers. These grow from the crown and can reach a length of 3 inches (7.5 cm). To add to their beauty, these flowers are also sweetly-scented.
The cactus itself grows as a solitary stem that is spineless. It is strongly segmented into five plump sections. This gives the appearance of a Bishop’s cap from above. To add to the allure, the bright green stem is covered with numerous tiny white hairy scales which give the plant a mottled appearance.
3 Astrophytum ornatum (Monk’s hood)
When looking at this rather spiny cactus, you won’t believe the beauty that it displays when it flowers. These blooms are canary yellow and can be up to 3 inches (7.5 cm) long. They grow on the crown and usually appear in summer.
The cactus plant grows as a globular stem with 5 to 10 very distinct ribs. Rather dangerous-looking brown spines grow from the areoles on the ridges of the ribs.
The dark green stems are covered with white wooly flakes giving the plant a speckled appearance. The plant itself can grow to a height of around 6.6 feet (2 m).
4 Cereus spegazzinii (Moonlight cactus)
This is slightly different from the other cacti on our list as it only flowers at night. But, the flowers are absolutely magnificent and are quite prolific.
The outer petals or segments of the flowers are a gorgeous deep pink color and the inner petals are pure white and tinged with a blush of pink. These flowers can be up to 5.2 inches (13 cm) long and can reach a diameter of 3.6 inches (9 cm).
The plant itself has a creeping habit with long cylindrical stems that are blue-green in color. It’s a good one to grow in a hanging pot or in a pot that has a trellis to support the many stems and branches.
5 Disocactus flagelliformis (Rat tail)
This lovely flowering cactus is a favorite with many indoor plant growers. It has the most amazing long green, hanging stems that can grow to a length of 3.3 feet (1 m). Each stem has numerous ribs and these are covered with tiny, golden spines.
When it flowers, this cactus really puts on an incredible display. The bright pink flowers are tubular and appear along the lengths of the stems. Each flower can reach a length of 3 inches (7.5 cm).
6 Echinocereus engelmanii (Strawberry hedgehog)
This spiny cactus flower plant can be found in many desert regions in the United States. It’s a columnar cactus that has the habit of forming large clumps. The flowers on this plant are outstanding. They range in color from purple to deep magenta and are cup-shaped.
The centers are yellow and they bloom profusely for several days. These gorgeous blooms are followed by spiny red fruits.
7 Echinocereus triglochidiatus (Claret cup)
This species is quite similar to the strawberry hedgehog cactus except that the flowers are a lovely orange to bright red color. The plant forms clumps in a similar way and each stem is covered in yellow to gray spines.
The flowers are large and can be up to 3.2 inches (8 cm) long and around 1.2 inches (3 cm) in diameter.
8 Echinopsis chamaecereus (Peanut cactus)
There’s a reason this species is called peanut cactus. It’s a heavily branched cactus that produces many pale green, finger-like stems. These look just like peanuts except that they’re covered with soft white bristles. Over time, the plant can form a jumbled mound with numerous, tightly packed stems.
When it flowers, it’s surely a magnificent sight to see. The blooms are orange-red in color and can be quite prolific. They can reach a size of around 2 inches (5 cm) in diameter with lovely pointed petals.
9 Echinopsis famatimensis (Orange cob)
This small slow-growing cactus looks quite adorable with its round shape and the numerous yellow wooly areoles set closely along the ridges of the ribs. From these areoles grow numerous spines that are flattened against the stem. These spines are generally white.
The true surprise comes when the plant decides to flower. Massive blooms appear from the crown and these almost obscure the lovely cactus below. These flowers are tubular with many petals that have sharp tips. Colors can range from yellow to burnt orange.
10 Echinopsis spachiana (Golden torch)
If you love white-flowering cacti, you’re going to adore this species. The lovely white blooms are massive and can reach a diameter of around 6 inches (15 cm). They generally appear at the tips of each stem.
The stems are columnar but branch from the base at ground level. With the right conditions, this cactus can reach a height of 7 feet (2 m). Each stem is covered with spines growing from the 10 to 15 ribs.
11 Gymnocalycium anisitsii
This cactus might be small but the flowers are not. The gorgeous blooms are white or pink and funnel-shaped. Each flower can be up to 2.4 inches (6 cm) long. This is quite amazing since the cactus itself only reaches a height of around 4 inches (10 cm) and a diameter of 6 inches (15 cm).
It’s a globular cactus with somewhat flattened stems that have rather long and twisted spines.
12 Gymnocalycium baldianum (Dwarf chin cactus)
When this little cactus is flush with blooms, you’re unlikely to see the green cactus below. The flowers are funnel-shaped and can be up to 1.6 inches (4 cm) in diameter. However, you might find that several flowers will bloom at once on the crown of the plant. Flower colors will vary including red, pink, purple, orange or white.
This chin cactus has slightly flattened globular stems that have around 9 to 10 ribs with the dented chins that are common to many Gymnocalycium species. The spines are mostly radial.
13 Gymnocalycium denudatum (Spider cactus)
You’ll be absolutely delighted when you first witness a spider cactus in full bloom. The gorgeous flowers are simply amazing as they obscure the little cactus underneath. These flowers are traditionally creamy white but some cultivars have been developed with lovely pink flowers as well.
The little plant itself is also quite unusual. It has a somewhat flattened globular bright green stem with numerous wide ribs. There are white wooly areoles on the flattened ribs and from these grow long whitish spines that are flattened against the stem. This gives them the appearance of white wooly spiders.
14 Mammillaria spinosissima (Spiny pincushion)
When this spiny cactus blooms, you’ll be presented with a ring of lovely purple or pink blooms appearing on the crown. Although the flowers are small compared to some others, their profusion makes for a highly attractive display.
The cactus itself is cylindrical in form and has a blue-green stem with an extremely dense covering of spines. This plant only grows to a height of around 12 inches (30 cm).
15 Mammillaria zeilmanniana (Rose pincushion)
This is another cactus that will amaze you with its profusion of flowers. These also appear in a ring around the crown of the plant and are normally pale pink in color. They also have deeper pink centers.
The cylindrical stem only grows to around 5 inches (12.5 cm) tall and is densely covered in spines giving it the common name of “pincushion”.
16 Parodia magnifica (Balloon cactus)
Not only does this Parodia magnifica plant have the most exquisite shiny pale lemon flowers but it’s also very attractive when not in bloom. It’s a ball cactus that has deep ribs in a blue-green color.
On the ridges of the ribs are closely spaced wooly areoles from which short, bristly spines grow. This cactus has the most magnificent symmetrical shape which makes it ideal for indoor plantscaping. It only grows to a height of around 8 inches (20 cm) and a diameter of around 6 inches (15 cm).
17 Rebutia heliosa
This lovely small cactus has the most vibrant orange blooms. These flowers are funnel-shaped and can last up to 10 days. They can be up to 2 inches (5 cm) long and reach a diameter of around 1.6 inches (4 cm),
The short cylindrical stems of the plant are covered densely with brown areoles. From these, short silvery-white spines grow. This diminutive cactus rarely grows taller than 1.4 inches (3.5 cm) but has the tendency to form large clumps.
18 Rebutia narvaecensis (Aylostera cactus)
This spiny cactus produces the most glorious pale pink blooms. The flowers can be so profuse that they completely hide the prickly cactus stem below. This small cactus is clustering and forms low mounds from the base of the plant.