Blooming Your Cactus Through Pollination!

How nice is it that your cactus or succulent is about to bloom! Often really beautiful flowers in all different shapes and colors. But also a thank you from your plant for taking good care of it. Of course you can also just enjoy the flower, but would you like to get seed to try sowing, or do you want edible fruits on, for example, your Opuntia or Ferocactus? Then we will take you in this post how you can pollinate your cactus and succulent plant.

What Do You Need?

Most cacti and succulents have stamens and a stigma. The stamens are the male part and the stigma the female part. The stamens release the pollen and this has to end up on the stigma again. With a few exceptions, you need 2 different plants for this to be successful. So you need 2 cactus or 2 succulents of 1 species for pollination. Fortunately, many cactus and succulent species bloom at the same time, so this makes it a lot easier.

Now there are also some exceptions. We have put them down for you below. One makes it really easy for you and the other a lot more difficult.

The cactus species Frailea. This cactus can pollinate itself even without the flower opening. The flower opens only on warm sunny days. But usually you see a flower bud and it automatically turns into a seed berry.

Euphorbia species. These species are either male or female. So one plant only has a stigma and the other stamens in its flowers. This can be a challenge because some species such as Euphorbia obesa mainly contain male plants.

Caudex species. In many caudex species such as Dioscorea and Fockea, the flowers are of one genus, just like the Euphorbia. These species often only flower when they are very old. As a result, it is a long wait until you know which genus your plant is.

In addition to needing one or more plants, you also need something to transfer the pollen from one plant to the stigma of another. For this you can use a brush or small brush, a cotton swab or tweezers to remove the pollen from the flower and use it to pollinate.

Natural Pollination

Not only you but also the natural pollinators such as flies, wasps and subspecies can pollinate the flowers of your cactus and succulents. This is, for example, a nice option if you have many of these insects in your garden. Then you can put your flowering cactus or succulent plant in between and it will be pollinated. Bee species are especially fond of cactus flowers and those of lithops species. Hoverflies often prey on the bell-shaped flowers of Echeveria and Haworthia, and flies often target carrion flower species such as Orbeas and Huernias. This is our experience with which insects are attracted to what. Now it is of course also very nice to just try it out and see how the insects in your own garden, balcony or other place where you have your plants react to the beautiful flowers.

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