What to Do with a Succulent Bloom?

Succulent blooms are wonders of the plant world. They are equal parts surprising and stunning. Colorful and abundant. Do all succulents bloom? No. But many do! We’re here to give you all the information you need to fill your room with bloom.

Blooming cliff cotyledon with apricot flowers


The Why

Like many of your favorite flowering plants, succulents bloom to attract pollinators and sustain their species. Some succulents, like genus sempervivium, are monocarpic plants that only flower once. Their flowers are sometimes referred to as “death blooms” because they signify the end of the plant’s life. While that may seem a little sad and bittersweet, their seeds have incredible growing potential and offer a quick chance at rebirth. Polycarpic succulents, including many cacti, will exhibit seasonal blooms that are often less dramatic and far more regular than their monocarpic counterparts. While the purpose is the same, the stakes are lower since they will outlive their flowers. Some examples of seasonal blooming succulents include echeverias, cotyledons, and lithops.

Blooming parodia werneri cactus with pink-purple flowers


The When

Succulent blooms can be tricky to predict. Unlike dormant and growth periods that occur cyclically, a succulent needs ideal conditions and consistent plant care to even consider blooming. This is why late spring and early summer are ideal times for many succulents and cacti since they have time to receive plenty of light, heat, and nutrients that are absent in the winter. While winter is a dormant period for a lot of succulents, it’s still a very important season. Some succulents like the “Christmas Cactus” are even known to produce Christmastime flowers. Beyond that though, winter is also a great time to expose succulents and cacti to colder temperatures (even indoors). This will give them a greater chance to bloom since the conditions mimic their natural desert climate with cool winters and dry, hot summers.

Blooming rainbow burst cactus with pink flowers


One important thing to note is that younger succulents are less likely to produce flowers. Succulents generally need to mature for at least one or two years before they will start a normal cycle of blooming.

The How (to take care of a blooming succulent)

If your succulent is in bloom, chances are you’re already a pretty great plant parent. Growth is a process, and cultivating a bloom takes careful plant care and attention. But what happens once it has grown? How do you ensure optimal health for your plant and its flowers? 

Blooming corn cob cactus with pink and yellow flowers


The first thing is to make sure that your succulent receives plenty of light. An east or south-facing window will allow your succulent to receive that morning sun it craves and the energy it needs to sustain a strong bloom. Watering is also essential, and it’s likely that you’ll have to increase the frequency since your succulent is using more water than usual. Just make sure to stick to the soak and dry method and do not overwater!

Depending on the succulent, there may come a time when it is best to cut off the bloom and give your plant a chance to regain its strength. Besides, it takes a lot to blossom! There are two things to look for when determining whether a bloom should be removed. The first is leaf health. Are the leaves losing their color and shape? Do they appear pale or wilted? These are clear signs that the bloom is detracting from the succulent’s normal growth cycle and should be removed.

Blooming bishop's cap cactus with large yellow flower


The second thing to look for is pests. Blooms are meant to attract pollinators, but that also means pests. Staying alert for pests around your succulent’s bloom will let you know that it is time to get rid of it. Remember that cutting off a succulent bloom will not harm the plant. It will simply allow it to move forward in the life cycle and redirect its precious energy towards continued growth.

A succulent bloom is a beautiful thing. Whether it happens annually or once in a lifetime, it is a moment to be appreciated and celebrated as it exemplifies the wonderful relationship you have with your plant.