What Are Flowering Succulents
Succulents were one of the neglected flowering plants. But their time is at the peak now, as they became popular as a modern, low maintenance plant.
Succulent means juicy, and these plants live up to the name. Succulents store extra water in their stems and leaves, as they are used to drought their natural habitat. So, they have thick, waxy stems and leaves that retain water and make it possible to survive in harsh conditions.
When we say drought, the first association would be cacti, right? And you guessed it. Almost all the cacti are succulent plants, among with few other plant types. Sadly, not all succulents flower, but the ones that do are simply beautiful. So, this article will be about flowering succulents.
Benefits of Growing Flowering Succulents
People adored succulents for centuries, but nowadays, they have gained new popularity. They are great for small house gardens, as an office plant, or as an original gift. So, what caused the sudden succulent popularity?
- Flowering succulents are low maintenance plants. They need a lot of sunlight and little to no watering and pruning. And that’s about it. You can grow cacti in your garden or your home using just a few advice from us.
- They are fun to collect. As flowering succulents can go in a plethora of colors, shapes, and sizes, you can have a big collection of different plants. Start with the usual aloe vera and end with the world’s best rare succulents.
- Flowering succulents don’t attract pests. As they don’t need a lot of water, pests won’t find the succulent pot interesting. Also, succulents have hard, waxy leaves that most of the pests find hard to chew on.
- They are easy to acquire. Succulents are easy to propagate, transport, and ship. Also, growing different types of succulents from seeds is fun yet lucrative hobby. Hence, flowering succulents have a lower price than most of the other house plants.
Types of Succulents
In everyday jargon, the term ‘succulent’ can mean a variety of plants. However, once you get to know them, you will find different horticultural terms that might confuse you. But we are here to save the day! So:
- Succulents usually refer to the succulent plants with roots. You will recognize them easily as they have broad leaves or stems. Also, they come in a variety of shapes and colors.
- Airplants are also known as Tillandsia plants. They are succulents too, but without roots, and they absorb the water with the whole body. So, they require different care than root succulents.
- Cacti. As already said, most of the cacti are succulents. But, without wanting to cause horticultural mayhem, it’s easier just to call them cacti. Technically, they are succulents, and you are right, but just go with the cacti term.
- Fake (faux) succulents. Yes, that exists, too. Obviously, some people just can’t take proper care of their plants, so they choose artificial ones. The artificial succulents can have flowers, and they are usually very well disguised so that an untrained eye won’t notice the difference.
Pros and Cons of Flowering Succulents
- Easy to acquire.
- Low maintenance plants.
- A plethora of colors, scents, and shapes.
- Flowering succulents need a lot of light and a mild temperature. If you live in a rainy area, you will need to invest in extra grow light.
- You will get hooked. When you once start to collect flowering succulents, it becomes hard to stop.
How to Make Flowering Succulents Bloom
As any lady, flowering succulent also needs some extra attention if you want it to bloom. Here are some things you need to take care of if you want your succulent to bloom.
As most succulents grow in an extreme temperature habitat, perhaps you can’t provide them a temperature high enough or low enough. So, you will need to move your tropical flowering succulents outside in the summer months. However, the movement should be gradual so that the succulents can adjust to higher temperatures.
If you happen to possess cold environment succulents, they will need the winter cold to bloom in spring. So, you will need to provide a cold and sunny place in your garden for them.
Fertilizer is food for your plant. And when your succulent is blooming, it needs extra food. Choose a fertilizer with higher levels of phosphorus to speed up the bloom. 10-15-10 is a great choice. Before the blooming, it’s best to choose a half-strength fertilizer and use it once in thirty days.
When blooming, succulents need some extra water to produce flowers. If they don’t get additional water, succulents will use the reserves from the stems and leaves. They will survive, but they won’t bloom. Your job is to provide that extra few water drops.
When your flowering succulents enter the blooming period, you should water them until the excess water comes draining. After you water your succulents this way, they don’t need any extra watering for some time. When you notice the surface soil is dry, water your plants again the same way. In the dormancy period, your flowering succulents need to be watered less often.
A high percent of succulents need direct light only half of the day. So, a window facing the south or west would make the perfect location. If you live in a rainy area, you will probably need an extra lamp to make your succulent bloom. However, some succulents will bloom only in full shade. Some of those nyctophilia bloomers are Haworthias, Gasterias, and some species of Aloe.
Photoperiodism is a reaction to the dark periods of the day. It occurs in all living organisms, and flowering succulents are no exception. Photoperiodism is closely connected to the biological clock of animals, plants, and humans.
Succulents from the warmer habitats need a longer light period and shorter nights to bloom. However, cold climate succulents will need the opposite conditions to bloom. Check the origin of your succulent to help its bloom.
17 Most Popular Flowering Succulents
Also known as Schlumbergera bridgesii, this is one of the most popular flowering succulents. Christmas Cactus comes from the tropical forests, so it needs to be watered more often. For the Christmas Cactus to start blooming, one of the conditions must be met:
- Night temperature should be between 50 and 55F.
- If the temperature is between 55 and 70F, secure 13 hours of total darkness to your cactus.
- If the temperature is above 70F, your plant will need 15 hours of total darkness.
Bear in mind that total darkness means total darkness. So, cover your Christmas Cactus with a piece of cloth, or place it somewhere dark.
Crown of Thorns
This flowering succulent is almost extinct in its native habitat, the isle of Madagascar. Its scientific name (Euphorbia milii var. splendens) comes from Euphorbus, an ancient Greek medic.
Crown of thorns needs dry soil and full exposure to the sun. It can bloom at various time of the year:
- January – February
- March – April
- November – December
It blooms in bright red/pink color and makes a perfect addition to your little desert garden.
In the botanical world known as Mammillaria Semperviva, this little fella will grow only a couple of inches tall. However, it has beautiful white and pink flowers that will bloom in March and April. That is if you provide him with full sunlight/partial shade and moderate conditions of moisture. This little ball-shaped cactus is full of white hook-shaped spines that will ruin the day for you, your pet, and your child. A high shelf is the best choice for the Pincushion cactus.
A Chilean native plant, rock purslane (Calandrinia spectabilis), will bloom in pink and purple flowers to attract bugs for the whole summer. It’s a good choice for rock gardens, as well as for the xeriscaping.
Rock purslane will appreciate full sunlight, with a little shade in the afternoon. It will prosper on the sandy or gritty soil, but any well-drained soil will do the trick.
In the late fall, you should cut down your rock purslane to cca 6 inches.
Also known as Echeveria, this is one of the most beautiful flowering succulents you will ever lay your eyes on. Just take a look at those 12-inch pink leaves in the form of the rose. The flowers are orange-red, and they appear in summer. Interesting, but most of the gardeners remove the flowers, as the leaves are more beautiful.
Afterglow is almost disease-free, so it’s a great choice for succulent gardens, rock gardens, and Mediterranian gardens.
With the Latin name of Conophytum Calucus and a fear of the cold temperatures, this flowering succulent has one of a kind look. You should plant the marble buttons indoor and give him enough sunlight. If you make it happy, this little living rock will reward you with the bloom in the spring and the yellow/orange flowers in the fall.
Also known as Kalanchoe blossfeldiana, this is one of the flowering succulents that are easy to grow. They can bloom in a variety of colors, from plain white to bright red. Kalanchoes prefer medium to high light conditions. As for the watering, they will need it once every two weeks.
According to aspca.com, kalanchoes may be toxic to your cats or dogs, so they are best kept somewhere out of reach.
The Jade plant (Crassula ovata) is a symbol of good luck. It has pink and white star-shaped flowers that bloom in the late winter or earlier in the spring.
The Jade plant will require the full sun to grow and bloom properly. They are fans of room temperatures but prefer a bit colder environment on the winter nights.
Purple Ice Plant
With fascinating sharp shaped leaves and the ability to grow quickly, the purple ice plant (Delosperma cooperi) is highly recommendable for a groundcover. It blooms in summer and fall, and the purple flowers are much similar to daisies.
Purple ice plants are an excellent choice for xeriscapes, sandy soils, and rock gardens. They prefer full sun to partial shade, drained soil, and average moisture.
Hesperaloe parviflora, known as red yucca, isn’t actually yucca but an agave. It blooms almost for a whole year, and the flowers are rose-pink. Red yucca can grow up to 4 feet wide and tall. It fits perfectly for rock, Mediterranian, rustic and xeric gardens. It needs low amounts of water and high amounts of direct sunlight.
Coming from Argentina, peanut cactus goes by the scientific name of Echinopsis chamaecereus. When grown indoors, it prefers as much sun as you can give it to him. If you give him that, it will reward you with red and orange blooms. Peanut cactus has a large bloom that appears in the late spring and the start of the summer.
Cobweb (Sempervivum arachnoideum) is one of the monocarpic flowering succulents. That means it will die after the blooming. It has an interesting appearance, as the leaves are covered with webby substance. Cobweb succulents make a splendid groundcover for sunny areas.
Cobwebs rarely bloom, especially when kept indoors. If it happens, it will take place in the second half of the summer. Flowers will be red and will symbolize the end of your succulent’s life. Remove the dead plant after the blooming stops.
Aloe family has more than 500 members, and most of them are great for growing in your gardens or indoors. Some of the most common ones are:
- Sunset aloe (Aloe Dorothea)
- Spiral aloe (Aloe polyphylla)
- Guido aloe (Aloe ‘Guido’)
- Carmine aloe (Aloe ‘Carmine‘)
- Aloe vera (Aloe vera), probably the most famous member of the family.
Aloes form rosettes of leaves, full of natural juice. Their color varies from gray to blue and green, depending on the type. Most of the aloes bloom in the summer, fall, and winter. They prefer full sun, with protection from a noon sun.
Desert Rose Plant
This tropical flowering succulent is specific in one thing. Desert rose (Adenium obesum) keeps the extra water in a swollen trunk (known as caudex). As it is a tropical plant, it can sometimes be hard to grow indoors.
Desert roses have a thing for high temperatures, bright light, and well-drained soil. If you provide that, desert rose will reward you with pink, white or red flowers. In the cold climate, desert rose will bloom only in spring or summer. But if you live in hotter places, your desert rose can bloom all year.
Known as Huernia zebrina, these flowering succulents are one of the most unusual plants you can acquire. Their blooms are star-shaped with a thick center. The stems are four-sided with soft ‘teeth’ on the edges.
Lifesaver cactus is a fan of the hot climate, as any cacti out there. But they prefer shade rather than direct sunlight. Lifesaver can bloom from fall to the late winter. The color and the stripes of the flower will depend on the light and the temperature.
Ideal for hanging baskets, orchid cactus (Epiphyllum hybrids) blooms from spring to summer. Depending on the type, the flowers can be in various colors. This type of flowering succulent has perhaps the most spectacular flowers you will ever see in your house. As their natural habitat is dry, with bit cooler temperatures during the night, try to mimic those conditions. It’s one of the premium hanging succulents to choose from for your home.
Ruby Ball (Moon Cactus)
This little fella has a long botanical name (Gymnocalycium mihanovichii) and can bloom the whole year-round. Ruby ball cactus is very popular in the cactus dish gardens. They are small and can bloom in at least 16 different color nuances, depending on the type. They are more than simple to keep alive. Just keep them far from direct sunlight.
How to Care for Your Flowering Succulents
Step 1 – Choose the pot with drainage holes
Most of the succulents prefer a dry climate. Overwatering your succulent will only lead to rotten roots, diseases, and even death of your plant. So, choose a good quality pot with drainage slots for excess water. And don’t overwater your succulents.
Step 2 – Choose the proper soil
As most of the succulents are used to dry soil, you should mimic that environment indoors, too. Use the proper type of soil, and make sure it drains well. The most common choice is the cactus soil. However, you can make your own mix using sand, perlite, and potting soil. If you are new in the succulent world, it’s best to buy premade soil for the first time.
Step 3 – Praise the Sun
Your flowering succulents need sunlight, plenty of it. Most of them need at least 6 hours of full sun daily. Some of the flowering succulents are not fans of the direct sunlight, so bear that in mind, too. You will have to rotate your plants from time to time so they grow straight and not lean onto the sunny side.
Step 4 – Keep your succulents warm
Most of the succulents need a summer temperature of 70-80F. In the winter, they will prosper in 50-60F temperature. If the temperature is too high or too low, your succulents will probably catch a disease.
Step 5 – Water your succulents
In winter, your flowering succulents need a lot less water than in the summer months. Water the soil directly and avoid spraying any water on the plant. When the excess water starts spilling from draining holes, you are sure you watered your succulent properly. Don’t water it again until the top inch of the soil feels dry.
Step 6 – Fertilize your succulents
Flowering succulents don’t need too much fertilizer. However, in the spring and summer, you can add some lighter fertilizer to help your plant grow. In the blooming season, add a small amount of fertilizer with phosphorus to enhance the flower growth.
Step 7 – Inspect your succulents
Although rare, bugs can be a nasty issue for your indoor flowering succulents. Bugs mostly appear if you overwater and overfertilize your plant. If your succulent has a big bug problem, isolate it from the other plants. Then, spray the soil (not the plant) with 70% rubbing alcohol.
Do’s and Don’ts With Flowering Succulents
- Study all the factors that determine the right soil for growing succulents. Soil needs to be dry, aerated, and drain quickly. Otherwise, it won’t be effective.
- Start collecting the succulents and include yourself in the online communities.
- Take proper care of your plants. If you can’t, get a faux flowering succulent.
- Do keep your plants away from your pets. Some of the flowering succulents can be toxic for your cat or dog.
- Choosing the right pot for repotting succulents is important. Don’t overlook it.
- Don’t neglect your succulent. Flowering succulents are easy to maintain, but they are not indestructible.
- Don’t forget to take care of your office plant. If you are going on a vacation, ask someone reliable to take care of it.
FAQ About the Flowering Succulents
Why won’t my succulent bloom?
Succulents will usually bloom if they are mature enough and satisfied with the growing conditions. If you recently propagated your succulents, they will need at least five years to bloom. And some species of cacti don’t bloom unless they are 30 years old. The best choice is to find out the scientific name of your succulent. Then, find the info about blooming. Who knows, maybe your succulent doesn’t even bloom!
Can you plant succulent flowers?
Propagating succulent flowers won’t work. But, planting the seeds from the succulent flowers will do the trick. Of course, your succulent flower must be pollinated first.
However, most of the succulents will propagate from the stems and leaves. This is a great and cheap way to multiply your succulent collection in no time.
Do flowering succulents die after flowering?
Luckily, most of the succulents won’t die after flowering. However, the monocarpic succulents will die after flowering. This event is widely known as ‘the bloom of death.’ The most common monocarpic succulents are:
- Almost all Aeoniums
- Almost all Agave
The position of the flower is one of the ways to recognize if your succulent is monocarpic or not. Monocarpic succulents have a flower that grows straight from the center of the plant. Also, when monocarpic succulent flower, the whole plant seemingly transforms into a bloom stalk. There is no way to stop the flowering of the monocarpic succulent. But, be proud that you took good care of your succulent, and it didn’t die in vain.
Do all succulents flower?
Unfortunately, no. You can nourish and love your succulents as much as you will, but some succulents just don’t flower. Also, if you have a succulent that should flower, and it’s not yet happening, you might be doing something wrong. Remember, succulents need the right temperature and a lot of sunlight to bloom.
When do succulents bloom?
Depending on the succulent type, they bloom at different times of the year. There is no rule of thumb here, and your succulents can bloom anywhere from early spring to late winter.
Should you cut the succulents flowers?
It depends on your personal preferences. We consider all flowers beautiful, and succulents are not an exception. However, some people cut the succulent flowers as soon as they appear. They do that to preserve the succulent’s energy and focus it on growth.
Different succulent plants have different blooms. You will be amazed by the diversity of shapes and smells different succulent flowers can have. But if you cut the flowers, you will never find out.
What to do after succulents bloom?
After the bloom, the flowers can stay fresh for up to several months, depending on the succulent type. After that time, flowers start to dry and look generally unattractive. So, it’s time to remove the dry flowers. Use a very sharp pair of scissors and cut the flower stalk. Try to cut it as close as you can, and don’t damage the leaves. After you removed the bloom, you can get back to the usual process of caring for your succulent.
Flowering succulents are a great way to brighten up your indoors. Also, they will clean your air and help you feel more relaxed. If you are a fan of low maintenance plants and willing to put that extra mile to get them to bloom, then flowering succulents are the right choice for your home.
Photos from: ArgRU / depositphotos.com, Sergieiev / depositphotos.com, changephoto / depositphotos.com, Vaitekune / depositphotos.com, khuntapoldep / depositphotos.com and SB_Stock / depositphotos.com.