Deadheading A Cactus – Should Cactus Blooms Be Deadheaded

Close Up Of Cactus With Pink Flowers
deadhead cactus
(Image credit: HearttoHeart0225)

Your cacti are established and settled into your beds and containers, flowering on a regular basis. Once you’re getting regular flowers, you may wonder what to do with spent blooms and ask should cactus blooms be deadheaded?

This is a good question, but before you jump in and start working with faded flowers among the painful spines, let’s look more closely to see if it’s always necessary to deadhead cactus flowers.

Should Cactus Blooms Be Deadheaded?

Sometimes, deadheading a cactus is not needed, as blooms drop when they’re finished. Removing spent cactus blooms is easier in this situation, you can just pick them up from the ground or other area where they’ve fallen. Careful, though, you may still have to get near the dreaded spines that can cause painful punctures.

Other faded blossoms cling to the plant and can create rot following a rain. After a few times of seeing this happen, you’ll know which to watch in this situation. Should cactus blooms be deadheaded? Yes, in this situation, it is best to remove them quickly after the bloom is spent.

Look for seeds that may reproduce BEFORE removing. If you know that names of the flowering cacti that grow in your landscape, look them up to see if they might produce viable seeds. If so, seeds will likely be in a pod near the flowering area, or possibly inside the flower. Seeds may need to mature before planting. This is a great way to multiply your existing cacti.

All cacti can bloom. Some need time, such as the Saguaro, which flowers when it is 30 years or older. Others need special conditions, like certain temperatures or full sunlight, to produce blooms. Try to learn about those you grow for information of the conditions necessary for flowers.

How to Deadhead a Cactus

Many people remove spent blooms as flowers fade to keep plants healthy and the garden looking its best. If you want to deadhead cactus flowers, wear thick gloves, especially if you have several plants to work with. Long sleeves may be needed sometimes or long pants. Try to avoid painful pricks when working with your cactus.

This is a good time to look for pests and check the soil conditions too. You may even find an additional bonus, like seeds, inside the faded flowers that have fallen to the ground.

Becca Badgett

Becca Badgett was a regular contributor to Gardening Know How for ten years. Co-author of the book How to Grow an EMERGENCY Garden, Becca specializes in succulent and cactus gardening.