Succulents have some of the most beautiful flowers in the entire plant kingdom, but these blooms come and go very quickly, making it tricky to catch them when they do. This brings up a question plenty of succulent owners want answered, when exactly do succulents bloom?
A succulent’s blooming time varies. Some bloom in the spring and summer, while others bloom in the fall. Most succulents still flower during the warmer months because these plants need light in order to flower.
Why do succulents flower?
Succulents are still plants, which means they need to reproduce. They produce flowers for the same reason all plants do, which is to attract pollinators.
Their flowers have the reproductive parts of the plant, and their bright colors and sweet scents attract birds, butterflies, and bees. These pollinators will aid in pollination which will result in seed production. In a nursery, these seeds can be harvested and germinated to produce new plants. Of course, this is a more laborious way of propagating succulents because leaf or stem propagation is quicker.
Do all succulents flower?
No, not all succulents will flower. Even some of those that do flower may take years before they do. There are those that do flower despite being young plants, but most flowering succulents wait until they have matured to flower.
Flowering periods also depend on the plant’s living conditions such as the temperature, the amount of light it gets, and in general just how much their living conditions simulate their natural habitats.
When do succulents bloom?
Different species of succulents have different blooming times, but no matter where these same species of succulents may be in the world, they all bloom in the same season as they would in their natural habitat.
Sempervivums bloom only after their second or third year of life.
Crassulas, Euphorbias, Mammillarias, and Aloes bloom at the beginning of the year.
In early spring, Echeverias, Aeoniums, and Agaves will flower. While most flowering cacti will only bloom after spring rain.
In middle to late spring until early summer, most succulents will flower, such as Gasterias, Sedums, Echeverias, and Kalanchoes.
Come fall season, the Holiday cactus will flower.
Echeverias, Glottiphyllum, Cerochlamys, Pachypodium, Agave, Lithops, and Cremnosedum will start blooming at the end of the year.
Will a succulent die after flowering?
While a few succulents do die after flowering, most survive. The ones that do die after flowering are called monocarpic plants. These plants’ flowers are often called the bloom of death because it is a beautiful omen for the plant’s impending death. Examples of monocarpic plants are Agave plants, Aeonium plants, and Sempervivums.
One of the most notable ways to tell if a plant is monocarpic is by looking at the way its flowers bloom. If the flower makes it look as though the entire plant stalk is transforming from the center, it is most likely a monocarpic plant. Succulents that do not die after flowering usually bloom from the sides.
Unfortunately, there is nothing one can do to keep a monocarpic plant from dying after a bloom since that is their inherent nature. So, enjoy the beautiful flowers while they are around.
Fortunately, monocarpic plants reproduce very quickly so even if the mother plant has died after flowering, they will have left you with plenty of baby plants to tide you over.
What makes a succulent bloom?
Most succulents are native to dry desert areas all over the world. This means that they prefer higher temperatures, such as those during the summer, to help with their blooming chemistry.
Oftentimes, climate-controlled houses cannot provide the necessary temperatures for succulents to bloom. Fortunately, these indoor plants can simply be moved to an outdoor setting to get more light than they normally do in order to start flowering.
Succulents that come from winter desserts will need winter dormancy so they can be ready to bloom in the spring.
Another important thing to ensure is that you are properly watering your plant so that it can grow well and produce flower buds. If plants do not get enough water, they will look to their own water stores in their tissues to survive the drought. These plants will live, but they will not be able to produce flowers.
During your succulent’s growing phase, make sure you are soaking their soil with water until the excess starts flowing through the drainage holes at the bottom of the pot. Only water again if the top inch of soil is dry to the touch.
In nature, succulents get a lot of natural light even if they grow under the shade of trees and bushes. This can be difficult to simulate for indoor plants.
For indoor cacti, place them in a southern or eastern window so they get plenty of sunlight for half a day and shade for the rest of the day. This light should be enough to help them produce flowers. If a globular cacti is reaching or stretching for light, they will not flower.
If you have no access to strong natural sunlight, you can buy a grow light for your succulents.
Making sure your succulents flower is important because it is a vital part of their proliferation. They need to be able to bloom for the continuation of their species.
Succulents will need to be fertilized so they can have what they need to actually produce the flowers. They need sufficient nutrients to flower effectively. Their natural soil in the desert is usually packed with plenty of these nutrients because there is very little rain to wash out the nutrients.
Make sure to fertilize the succulents in the spring while they are growing. You can use half-strength fertilizer once a month while the plant is growing and stopping in the late summer or early fall.
Succulents bloom during different times of the year. What is constant is that all of the same species of succulent, whether they are in their natural habitat or in someone’s garden in North America, will all bloom in the same season.
There are succulents that bloom in the beginning of the year, early spring, summer, fall, or even during the winter.
Succulent bloom will also depend on the temperature, water, light, and fertilizer in their current living conditions.
Image: istockphoto.com / PaytonVanGorp