Colourful, flashy, ephemeral. Cactus blooms are sudden bursts of energy. Often the buds develop in a few days to open within few hours, amazing the newcomers to the cultivation of these plants and, above all, those who are not familiar with succulents. In these last few years, I have noticed that there is a lot of misinformation about cacti, in particular about their blooms. Those who do not cultivate these plants can even be surprised that they can bloom, no more or less than the specimens of all the other plant families, forgetting that the flower is the basis of the reproduction of almost all plants. Others are impressed to learn that even cacti can bloom in abundance and several times during the growing season, thinking perhaps that the flowering of a cactus is an exceptional event, almost unique. Nothing could be more wrong: all the cacti regularly bloom, and if there are relatively stingy species, that can produce few flowers for limited periods during the year, there are also really generous species, able to give blooms several times for entire months (for example Echinopsis, Astrophytum, Strombocactus, Gymnocalycium, Trichocereus).
Summer is a relatively quiet season for those who grow cacti. Things to do, in fact, are not that many. Preventive treatments have already been done, and repotting, although repotting can be done at any time if necessary, should be suspended at this time, when the plants are in vegetation and in full bloom.
Fertilizations should also be stopped at this time, confining them to spring and September. Overall, the bulk of the work in the weeks from mid-June through August focuses on watering, which will need to be calibrated according to the species being grown. In some cases, with certain plants, it will be appropriate to suspend them altogether to avoid stagnation and rot.
Indeed, there are plants that vegetate well even in these months and plants that slow down their vegetation. Still others, in the warmer months, such as July and August, stop vegetation altogether to resume growth at the time of September, as soon as the maximum temperatures have dropped slightly. This phenomenon, the halting of vegetation coinciding with the hottest weeks, is called “summering,” and it is good to know its effects to avoid risks in cultivation.
In the following article we look in detail at what we have to do in the run-up to summer to best prepare cacti and succulents and avoid problems. (…)