How to Pollinate a Cactus Flower (and watching them bloom)

How to Pollinate a Cactus flower, including a mini time lapse of them blooming and some macro views!

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Watch as my Parodia/Notocactus buiningii puts out 4 blooms for us- a 5th is on the way but it’s going to be a while longer.

The first bloom began to open on March 17th. The second and third started opening the next day. The fourth began to open on March 23. And guess what? THEY SMELL! Not great, but they have a strange licorice meets plastic odor- not all cacti flowers are fragrant so this was a neat surprise! Yay spring!!

Not all cacti are self-fertile either, meaning they need another plant to cross with in order to produce viable seeds. Lucky for us, this dude is… or is supposed to be. We’ll find out eventually!

In this video you’ll see me using a small brush to cover the stigma with pollen from the surrounding stamens. I wait a day after a flower blooms to pollinate because I want to make sure it’s ripe and ready, and to give nature a chance to complete the task before I step in. Now we wait and see if the flower goes to fruit…if everything goes well, the fruit will make us a lot of viable seeds.

I’m not sure how long it will take, but I’m guessing at least a month and up to three. I’ll update this with the results as soon as I know the answer. I have had this cactus planted in the ground (in Houston, Texas!) for several months but I have a feeling it may need some shade come mid-summer. I will either add a physical barrier to shade it or relocate it if it seems to struggle.

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