June 2024 cactus flowers

It’s been a month since my last cactus flower posts in the third week of May (Echinopsis ‘Flying Saucer’ and ‘First Light’ here, the others here). Many of the cacti in our garden have been busy since then, so this is a fairly long post with lots of photos (and even a few videos). I know that including so many pictures may cause cactus flower fatigue in some of you, but I hope you’ll make it to the end – there’s a lot of beauty to enjoy.

Echinopsis ‘Napaea’, my favorite cactus flower this month

Figuring out how to best present so many photos is always a challenge. In my earlier post from May, I decided to go in alphabetical order. This time, I opted to sort my photos roughly in line with the color wheel. I’ll start with red (and related tints like pink) and continue to orange, yellow, and then purple. Sorry, no green and blue flowers this time.

Color wheel

Rat-tail cactus (Aporocactus flagelliformis)

The rat-tail cactus is a popular houseplant (Wikipedia says it was one the first cacti grown in cultivation in Europe), but in our garden it does just fine being outside year round. In the hot summer months, it likes quite a bit of water – not that it necessarily gets that from me. The flowers are much larger than you would expect from such thin stems.

Unidentified Epiphyllum hybrid

This orchid cactus was given to me by friends who moved to a different state. Like all epiphyllums it’s an assuming plant that doesn’t get much attention most of the year. But when it flowers, it’s quite a spectacle.

×Echinobivia ‘Rainbow Bursts’

This hybrid between an unidentified Echinopsis and Lobivia was introduced by Altman Plants and sold at big-box garden centers. It’s a heavy offsetter and a heavy bloomer.

Notocactus herteri ssp. roseoluteus

Notocactus and Parodia are related genera of globe-shaped cacti from South America. Most of them produce amazing flowers, typically yellow. In Notocactus flowers, the stigmas are red, in Parodia they’re yellow; that’s how I tell them apart.

Notocactus herteri ssp. roseoluteus is a standout because of its vibrant pink flowers with a yellow center. I have two roseoluteus, and both have produced multiple flushes of flowers this year. Just look at all the buds still coming!

Be sure to watch this video. It's cool!

Echinopsis ‘Napaea’

Last month, I had a couple of posts about echinopsis flowers (‘Flying Saucer’ and ‘First Light’ here, the others here). Since then, there’s hardly been a day without at least one echinopsis hybrid in flower. I’m usually much too indecisive to declare a favorite, but I will go on record and officially state that ‘Napaea’ has been my favorite echinopsis hybrid this year. Its flowers are much smaller than ‘Flying Saucer’, but they’re intensely fragrant when they first open – like an old-fashioned rose combined with star jasmine and a whiff of lemon. The yellow center of the flower is particularly spectacular when backlit by the morning sun.

Echinopsis ‘Sleeping Beauty’

While ‘Napaea’ is a crowd pleaser, ‘Sleeping Beauty’ is elegant and quiet. I’m hoping my attempts at crossing the two will be successful.

Echinopsis ‘Daydream’

I did declare ‘Napaea’ to be my favorite echinopsis hybrid, but ‘Daydream’ isn’t far behind. No explanation needed, just look at the photos below. I have three of them, so there have been a lot of ‘Daydream’ flowers this year.

Echinopsis ‘Tondelayo’

Can I pick three favorites? If so, ‘Tondelayo’ is in the top three with ‘Napaea’ and ‘Daydream’. The outer petals are a pale orange, gradating to an intensely vibrant darker orange. The throat is a greenish yellow, glowing when backlit.

Peanut cactus hybrid (Chamaecereus ‘Hot Flame’ )

Peanut cacti are really small – I suppose that’s where the name comes from. They’re happy in a 4-inch pot for a number of years. There are many hybrids out there; all of them pup and flower liberally. This one, ‘Hot Flame’, was given to me by my friend Kyle, and it’s been producing wave after wave of small flowers (about 1½ inch across) in several shades of orange.

Texas rainbow cactus (Echinocereus dasyacanthus var. ctenoides)

The Texas rainbow cactus is native to Texas and New Mexico and also found in northern Mexico. Unlike most Echinocereus, this species has yellow to yellow-orange flowers. I have both the species (see next entry) as well as variety ctenoides, which has slightly different spines.

Texas rainbow cactus (Echinocereus dasyacanthus)

This is the species, just as beautiful with its rich yellow flowers. In contrast to Echinopsis flowers, which typically last just a day, the flowers on this Echinocereus dasyacanthus opened for nine consecutive days!

Sand dollar cactus (Astrophytum asterias)

Astrophytums are popular collector plants because they’re happy in pots where they can be admired up close. For some reason, they’re very popular in Japan, and many different forms have been bred there. This is a (slightly) variegated Astrophytum asterias.

Goat’s horn cactus (Astrophytum capricorne)

As with Astrophytum asterias, there are a number of different forms of Astrophytum capricorne. This is a more unusual form, with long but non-lethal spines sticking out every which way.

Below is the classic form. I recently bought it from a tropical plant nursery in our area. It’s fairly large already, in a 5-gallon can, and it’ll go in ground soon.

Notocactus mammulosus

Above I showed you Notocactus roseoluteus with pink flowers. Here is Notocactus mammulosus, a close relative with yellow flowers that have a pronounced sheen when the sun hits them just right.

This is in full sun...

...and this in full shade

Notocactus werdermannianus

Notocactus and the closely related Parodia (originally two genera, then combined into Parodia, now split up again) are common and inexpensive. My friend Justin has given me several that he found at his local Ace Hardware store. All Notocactus and Parodia have showy flowers; this one is no exception.

Notocactus elegans

And another one. Similar to the ones above, and yet different. My Notocactus elegans is in a 4-inch pot, and it had so many flowers that you couldn’t even see the body.

Echinocereus poselgeri

Echinocereus poselgeri is a strange cactus, with thin stems that tend to flop over when they get taller. In its native habitat (southern Texas, northern Mexico), it grows in between shrubs and uses them for support. Its common name is the dahlia cactus because it forms tuberous roots similar to a dahlia’s. Some nurseries still sell it under its old name, Wilcoxia poselgeri.

Turk’s head cactus (Echinocactus horizonthalonius)

Echinocactus horizonthalonius has a wide range, from Arizona, New Mexico, and Texas south into Mexico, and a long list of colorful common names, including Turk’s head cactus, devil’s head cactus, eagle’s claw, horse maimer, and horse crippler. Clearly, this is a cactus that has annoyed a lot of people over the centuries. I love it for its blue-gray body with reddish gray spines and bright magenta flowers.

Rainbow cactus (Echinocereus rigidissimus var. rubrispinus)

This is the popular red-spined form of the rainbow cactus. While the species is found in southern Arizona, this form is only found in northern Sonora and northwestern Chihuahua. It’s a very popular cactus in cultivation – easy to grow, and a good rebloomer. I have four of them now.

Lace hedgehog (Echinocereus reichenbachii)

This small cactus has a wide range, from northeastern Mexico north into Colorado, New Mexico, Oklahoma, and Texas. My form has white spines.

Parodia mueller-melchersii subs. gutierrezii

This cactus may have a hard-to-pronounce name, but it sure has pretty flowers. My plant is in a 4-inch pot so it doesn’t take up much room. I like it when cacti bloom at young age; I’m becoming less and less patient.

Echinopsis ‘Shades of Bourne’

This hybrid was created by Southfield Nurseries in the UK. Many of their hybrids are named after the town of Bourne where the nursery is located.

Acanthocalycium spiniflorum

This species from Argentina is rarely seen in cultivation. I don’t know why, considering it’s an excellent grower and blooms several times in late spring and early summer.

Easter lily cactus (Echinopsis oxygona)

This species from southern Brazil, Uruguay, and northeastern Argentina has been used extensively in creating the colorful echinopsis hybrids we get to enjoy today.

Echinocereus pentalophus

Echinocereus pentalophus typically has magenta flowers. This is a white-flowering clone from the Huntington’s International Succulent Introductions program (ISI 2018-4).

Even though the peak of the cactus flower season is behind us for 2024, I can’t promise that this is the last related post of the year. After all, summer has just begun.

© Gerhard Bock, 2024. All rights reserved. To receive all new posts by email, please subscribe here.


  1. I love the rainbow approach to your presentation of cactus flowers, Gerhard. You have a splendid collection and I'm surprised at how big it is!

    FYI, the Epiphyllum I showed in my "late arrivals" post last week was 'Monastery Garden', not 'King Midas' as I'd originally guessed I posted photos of 'King Midas' on IG 2 days ago.

    1. I saw your 'King Midas' photos on Instagram. Those look just the photos on the Annie's Annuals website.

  2. Love the photos and videos! Echinobivia ‘Rainbow Bursts’ is one I have had for a long time but it never blooms for me. Maybe it needs more sun. I even took off a bunch of the pups thinking maybe that was why it was not blooming. Didn't know that the stigma on Parodia are always yellow and Notocactus are red! I learn so much from you.

    1. My friend Justin gave me that 'Rain Bursts' just recently and it already had buds. I would have thought it would flower even in some shade. Plants are weird!

      Another friend told me about the red vs. yellow stigmas on Notocactus / Parodia. Great way to distinguish the two. And from what I understand, they're two separate genera again, which makes total sense.

    2. Yes, so glad they separated them again. I hate all this lumping especially the Echinopsis!

  3. I kept changing my favorite as I read through the post! I went back through and must pick 'Daydream', although they are all beautiful. The yellow notocactus petals look almost made from silk. And I have to ask, I've never sniffed the Echinopsis flowers - where you laying on the ground Gerhard? hahaha, I will try to sniff the next one that blooms.

    1. oops, also meant to say the bee videos are great - the way they bustle around.

  4. Ah, good idea to share by rolling around the color wheel. They're all stunning! I'm going to go back now and watch the videos. Fun!

  5. I love how the Lace hedgehog blooms complement the pink edges of the agave behind it. Well done.


Post a Comment