When do succulents flower? Do all succulents flower? And what can you do to encourage your succulents to bloom?
Succulents are known for their beautiful leaves and striking looks. Some are known for their stunning flowers and colorful blooms. But which succulents flower and what do you need to do once they bloom?
We’ve got it all covered in this guide. We’ll tell you which succulents bloom and when. Plus, how to care for your succulents to encourage blooming and what to do once your succulent is flowering.
As if succulents weren’t stunning enough – the flowers are the icing on the cake!
Are Succulents Flowers?
Some succulents have such beautiful leaf arrangements that many people consider succulent plants to be flowers. Some have even been given common names, such as Irish Rose, that might give the idea that succulents are flowers. Succulents are being used as flowers too. Wedding bouquets and table centers are common uses for succulent arrangements.
However, this is not the case; succulents are not flowers. Succulent plants grow separate flowers as part of their reproductive cycle and we’ll give you example, pictures and more information about succulent flowers below.
But in the meantime, isn’t this succulent wedding bouquet absolutely divine?
Image Source: Pinterest – The Knot
Do All Succulents Flower?
While most succulents have the potential to produce flowers, some species are less likely to bloom often, and a few may not flower at all under typical home conditions.
Some species of succulent plants flower easily, while on the other hand, some succulents take years to grow to the right size and maturity before they flower.
Even if your succulent is a species that flowers readily, it still needs the right environmental factors to thrive and bloom, factors such as optimal water, sunlight, temperature, well-draining soil and nutrients will all determine the health of your plant and, consequently, its likelihood of flowering.
Which Succulents Flower?
Some succulent species have large, showy flowers, others have tiny inconspicuous flowers and are generally kept for their beautiful leaves. There are succulents that flower for one night only and others that die once they flower.
We’ve broken it down into four main categories below:
- Succulents that flower every year with showy flowers
- Succulents that flower every year with small flowers
- Noctural flowering succulents
- Succulents that flower only once and then die
The lists below are by no means exhaustive. There are thousands of succulent plants, but it gives you an overview of the most popular species and individual succulents.
If you want to see our personal top picks, check out our 18 most favorite flowering succulents.
1. Succulents That Flower Every Year With Showy Flowers
The succulent species below are some of our favorites and popular species that display beautiful flowers. Provided your succulent has the right growing conditions to encourage flowering, it should that bloom every year once the plant has reached maturity.
The beautiful rosettes of the leaves of echeveria succulents resemble stunning flowers themselves, but echeverias do bloom with clusters of colorful bell-shaped flowers on the end of long stalks that emerge from between leaves. Echeverias tend to bloom in summer, although some varieties bloom in spring and some in fall.
Aloe plants bloom with tubular or bell-shaped flowers on tall stems. Aloes tend to be late winter or spring bloomers.
The Kalanchoe family covers a wide range of plants, with some being known for their display of long-lasting, vibrant flowers in bright colors, including pink, orange, red, and yellow. The kalanchoe best known for it’s vibrant, long-lasting flowers is Kalanchoe Blossfeldiana Calandiva, Flaming Katy. (pictured below), which usually bloom in spring.
These popular cactus plants, including the Christmas Cactus and Thanksgiving Cactus, produce stunning flowers in shades of red, pink, white, or yellow. They generally bloom in winter. In the northern hemisphere, the appearance of the flowers tends to coincide with the holidays they are named after – such as Thanksgiving Cactus in November and Christmas Cactus in December.
Some Euphorbias have beautiful, colorful flowers, such as Euphorbia Milii, Crown of Thorns (pictured below). While Euphorbia Tirucalli, Firesticks, has tiny, short-lived flowers. The Crown of Thorns usually flowers in winter through to spring.
There are many cacti that bloom with large, showy flowers each year. Below is Echinopsis Chamaecereus, Peanut Cactus, which blooms in spring.
Stapelia Gigantea, is also known as the Starfish Blossom, Carrion Cactus and Zulu Giant blooms large five-point flowers in spring of summer. The flowers are typically red, or shades of red or brown with patterns. While this flower looks beautiful, it smells of rotting meat attracting flies, which pollinate the flowers.
For smaller cacti that are suitable for both indoors and outdoors (in the right climate), the species best known for their flowers are the Echinopsis, Mammillaria, Optuntia, Parodia and Rebutia. Pictured below is a beautiful Rebutia Crown Cactus in full summer bloom.
2. Succulents That Flower Every Year With Small Flowers
The following are two examples of succulent species that flower each year, given maturity and the right conditions, but have smaller, less prominent flowers.
Sedums, also known as stonecrops, are a diverse group of succulents. Many of them produce star-shaped flowers. Pictured below is Sedum Lydium, Mossy Stonecrop, blossoming with white flowers. They tend to bloom in spring, summer or fall, depending on the variety.
Crassula succulents often feature small, star-like flowers in shades of white, pink, or red. Below is a close-up of a flowering Crassula Ovata, Jade Plant. Crassula succulents tend to bloom in winter or spring.
3. Nocturnal Flowering Succulents
Some succulents are known for having flowers that bloom only at night. These flowers often open in the evening and close by the morning and have evolved to attract nighttime pollinators, such as moths and bats.
Some bloom for a period of time, with others blooming for one night only before the flower withers and dies. Flowers that bloom only once need to be certain to attract pollinators immediately and these flowers tend to be large and scented.
Some examples of succulents with night-blooming flowers include:
- Epiphyllum oxypetalum (Night-Blooming Cereus): This cactus species is famous for its large, fragrant white flowers that bloom at night, usually just once a year in summer for one night only. The flowers can be over 1 foot (30 cm) in diameter.
- Selenicereus grandiflorus (Queen of the Night): The Queen of the Night (pictured below) produces stunning white flowers that open in the late evening and close by dawn.
- Cereus peruvianus (Peruvian Apple Cactus): Large, white flowers that bloom at night and last only until the early morning.
- Peniocereus greggii (Arizona Queen of the Night): Another one-night-only blooming cactus with beautiful white flowers.
4. Succulents That Flower Once And Then Die
Plants that flower once in their lifetime and then die are called Monocarpic plants. Their flowers are called Death Blooms, and once the plant has flowered, they wither and die. However, most monocarpic succulents will live for several years or before they bloom. They are likely to have produced baby plants (offsets) or seeds that will continue to grow.
With monocarpic succulents, the flower stalk will emerge from the center of the plant and will look like an extension of the leaves. The flower stalks can be very large and tower above the plant. Monocarpic blooms can last for several weeks.
Examples of monocarpic succulent species include:
- Agave (pictured below)
Read our full guide to monocarpic succulents for more information.
Which Succulents Do Not Flower?
While most succulents have the potential to produce flowers, some species are less likely to bloom, or not flower at all, when grown in homes. These succulents are usually kept for their beautiful foliage.
Here are a few examples of succulents that are not commonly grown for their flowers and can be difficult to get to bloom in normal home conditions:
- Haworthia: Many Haworthia species are loved for their attractive rosettes and unique leaf patterns. While some haworthias may produce flowers occasionally, it’s not as common as in other succulent types.
- Gasteria: Like Haworthia, Gasteria species are valued for their interesting leaf shapes and patterns. They are slow-growing and may not flower often in home settings.
- Sansevieria (Snake Plant): Sansevieria plants are popular for their striking foliage and ability to tolerate low light conditions. While they can flower, it’s uncommon in indoor settings.
- Senecio: Senecios, such as String of Pearls and String of Dolphins are difficult to get to flower
- Euphorbia tirucalli (Firesticks): Known for its green and red, pencil-like stems, Firesticks can produce small yellow flowers but it is mainly grown for its striking foliage.
When Do Succulents Blossom?
There is no one-size-fits-all answer to the question of when succulents bloom. The timing of succulent flowering largely depends on the specific species and their natural growing conditions.
Most have distinct flowering seasons. For example, many species of Echeveria and Sedum tend to produce their vibrant flowers during the spring and summer months, while the Christmas Cactus (Schlumbergera bridgesii) and Crassula bloom in winter.
Here’s a rough guide to when some popular succulent species flower:
- Spring: Agaves, Aeonium, some Echeveria, some Kalanchoe, Opuntia, Parodia
- Summer: Echeveria, Kalanchoe, Sedum, Echinopsis, Opuntia, Parodia, Rebutia
- Fall: Some Schlumbergera, Echeverias, Lithops, Agave, Parodia
- Winter: Agave, Aloe, Crassula, Euphorbia. Mammillaria-cactus and some Schlumbergera
Why Do Succulents Flower?
Succulents flower as part of their reproductive process. Like all flowering plants, the ultimate goal of succulents is to produce seeds, which can grow into new plants and ensure the species’ survival. Flowering is a crucial step in this reproductive cycle.
However, flowering is also a resource-intensive process, and if your plant is unhealthy or does not have ideal growing conditions, it may prioritize growth and survival over reproduction. In this case, it may not bloom or may only bloom occasionally.
Succulents will only flower once they have reached maturity. The maturity age varies from species to species. Some succulents, such as Kalanchoe, are fast-growing and can start flowering in their first or second year of growth. While others, such as Aloe varieties, may take several years to reach maturity and produce flowers.
How Do I Get My Succulent To Flower?
Some succulents do not flower easily when kept indoors or out of their native environment. But with all succulents, the best way to get your plant to flower is to keep it healthy with the optimal light, water, temperature and soil conditions for that individual variety of plant. But, in general, those needs are:
- 4 – 6 hours of bright, indirect sunlight each day
- water thoroughly and allow soil to dry out completely between waterings, cut back on watering during rest and dormancy periods
- warm temperatures; protection from frosts
- well-draining, succulent-specific soil
- good air circulation
In addition, most succulents have dormant seasons and rest periods, particularly in winter. During these times of recuperation, it is important that you cut down on watering and allow your succulent to conserve its energy. These rest and dormancy periods allow the plant to carry out unseen processes that lead to healthy reproduction, including flowers, rather than using its energy to transport water and grow more leaves and stems.
The dormancy season and rest time vary from species to species. If you are having trouble getting your succulent to flower, look into its ideal rest times and conditions and try to replicate those.
How To Care For A Succulent That Is Flowering
When you notice flower buds or flower stalks appearing on your succulent, it’s time to up the maintenance of your plant.
- Pests: Keep an eye out for pest infestations. Aphids, in particular, like to feed on sap of this new, fresh growth. If you do spot any pests, treat the infestation straight away. Even if a careful inspection of your plant shows no signs of pests, you could consider a quick spray with neem oil to deter any pests from making your plant home.
- Light: Make sure your plant is getting plenty of bright sunlight every day. If it’s currently not in direct sunlight, don’t move it into direct sun as this can stress the plant.
- Water: Water your plant thoroughly and monitor the soil. Water again once the top 2 inches (5 cm) of soil are dry. Your plant needs a little extra water when it’s flowering, but you have to strike a careful balance and not overwater it. Overwatering can kill your flowers off and, eventually, lead to root rot.
- Fertilizer: Consider giving your plant an extra boost with a succulent-specific fertilizer. If possible, pick one for flowering succulents. Follow the application instructions carefully. Too much fertilizer can damage your succulent.
If you have a winter-blossoming succulent and are concerned that light levels are too low, particularly if your succulent is growing indoors, try using a growlight to provide additional light.
Should I Cut Off Succulent Flowers?
It is up to you whether you remove your succulents’ blooms when it is in flower.
If the flowers are not particularly attractive, you may wish to remove them to allow your succulent to focus its energies elsewhere. It takes important resources and energy to flower and while your plant is flowering, these resources will be directed to the flowers and not to other parts of the plant.
We always leave the flowers on our succulents and cacti. They are a beautiful aspect of the plant and are part of its life cycle. However, once the blooms have died, we remove them to ensure the decaying petals and stalk are not attracting pests, fungi and bacteria. Plus, dead and dying flowers and flower stalks are not very attractive.
To remove flower stalks at any stage, use clean, sharp scissors or shears to cut the stalk as close to the base, or stem, of the plant as you can. Flowers that are not on stalks can simply be lifted off the plant.
If you want to harvest seeds from your succulent’s flowers, you will need to allow the flowers to fully mature, be pollinated and develop seeds and dry out.
Do Succulent Plants Die After Blooming?
Unfortunately, some succulents die after blooming, but most do not. Monocarpic succulents are the only ones that die after blooming. The flowering process on monocarpic plants is known as the death bloom.
Can You Cut The Flower Off A Monocarpic Plant When It Blooms?
Sadly, there’s nothing you can do to stop the process. Once the monocarpic plant begins to flower, that’s it; even cutting the flower will not stop the plant from dying. The best you can do is enjoy the flowers while they last. However, your succulent will usually have produced offsets (baby plants) before blooming that will live on; it is only the mother plant that dies. If there are no offsets, you can try propagating your succulent from a healthy stem or leaf cutting before it dies.
Do Succulent Flowers Have Seeds?
Succulent flowers do have seeds provided the flower has been pollinated. Having said that, growing succulents and cacti from seed can be difficult and you’ll need patience. Many succulents are more easily propagated from stem cuttings and offsets.
Can I Plant A Succulent Flower Stalk?
You can plant a succulent flower stalk to propagate into a new plant but stem cuttings and offsets are a better bet.
Your best chances are with a succulent that has a thick, fleshy flower stalk rather than a thin, fragile stalk.
If you do want to try planting a succulent flower stalk for propagation, follow these steps:
- Choose a Healthy Stalk: When the flower stalk has finished blooming and starts to wither, carefully cut it off using clean, sharp scissors. Ensure that the stalk is healthy and not diseased or damaged.
- Let It Callus: Once you’ve cut off the flower stalk, allow the cut end to dry and callus over. This typically takes a couple of days and helps prevent rot when the cutting is planted.
- Plant the Cutting: Plant the stalk to a depth of around 2 inches (5 cm) using well-draining succulent-specific soil in a small pot with drainage holes. Make sure the cutting is stable and upright but don’t pack the soil down too tightly.
- Watering and Care: Water the cutting lightly and allow the soil to dry out between waterings. Place the pot in a location with bright, indirect light. Avoid direct sunlight for newly propagated cuttings, as they are sensitive to intense light.
Over time, the cutting should begin to grow roots. This process can take several weeks to a few months, depending on the species and environmental conditions.
Not all succulents will readily root from flower stalk cuttings, and success rates can vary. Most succulents are more easily propagated through stem cuttings or offsets.
As you have seen, there is no one time of year that all succulents flower. Each species has its own needs and flowers according to its own timeline. And, your succulents will only bloom if they are healthy and growing in the right conditions, with seasonal changes.
Some succulents flower readily, while others are very difficult to get to bloom when kept in a home environment.
To us, the flowers are the icing on the cake and we grow our succulents because we love their beautiful foliage and stunning forms. But if you do want flowers and want a specific color of bloom, or want flowers at a particular time of year (or all year round!), check our lists above and plan for the succulent types that flower how and when you want. After that, you need to provide them with the conditions they need and, with all good luck, you will enjoy some stunning blooms and nature at its very best!