Sunday, June 21, 2015


For one brief moment the sun came out this morning. It was long enough for me to wander onto the patio to put a few cactus out in the sun. You would have heard me exclaim out loud as I turned to the Echinopsis on the table. I bent down to smell the flowers' sweet fragrance. Wonderful!

I missed the first blooming of 3 flowers a couple of weeks ago, but the great thing about this plant is that flowers come in flushes. But how they sneak up on you. When I last looked I thought it at least a couple of days from flowering. How wrong I was. The first sign that the plant is about to flower is the appearance of a fuzzy nubble. Each one of those spots you see on the plant could potentially produce a flower but I have no idea what triggers a bloom. The fuzz begins to swell, a stalk starts to grow, a small bud forms on the end and then seemingly overnight the stalk lengthens and it flowers.

The flowers on this plant opened during the night and may have had nocturnal visitors. None of the previous flowers have ever produced seed pods.
This plant was a chance find at Lowe's one Mother's Day weekend a few years ago. It has bloomed every year since.

The name echinopsis stems from two Latin words, ekhinos meaning sea urchin or hedgehog and opsis meaning resembling. Because there are more than 100 species and hundreds of hybrids it is sometimes hard to identify and plants are often sold a Easter lily cactus. Mine have never bloomed at Easter and I believe this one to be Echinopsis subdenudata.
I have a second but different one which is about to bloom. Tomorrow morning will I wake up to a red flower? I see a little pink on the petals. This plant has a different history. Garage sale! It was a mother plants with babies all around but as I drove home the pot tipped over in the back of the truck and everything came out including the mother and all the ants that had decided to move into her rotted, hollow interior. I separated everything in the pot, dried everything out and for a few days and then replanted in pumice. This is the mother and this is the first year she has sent up a bloom. First she got busy making new babies.

I am awaiting the ripening of seeds on this little cactus, Gymnocalcyium baldianum. The seed pod is almost bigger than the cactus and baldianum sounds like a good specific name for this little cactus.

If my other echinopsis blooms tomorrow I will add it to this post.


  1. Wonderful surprises! I would have exclaimed out loud too.

  2. Echinopsis are good surprise bloomers. Mine surprise me, too! The subdenudata is lovely. I have an oxygona and a...some other species.

  3. It always amazes me how beautiful cactus flowers are. I was given an "Easter lily cactus" (no formal ID) by a friend earlier this year who was worried that she'd killed it. I didn't have much hope for it at first but, a couple of months after I'd repotted it, it started developing round growths up and down each of its stalks (stems? trunks?) so I assume it's happy enough. No sign of flowers, though.

  4. What a wonderful surprise. People are always asking me why I don't put the garden on an irrigation system. While the idea certainly holds promise I worry about things like this that I would miss if I weren't out there looking at each plant up close.

  5. Jenny - those are spectacular! Of course you exclaimed, because how very delightful when a lovely visitor appears!

    I've been watching a Desert Rose plant (adenuim obsesum) that had been in bud for what felt like weeks. The blooms are finally opening - one at a time - and I just can't quite get enough of them. There is something about these succulent blossoms, about how they make us wait (and wait!), appear and then disappear so abruptly. For whatever reason their bloom times seem...Significant!

  6. Such a gorgeous bloom! I am always amazed at how big and beautiful cactus blooms can be. One would never suspect by looking at them when they aren't in flower.