Pollinating your cactus and succulent

How nice is it that your cactus or succulent plant is going to bloom! They are often really beautiful flowers in all different shapes and colors. But also a thank you from your plant for taking good care of it. You can of course also just enjoy the flower, but would you like to get seeds to try sowing, or do you want edible fruits on your Opuntia or Ferocactus, for example? Then in this blog we will show you how you can pollinate your cactus and succulent.

What do you need?

Most cacti and succulents have stamens and a stigma. The stamens are the male part and the stigma is the female part. The stamens release the pollen, and this must then end up on the stigma. With a few exceptions, you need 2 different plants for pollination to succeed. So you need 2 cacti or 2 succulents of 1 species for pollination. Fortunately, many cactus and succulent plant species bloom at the same time, so this makes it a lot easier.

Now, there are also some exceptions. We have placed them below for you. One makes it really easy for you and the other a lot more difficult.

  1. The cactus species Frailea. This cactus can pollinate itself even without the flower opening. The flower only opens on warm sunny days. But usually you see a flower bud, and it automatically turns into a seed berry.
  2. Euphorbia species. These species are either male or female. So one plant only has a stigma and the other stamens in its flowers. This can be a challenge because of some species, such as Euphorbia obesa, mainly male plants can be found.
  3. Caudex species. In many caudex species such as Dioscorea and Fockea, the flowers are of one sex, just like the Euphorbia. These varieties often only bloom when they are very old. This means you have to wait a long time before you know what sex your plant is.

In addition to needing one or more plants, you also need something to transfer the pollen from one plant to the stigma of the other plant. For this you can use a brush or small brush, a cotton swab or tweezers to remove the pollen from the flower and use them for pollination.

Natural pollination

Not only you, but also natural pollinators such as flies, (hovering) wasps and bee species can pollinate the flowers of your cacti and succulents. This is, for example, a nice option if you have many of these insects in your garden. Then you can place your flowering cactus or succulent plant in between, and it will be pollinated. Bee species are especially fond of cactus flowers and those of Lithops species. Sifter wasps often go for the bell-shaped flowers of Echeveria and Haworthia and flies often come for carrion flower species such as Orbeas and Huernias. This is our experience with which insects are attracted to what. Now it is of course also great fun to just try it out and see how the insects in your own garden, balcony or other place where you have your plants react to the beautiful flowers.

Just pollinate!

To give you a good idea of ​​all this text and explanation, we have made a pleasant video so that after watching you can get started with pollinating yourself. The video is between the images and is visible on our YouTube channel. Nice that you viewed our BLOG about pollinating cacti and succulents. We hope that we have made you enthusiastic about pollinating your cactus and succulent flowers. If this is successful, a seed berry can be created. More about ripening your seed berry and sowing the seeds will follow soon in one of our new blogs.

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