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Notes on Cacti and Succulents Flowers

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Tropical Lowlands and Highlands

Having seen a few large commercial collections in Cameron Highlands, in particular Cactus Valley, I have come to the conclusion that the slightly colder weather there is better suited to cacti and succulents than the sweltering lowlands (of tropical Malaysia, that is.) Of course, the plants have to be large and mature too. I think people who buy large, mature plants have more success in getting them to bloom. As for me, I buy mainly young plants. Don't expect juveline plants in 2" pots to put out any blossoms.

All types of cacti and succulents can be seen in bloom in Cameron Highlands. However, the plant seem less willing to flower in the lowlands.


Cacti that Bloom in Malaysia

Cereus - I've only seen large ones flower. These Cereus plants are usually about 2 feet or more in height. The flowers are white and the fruits are dark pink.

Copiapoa - I've had a Copiapoa tenuissima that was blooming when I bought it, so that doesn't really count.

Echinopsis - There is one very, very common species of Echinopsis that is light green, forms offsets like crazy and is almost indestructable. I have only seen it in bloom in Cameron Highlands. I have seen other Echinopsis bloom in Malaysia twice, the first being a white flowers on a solitary specimen. The second was in the papers, and the owner mentioned something like 7 years. It was also a solitary specimen.

Epiphyllum - This genus flowers in Malaysia. I've seen specimens with white flowers in quite a few gardens. Specimens with white flowers are common.

Gymnocalycium - Gymnocalycium baldianum with red or white flowers is one species which blooms readily in Malaysia (given healthy plants, of course.) So far, I've seen Gymnocalycium baldianum and Gymnocalycium mihanovichii set seed pods.

Mammillaria - Many types of Mammillaria bloom in Malaysia. Some flowers are arranged in a ring. Some will bloom for months on end. This is a very popular cactus genus in Malaysia. The one species which really flower easily is Mammillaria prolifera for large, mature clumps. It also set seeds easily, producing red seed pods. Other species are less willing to flower.

Matucana - I have seen a specimen or two of Matucana madisoniorum that flowered more than once.

Opuntia - There is one common species of Opuntia which one will see quite often in Malaysia's housing estates. It will flower, but its flower which is red in colour does not open much and is not very pretty or showy. I think it may be Opuntia auberi. Opuntia microdasys and Opuntia microdasys var. Albispina are both common in nurseries as small potted plants, but I've never seen any flowers on these plants.

Rebutia - In my experience, this genus blooms quite well in the highlands. They are much less willing to bloom in the lowlands. I've had Rebutia albiflora and Rebutia muscula which flowered, but not with a large number of flowers (less than 10). Rebutias are not that popular in Malaysia as they are not as attractive as most Mammillarias. Most look suspiciously like generic Rebutia albiflora or Rebutia muscula.


Succulents that Bloom in Malaysia

Adenium obesum - This species bloom all year round in Malaysia!! There is however, not much variety in terms of flower colour - everybody seem to have the same type of Adenium. Hybrids are beginning to appear in nurseries, however.

Agave ferox - Agave ferox is a common landscaping plant. Once in a while I see them blooming in an old landscape.

Aloe - Generic Aloes grown by my parents have bloomed a couple of times, but have not set pods.

Caralluma - My neighbour in Malacca has a species of this, and it seem to bloom pretty much continuously. I've had some success with plants of this genus too. It is probably a Caralluma dummeri.

Echeveria - I have an Echeveria lauii which bloomed twice, the second time with two flower stalks. The flowers weren't all that showy, but I'm not complaining.

Euphorbia - Some Euphorbia species bloom all year, some annually. Mature Euphorbia triangularis blooms annually (or close to annually), while Euphorbia milii (white or red flowers) blooms all the time.

Haworthia - A Haworthia cymbiformis in my collection put out a stalk of flowers late in 1999. They flower continuously if well cared for.

Kalanchoe - Commonly sold just before Chinese New Year. A number of varieties are available, in different colours. It won't bloom if daylight hours are not adjusted, so it does not commonly bloom again after being imported. Most flowering kalanchoes are imported by nurseries.

Stapelia - Mature or large specimens bloom quite readily.

There are, of course, other genus and species that I haven't mentioned. Your input is most welcome. This list is specifically for tropical/equatorial climate conditions. The plants that I have mentioned are all available in Malaysia.


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  Last modified: 2002-08-26  Copyright © 1997-2002.  Kein-Hong Man.  all rights reserved