Cacti can appear quite plain for most of the year, but it is often a surprise when they bloom in late spring and last throughout the hot summer months.
Cactus flowers come in many different colors, with some species even blooming in more than one hue. Cactus flowers come in the following colors:
Check out our in-depth cactus guide to find a cactus with your favorite flower color!
Cacti with Pink Flowers
1. Prickly Pear
- Common name: Prickly pear
- Scientific name: Opuntia spp.
- Size: 6 in. to 8 ft. (15cm to 2.4 meters)
- Geographic location: North and South America
- Flower color: pink, yellow, red, magenta
This popular cactus comes in many variations and can be seen throughout North and South America both in the wild and in pots.
Its oval pads have small clusters of tiny yellow thorns that resemble fuzzy polka dots.
During the late summer, the cactus produces purple pear-shaped fruit, hence the cactus’s common name.
But it is the prickly pear flowers that are most eye-catching. The bright pink or magenta blooms are cup-shaped and attract pollinators such as ants, bees, and hummingbirds. Depending on the prickly pear species, the flowers can be yellow, pink, purple, or red.
2. Rat Tail Cactus
- Common name: Rat Tail Cactus
- Scientific name: Aporocactus flagelliformis
- Size: 4 ft (1.2 meters) long stems
- Geographic location: Central America
- Flower color: pink, red, orange
This ground cover is named for its long, draping tubules that appear like vines when draping over the edge of a pot. It thrives in large pots, but can be used as a ground cover – just as long as you don’t step on it in open-toed shoes!
Rat tail tubules can vary in color, but are usually rich green and turn purple or tan as they dry out or age.
They can grow up to 4 feet (1.2 meters) long, making them an ideal cactus for hanging pots. The spines are short and thick.
This cactus blooms during the spring and summer, and while the flowers are usually pink, they can sometimes be orange or red.
Cacti with Red Flowers
3. Claret Cup
- Common name: Claret cup, Kingcup, Mojave Mound cactus, Scarlet Hedgehog cactus
- Scientific name: Echinocereus triglochidiatus
- Size: up to 6 in. (15 cm) tall
- Geographic location: American Southwest
- Flower color: Red
This cute ground cover cactus is best known for its tiny round cup-shaped flowers. The flowers bloom during the spring and summer months and are atop the column-like tubules.
Long, sharp white spines cover the dark green bodies of the cactus, giving it a silvery appearance.
The claret cup is popular for potting because of its striking appearance and its size, which makes it easy to transplant. It can be found throughout the American Southwest, as far south as southern Arizona and as far north as the mountains of Utah and Colorado.
Cacti with Yellow Flowers
4. Buckhorn Cholla Cactus
- Common name: Buckhorn cholla cactus
- Scientific name: Opuntia acanthocarpa
- Size: between 3 – 10 feet (90 cm – 3 meters) in height
- Geographic location: American Southwest, mainly the Sonoran Desert.
- Flower color: Yellow to yellow-green
Buckhorn cholla cactus is the most widespread of all 20 cholla cactus species. It’s also known as Major Cholla and Yellow-Flowered Cane Cactus.
Often considered the bane of existence for those living in the American Southwest, the cholla cactus is one that you’d instantly regret walking into, due to its painful barbs that are difficult to remove from both clothing and skin.
With thousands of long, yellow, needle-like spines giving the stick-like cactus a fuzzy appearance, cholla cacti are not for the faint of heart.
Cholla cacti grow during the spring into the early summer, usually between April and June. While their flowers are generally yellow, some have a green tinge depending on the species.
5. Barrel Cactus
- Common name: Barrel cactus
- Scientific name: Echinocactus spp.
- Size: up to 2 ft. (60 cm) in height
- Geographic location: American Southwest, Northwest Mexico
- Flower color: Yellow, cream
It isn’t difficult to see why these broad, barrel-shaped cacti are called Barrel Cacti.
Their spines are thick and yellow, formed in vertical ridges along the cactus’s rounded body, and large yellow cup-shaped blossoms bloom from May to July.
There are many varieties of barrel cactus, though all are located throughout the same geographical region.
The flowers are usually yellow or white. While pink, orange, and red flowers have been spotted, they are much rarer.
Cacti with Orange Flowers
6. Lobivia Jajoiana
- Common name: N/A
- Scientific name: Lobivia Jajoiana var. Nigrostoma
- Size: Small, great for potting
- Geographic location: Argentina
- Flower color: yellow to reddish-orange, with orange being the most common bloom color
Native to Argentina, Lobivia Jajoiana is usually a solitary cactus that is rarely found growing in large clusters.
The most eye-catching feature of this beautiful mountain cactus is its bright orange flowers, which bloom during the summer.
This brightly colored cactus is seen in the Andes growing in rocky soil at the high elevation.
7. Orange Flaming Katy
- Common name: Orange Flaming Katy
- Scientific name: Kalanchoe blossfeldiana
- Size: Small to medium
- Geographic location: Madagascar
- Flower color: Orange or yellow orange
While technically a succulent, we couldn’t leave this vibrant beauty off our list.
Its waxy, petaled flowers are unique in that they have thick, flat petals that form a more traditional flower shape than regular cactus blossoms.
The plant has large, flat, dark green pads with frilled edges.
This succulent is great to grow indoors and thrives in hanging baskets. Like other succulents, it needs sunlight – though make sure to consult this plant’s individual care guide for proper guidance.
8. Orange Crown Cactus
- Common name: Orange Crown Cactus
- Scientific name: Rebutia fiebrigii
- Size: 6 in. (15 cm) height and width
- Geographic location: Bolivia
- Flower color: Orange
These small, ball-shaped cacti have sharp, needle-like white spines interspersed with waxy white hairs.
They grow in rocky terrain in the Andes and grow in clusters.
Cacti with Purple Flowers
9. Beavertail Prickly Pear
- Common name: Beavertail Prickly Pear, Beavertail Cactus
- Scientific name: Opuntia basilaris
- Size: up to 35 in. (89 cm) tall
- Geographic location: American Southwest, Northern Mexico
- Flower color: bright purple, magenta
Named for the shape and color of its pads, the beavertail prickly pear is native to both the Mojave and the Sonoran deserts.
Its pads are dusky blue-gray, and the bright purple flowers bloom during the spring.
Cacti with White Flowers
10. Giant Saguaro Cactus
- Common name: Giant Saguaro Cactus
- Scientific name: Carnegia gigantea
- Size: up to 7 ft. (210 cm) tall
- Geographic location: Sonoran Desert (American Southwest)
- Flower color: White
True to its common name, the Giant Saguaro cactus can grow to a height of 7 ft (2.1 meters) – sometimes taller – and has thick yellow spines that grow in vertical ridges along the cactus’s tall, rigid form.
The white flowers usually grow at the top of the cactus in a sort of crown shape and are waxy with petals that curve underneath the flower, giving the bloom a rounded shape. The yellow center is attractive to pollinators such as moths, ants, and bees.
The giant saguaro cactus blooms from April through June.
11. Peruvian Apple Cactus
- Common name: Peruvian Apple Cactus
- Scientific name: Cereus hildmannianus
- Size: up to 2 ft. (60 cm) in height
- Geographic location: Peru
- Flower color: White, yellow
This unique cactus has white flowers that bloom at night following the first warm rains of spring, with the flowers lasting only a day or two before drooping, turning into red apple-shaped fruit that contains hundreds of tiny black seeds.
The shape and color of this cactus’s fruit are what give the Peruvian apple cactus its common name.
12. Queen of the Night
- Common name: Queen of the Night
- Scientific name: Epiphyllum oxypetalum
- Size: up to 10 ft. (3 meters) in height
- Geographic location: Mexico, Central America, South America
- Flower color: White
With enchanting cup-shaped white flowers that bloom after the plant has reached 6 years in age, the Queen of the Night is a sweet-smelling succulent native to the jungles of South and Central America.
As a succulent, the Queen of the Night doesn’t have spines, but dark green leaves that store water.
Cacti with Blue Flowers
While incredibly rare, there is one cactus species with blue flowers.
13. Blue Torch Cactus
- Common name: Blue Torch Cactus
- Scientific name: Pilosocereus pachycladus
- Size: up to 33 in. (84 cm) in height
- Geographic location: Brazil, the Caribbean, Mexico
- Flower color: cream with a blue tinge, outside of blooms is dark purplish blue
The flowers of the Blue Torch cactus aren’t blue in the traditional sense, but its thick skin is.
Starting out a similar vibrant light green like many young cactus plants, the Blue Torch turns a literal shade of blue as it matures.
Its yellow spines stand out against its dusty blue skin, which resembles the flesh of a ripe blueberry.
The flowers are tube-shaped, with the petals themselves white or cream with a bluish tinge. Before opening, the blooms have a dark purplish-blue husk that stands out against the cactus’s bright blue skin.
Which cactus is your favorite?
Also, check out our list of the most fragrant succulents and cacti and variegated cacti.
14 Fragrant Succulents & Cacti (You Will Love)