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Do You Want to See the Desert in Bloom?


flowers blooming in the desert blog header

Cacti in Bloom

So, in my first post about the Desert Botanical Garden, I wrote that I wanted to visit when the cacti were flowering.  Well, I did it!  My husband and I visited in April, and things were more beautiful than I imagined!  We saw many different cacti, and most were in bloom.

to show a prickly pear cactus in bloom
Prickly Pear Cactus

Prickly Pear Cactus in Bloom

In my opinion, the prickly pear cactus has the most colorful and abundant blooms.  These gorgeous cacti are scattered throughout the garden.

show people the pincushion cactusc
One Type of Pincushion Cactus

Pincushion Cactus in Bloom

While there are over 200 species of pincushion cacti, these little cacti look like they are wearing wreaths on their heads!  Most pincushion varieties are about 8 inches high and 15 inches in diameter.

showing a saguaro in bloom


The flowers of a saguaro open at night and close around midday.  An individual flower lives for one day.  However, the plant may bloom for weeks because there are so many buds.  Besides flowering in the spring, saguaro are home to many nesting birds.  We saw multiple nests with mama’s feeding their babies!

to show a purple prickly pear flowering
Purple Prickly Pear

Purple Prickly Pear

This cactus grows in clumps.  The clumps are about four feet tall and five feet wide.   The pads turn purple in the cooler weather and are a blue-grey color in the warmer weather.

bishop's miter
Bishop’s Miter

Bishop’s Miter

The texture of this cactus’ outer layer caught our attention.  Bishop’s Miter is a small cactus; reaching 6 to 12 inches high.

Other Colorful Cactus Blooms

misc blooms.   

More Desert Plants in Bloom

Aloe Plant

Aloe Plant

Different types of aloe plants have different types of blooms in the spring.  Aloe plants don’t flower until they are at least four years old.  They need just the right conditions to flower.   Aloe plants grown indoors rarely have optimal conditions.  Hence, it is rare to see indoor aloe plants in bloom.

Desert Roses

Desert Roses

This plant is considered a succulent because of its fleshy stem.  Just as you would think, the bright pink flowers have a pleasant fragrance.

sweet acacia in bloom
Sweet Acacia

Sweet Acacia

These yellowish-orange puffballs caught out eyes.  They completely cover the tree and have a sweet fragrance!

Teaching Ideas for Desert in Bloom

Of course, learning about life in the desert and different types of cactus is a must!  If teaching about cactus, ask students, “Do cactus have flowers?”  Many students do not know that they do!  Here are some articles to get your students started with research:

                                         30+ Indigenous Desert Plants That Can Grow in Harsh Climate

                                         Desert Plants List With Pictures And Facts

                                         Top 100 Desert Plants

Do you want a free worksheet to help organize desert plant research?  Click below.


Here are some other resources that tie in nicely:




And remember, it’s all science!


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