Spring has arrived and the growing season is here

Hi Guys,

Spring has arrived at last YAY! and the growing season is finally here and I have been keeping busy with all the exciting jobs to do with all of my cacti and succulents at this time of year.

Spring has arrived & the growing season is here
So happy Spring has finally arrived and that means its time for the Cacti & Succulents to start waking up.

Spring is finally here and I hope that your cacti and succulents have come through the winter safe and sound, its sometimes inevitable that however much we try to look after our plants we can still lose plants over the winter months, I am so relieved that I have only had a couple of plant losses this winter, but last winter I lost quite a few cacti as did many growers due to the extended and very cold winter of 2022/23, thankfully in Ireland and UK we have had a fairly mild winter this year compared to last year.

My Cacti made it through the Winter in my new polytunnel safe and sound.

Spring really is an exciting time of year for us cacti and succulent growers, my cacti and succulents have been patiently waiting for the longer and warmer days to arrive.

New growth appearing on my Opuntia subulata monstrose, the pink fleshy thin leaves appear first before turning to green and then falling off as the cactus ages.

Although its still a bit early for most of my plants to come into bud just yet, I have still been checking on the plants for any signs of buds, and I am very happy to see buds are starting to grow already on a couple of my Gymnocalycium cacti and my Chamacereus ‘Peanut Cacti’ and my Epiphyllum cacti are all growing buds too, I know that once I give them all their very first watering of the year the plants will start to develop buds and then over the following weeks they burst into flower.

Buds are starting to appear on my Gymnocalycium Cacti ( March 2024 )

My Chamacereus Cacti ‘Peanut Cacti. are starting to grow buds, once I give these their first watering the ‘peanut stems’ will plump up and burst into flower.

My Epiphyllum Cacti are coming into bud, these leafy epiphytic cacti produce the most incredible of large showy flowers in Spring and Summer.

I still haven’t watered the majority of my plants yet though, and this is because I live in Belfast N.Ireland, and in March and April its still quite chilly during the daytime and the nights can still be frosty, its not until mid April that the weather really starts to warm up for Spring here, and this is why I hold back on watering my collection until around mid April depending on the weather and the temperature, its not unusual for it to snow in April in UK and Ireland haha, and last Spring (2023 ) it was unseasonably very cold until late May and I had to hold back on watering my collection in the polytunnel until much later than normal, fingers crossed though April will be normal temperatures, and that means with the first watering I give them in mid April I will be able to give them all just a light watering ( pre watering ) first to moisten the soil and wake up their root systems, I give just enough water so the soil dries within a day or two, I then leave it a week or two and thats when I give them their first proper watering.

But If you have your cacti and succulents indoors in a heated room or sunny warm window its safe to go ahead and give them a watering now though, I have to hold back until mid April as my plants are in a polytunnel that is heated at 5c/41F just enough to keep them frost free and protected from very low temperatures, If I was to water too early and we get a cold and wet couple of weeks then it means the plants could sit in moist soil that does not dry out as fast in cold damp weather, I want to start to wake them up with watering when I know the day temperatures are at least in the 15c /60F range.

I have however had to give one of my Mammillarias that was VERY thirsty a light pre watering as I know this particular Mammillaria a Mammillaria camptotricha would be safe to water now, and I thought this would be a perfect example to show just how much water I give the plants for the very first time after the Winter, and if you want to see how much water to give your plants after winter then check out this video I made for my You Tube Channel called Desert Plants of Avalon on ‘How much water should you give your Cactus after Winter ? and you can watch this video below:

I have been keeping busy repotting plants in preparation for the growing season, and I make sure I check almost daily for any signs of insect pests or diseases on the plants, I also will be busy writing up plant labels and re arranging some plants in the polytunnel to make space so that when its warm enough I will be able to move all the non cold hardy cacti and Euphorbias that I currently have overwintering in my grow room back into the Polytunnel and yard for the Spring and Summer months.

Some of my Echeverias and other Succulents are growing flower spikes.

I have a lot of work to do on a lot of my Succulents this Spring too, pruning, and tidying them up from dead leaves, I am happy to say I have noticed flower spikes starting to grow on some of my Echeverias too, I will be filming an upcoming video very soon on all the Spring jobs I will be doing with all of my Cacti and Succulents on my You Tube Channel called Desert Plants of Avalon, so do stay tuned.

If you want to know more about how to grow Cacti and Succulents then do watch my You Tube Channel called Desert Plants of Avalon and do please Subscribe I would love you to follow me on my Prickly adventures.

Happy Growing Season everyone and here is to a blooming AMAZING Spring and Summer 2024.

Aporocactus flagelliformis

Its been a Blooming Lovely Cactus Season so far

Hi Cactus and Succulent growers,

I hope that you are all having a wonderful growing season so far and enjoying this wonderful time of year, I have been keeping super busy with all the wonderful plant jobs to do at this time of year, re potting, keeping on top of watering and feeding and checking regularly for signs of pests,

We had a very slow start to Spring in Ireland and U.K this year with way below average temperatures for March and April and even May, but thankfully from June the warmer temperatures and the sunshine arrived, and with the much needed sun and warmth it has really given my cacti and succulents a blooming good boost.

Pilocereus pachycladus
My Pilocereus pachycladus ‘Blue Torch Cactus’ blooming amazing this year.

I have seen more buds and blooms this Spring and Summer alreadyon many of my cacti and also some buds on my cacti that hadn’t flowered for me for the past few years, I have quite a few of my Trichocereus cacti that are coming into bud again for the first time in 5 years and also my very old Opuntia aciculata cactus has come into bud for the first time again in TWENTY years YAY.

Opuntia aciculata, Chenille prickly pear Cactus
My Opuntia aciculata, Chenille prickly pear Cactus coming into bud again for the first time after TWENTY years.

Last Summer we had a very hot and dry Summer in Ireland and U.K and Europe with heatwaves, and then that was followed by an extra cold and long Winter, I think the combination of the heatwaves last Summer and the extra cold winter may have given the kick start for the Trichocereus to come into bud again, but whatever the reason I am a happy Cactus Lady to see buds and many blooms already this growing season.

Rhipsalidopsis gaertneri, Schlumbergera gaertneri, Hatiora gaertneri
My Rhipsalidopsis gaertneri ‘Easter Cactus’ blooming gorgeous, this cactus was a cutting I got from a friend a few years ago, my friend had taken this cutting from her late Grandmothers very old Easter Cactus.

If you want to know how to get your Cacti and Succulents to Flower then do watch the video I have made for my Cactus & Succulent You Tube Channel called Desert Plants of Avalon on How To Get your Cacti & Succulents to Flower, you can watch this video below:

If you want to know what are the Top 10 best Flowering Cactus Plants to grow then do watch the video I have made for my Cactus & Succulent You Tube Channel called Desert Plants of Avalon on The Top 10 BEST Flowering Cactus Plants to grow, you can watch this video below:

Not all cacti only flower in Spring and Summer, they are many varieties of Cactus that also flower in Winter too, and if you want to have Cactus flowers all year round, then do watch the video I have made for my Cactus & Succulent You Tube Channel called Desert Plants of Avalon on How To Get your Cacti To Flower ALL Year Round, you can watch this video below:

Here are some photos of some of my blooming lovely cacti that have flowered this Season already, I hope you enjoy their beauty, and for lots of blooming lovely videos of my Cacti and Succulents as well as lots of care tips on growing these awesome plants then do please Subscribe to my You Tube Channel Desert Plants of Avalon.

Aporocactus flagelliformis
My Aporocactus flagelliformis ‘Rats Tail Cactus’ in shocking pink beautiful bloom this Spring 2023.
Mammillaria hahniana, Old Lady Cactus
Mammillaria hahniana, Old Lady Cactus in beautiful flower, Spring 2023.
Epiphyllum Madeline
My Epiphyllum Madeline blooming for the very first time for me with a stunning lemon yellow flower.
Gymnocalycium mihanovichii
My Gymnocalycium mihanovichii with a stunning pink bloom.
Aporocactus malisonii
My Aporocactus mallisonii blooming amazing with a bright red flower.
Gymnocalycium chubutense
My Gymnocalycium chubutense in twin beautiful stunning bloom.
Rhipsalidopsis gaertneri, Schlumbergera gaertneri, Hatiora gaertneri
My Rhipsalidopsis gaertneri, ‘Easter Cactus’ in multiple shocking pink stunning flower.
Epiphyllum Mrs G. Bheam
My Epiphyllum Mrs G. Bheam always put on an incredible flower display every Spring.

Wishing you ALL a fantastic Summer 2023.

Strombocactus disciformis, Strombocactus, rare cacti, rare cactus for sale, rare cacti for sale, rare cactus plants,

How To Grow Strombocactus disciformis – RARE CACTUS

Hi Guys,

In this Article I will be talking about the wonderful and unique Strombocactus disciformis Cactus and how you can care for it.

I have made a special care video on Strombocactus disciformis for my Cactus and Succulent You Tube Channel called Desert Plants of Avalon and you can watch this video by clicking HERE

A little bit about Strombocactus disciformis 

Strombocactus disciformis is a unique and rare species of cactus that comes from Mexico, there is only one species in the Strombocactus genus and that is Strombocactus disciformis, but there are two sub species varieties of Strombocactus disciformis: Strombocactus disciformis that has cream coloured flowers and Strombocactus disciformis ssp. esperanzae that has deep pink coloured flowers.

Strombocactus has a turnip like taproot similar to Ariocarpus and Lophophora cacti, they are globular and have tubercle like ribs almost resembling a small pine cone in appearance, they are very small growing and due to this many are often sold grafted to help to speed up their growth, sadly in their natural habitats in Mexico Strombocactus are at threat to the illegal collection of rare cacti for the commercial plant trade.


Strombocactus, Strombocactus disciformis, Strombocactus for sale, rare cacti for sale, rare cactus, rare cacti, rare cactus plants,
My Strombocactus disciformis, grown from seed. Strombocactus have tubercle like ribs almost resembling a little Pine cone in their appearance.


Strombocactus like a sunny position and a south facing window indoors or sunny position in the greenhouse is ideal, avoid north facing windows or a position that doesn’t get much sun because these cacti need strong sunshine to thrive, if you only have a window or position that doesn’t get much sun during their active growing period ( Spring and Summer ) then a special full spectrum Plant LED Grow light can be used to replicate the full light spectrum these beauties need to grow and flower.

Grow Lights for plants
Full spectrum LED Grow Lights especially made for Plants can be used if more sunshine is needed.


These cacti can take very high summer temperatures as long as they have plenty of ventilation, make sure windows and doors are open and cool fan/s are running during hot stuffy days.

In Winter keep these cacti at a minimum winter temperature of 5c / 41F with no water to be given to them at all over the winter period, if you live in an area where temperatures can fall lower than 5c /41F bring your Strombocactus indoors into a dry and bright window or location for the winter months.


Water sparingly from Spring to the end of Summer ( April to September )  and only water once the soil has totally dried out in their pots, these cacti can go a lot longer in between watering’s than many other types of cacti due to their large turnip like taproots, these cacti store water in their tuberous root and if the soil stays too damp for too long they can be very prone to rot, I give my Strombocactus a light watering about once a month from April until mid September when I stop watering completely until the following Spring.

These Cacti need a totally dry overwintering with no water to be given at all from mid Sept until April.


Fertilise Strombocactus with half the strength of Cactus feed in Spring and Summer, I usually give my Strombocactus a feed after the second watering in May and then again when I water in July, because these cacti are extremely slow growing feeding is not an absolute necessity, but it can help to encourage better growth and more chance of flowers, especially because these Cacti are often left to grow in the same pot for a good few years due to their slow growth.

Soil Mix: 

Strombocactus need an extremely well draining gritty cactus mix and are very prone to rotting if they are planted in a normal house plant soil, a good quality well draining cactus soil that drains freely and dries out fast is an absolute must, I use a mix of 3 equal parts of loam ( John innes number 2 ) grit and Horticultural sharp sand, but every grower has their own preferences for cactus soil, the most important thing is that it is very well draining and dries out fast within a day or two after watering.

If you want to know How I make my own Cactus soil and How you can too then check out the video I have made for my Cactus and Succulent You Tube Channel called Desert Plants of Avalon on How To Make your own Cactus & Succulent Soil, and you can watch this video below:


Repotting is always best done in the Spring and Summer months but avoid repotting when the cactus is coming into bud or bloom, repot into just the next size pot up and do not be tempted to pot up into a much bigger pot thinking your Strombocactus will grow faster and larger because these Cacti have their Turnip like taproots that are very sensitive to excess moisture that can hang around if these cacti are planted up into too large a pot, I am often being asked why I say to under rather than overpot a cactus when in their natural habitats Cacti are growing with plenty of space to grow their roots, but the difference is in their natural habitats cacti often grow in crevices and in very dry arid landscapes where any rainfall dries out within hours and so does the substrate they are growing in and the air humidity around them, but in cultivation its a very different story.

When repotted keep the cactus dry with no water for at least 2 weeks to allow any roots to heal and for the cactus to settle into its new soil and pot.

Flowering :

Strombocactus disciformis produces cream flowers from spring to summer, and Strombocactus disciformis ssp esperansae produces bright pink flowers from spring to summer, the flowers are about 3-4 cm in width and grow from the apex of the Cactus. Sorry I don’t have any photos to show you of their flowers as I am still waiting for my Strombocactus to flower and I can’t use others photos online, but do have a little ‘google’ at ‘Stombocactus Flowers’ online and you will see how beautiful Strombocactus flowers can be.


Strombocactus is propagated from seeds in early Spring and although very rewarding to do, a lot of patience is needed as they are extremely slow growing, these cacti will often flower from 10 years old when grown from seed.

If you would like to grow Strombocactus or any other Cactus from seed then I have made a special video for my Cactus and Succulent You Tube Channel  called Desert Plants of Avalon on How To Grow Cacti from Seed’ and you can watch this video below:

Pests & Diseases:

Like all Cacti Strombocactus can be prone to Mealy Bugs and Spider mites, both these pesky beasts can be treated with rubbing / Isopropyl alcohol by dabbing any beasts and their woolly nests with a small brush like an Artists paint brush dipped in rubbing/Isopropyl alcohol, Spider mites can be treated by spraying the cactus with with rubbing / Isopropyl alcohol in a hand held mist sprayer, Horticultural Neem oil mixed with Horticultural soap is also very effective both as a preventative and as a treatment for beasts on cacti, both rubbing alcohol and Neem oil treatments need to be repeated a number of times over a couple of weeks to completely eliminate all traces of beasts and their eggs, its also very important to treat all cacti and succulents and other plants you have in your collection at the same time.

Mealy bugs, mealybugs, mealybug on cactus, mealybugs on cactus, cactus mealybug, how to get rid of mealybug on cactus,
A Mealybug infestation on a Cactus. Mealybug is a very common Pest for every type of cactus, Horticultural Neem oil or Rubbing /Isopropyl alcohol helps to keep these beasts under control.

The most common form of disease with Strombocactus is root or base rot, these Cacti need a very well draining gritty cactus mix due to their turnip tuberous roots, very careful watering in spring and summer and a totally dry overwintering should prevent any chances of rot.

I have made a special care video on Strombocactus disciformis for my Cactus and Succulent You Tube Channel called Desert Plants of Avalon and you can watch this video below:

Thanks so much for reading and Happy Growing to you all.