When do Cactus Bloom in AZ?

Can all cactuses potentially flower or bloom?

How often do cactuses bloom in a year?

Do they bloom in a specific season?

When do cactus bloom in AZ?

All cactuses have the potential to bloom, but whether or not they will is another story. Cactuses require very specific heat, light, and watering conditions throughout their lives before they flower, and some may take over three decades to grow their first flowers, too.

Since flowering is so uncommon for cactuses, it can be nice to take time to look for flowering cactuses in the wild. But locating cactuses that are in bloom at the right time of the year—and the right time of their lives—can be tricky. Thankfully, once they have started blooming, most cactuses will bloom once per year.

With the help of this information, you should be well on your way to picking the perfect time for your vacation (or staycation) and seeing the blooms of the cactuses throughout the desert. Read on to find out more!

Arizona Cactus Blooms

In this section, you’ll find out some basic information you need to know about when to visit Arizona if you want to see the most blooms on the desert cactuses. You’ll also find some tips to help you narrow down your visit even further based on the types of cactuses that may be in bloom at a given point in the year.

Remember that if you have any further questions, you can always reach out to local visitor centers and travel centers for more information about cactus bloom viewing.

1. When should you visit Arizona if you want to catch the cacti in bloom?

  • In general, you should plan your visit to Arizona during the very late spring or early summer months if you want to catch the cactuses in bloom. At this time of the year, you’re more likely to see plenty of flowers out in the desert, and you’ll find several kinds of cactuses flowering as well.
  • With that said, however, this is also the hottest and driest time of the year in Arizona. If you don’t live in the state and you aren’t used to the climate, make sure you come prepared, and do some research ahead of time to keep yourself safe, hydrated, and happy.

2. When do the flowers first start appearing?

  • Flowers first start growing on cactuses in Arizona around March. This is the earliest time when you can spot flowers on desert cacti, however, and it may not be the most beneficial if you’re looking to see a wider variety of options or a bigger display of open blooms.
  • Instead, if you want to see more flowers, it’s better to wait until the end of May or any time in June. At this point in the year, the saguaros, prickly pears, and smaller cactuses alike will all have opened their blooms, and the desert will be packed full of stunning flowers on display.

3. When do they stop blooming?

  • By the hottest park of the summer months, the cactuses will likely not be in bloom anymore. This is because the dry, hot climate makes it harder for the cactuses to keep their flowers alive, so they shed the flowers in favor of taking care of the base plant instead.
  • But don’t worry! The cactuses will bloom again the coming year, after they’ve had winter and spring to help them hydrate just the right amount once again. Just keep in mind that a visit to Arizona in late summer, fall, or winter will not result in any cactus blossom viewing.

4. Is there a best time of day to view the desert blooms?

  • Most types of cactuses that bloom in Arizona open in the early morning hours and remain open throughout the day. Therefore, it’s best to go during the daylight hours if you want to see the widest array and largest number of cactus blooms on display in the desert.
  • Since it becomes very hot in the afternoon in Arizona, it’s probably best to view these flowers in the midmorning. This way, they’ve had a chance to open up fully, but the heat won’t be quite as difficult to deal with as it might be later in the day—especially if you’re a tourist!

5. Can you see some cactuses blooming at night?

  • Yes, some cactuses do bloom at night. The number of night-blooming cactuses is much smaller than those that blossom during the day, but you can take special tours in some instances to view cactuses with flowers growing during the night. You may also be able to spot some on your own, too.
  • These night-blooming cactuses attract night pollinators, especially bats and moths. If you’re interested in learning more about the ecosystem of the desert and how it functions at night, checking out these types of cactuses can be an interesting and educational way to do just that.


Now that you’ve had a chance to brush up on everything you need to know about desert cactus flower viewing in Arizona, you can choose the best place for your next cactus-based adventure. With so many locations to pick from, it can be tricky to narrow down the possibilities and pick a place to go for your cactus experience.

So what are some of the best places for cactus bloom viewing throughout Arizona? We’ve gathered a list of some of our top picks for you to check out below. Use these suggestions to help you get started planning your cactus flower tour of Arizona!

1. Saguaro National Park

Location: Tucson

Types of cactus: Saguaro cactus, hedgehog cactus, prickly pear cactus, cholla cactus. This location is primarily known for its saguaro cactuses, and it’s one of the best places to go if you want to see this type of cactus in bloom.

2. Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum

Location: Tucson

Types of cactus: Organ pipe cactus, Senita cactus, Cholla cactus, Fishhook barrel cactus, and more. This location features an organ pipe cactus, which can be difficult to find in the wild but is an impressive display to view.

3. Catalina State Park

Location: Tucson

Types of cactus: Ocotillo, Cholla cactus, and Saguaro cactus. This location has ocotillo plants, which are strange and unique tree-like plants that call the desert home. They are worth checking out along with the cactuses.

4. Desert Botanical Garden

Location: Phoenix

Types of cactus: Cardon cactus, Senita cactus, and Saguaro cactus. This location has cardon cactuses, which can be tricky to find elsewhere.

This list is only intended to help you get started. Remember that there are plenty of places you can go to check out the cactuses in bloom throughout Arizona, and you can find a wide variety of cactuses when you visit different locations, too!