Late Blooming Saguaro

Clay Thompson at the Arizona Republic answers questions about cactus in Arizona.

This is actually similar to a lot of questions we get, so it seems appropriate. I’ve edited out most of Clay’s humor to get to the nub of the question, so click through to get the full feel of Clay’s personality as he answers cactus questions.

Q: I have a large, mature saguaro that bloomed in September. I have lived in Arizona for 40 years and know that they always bloom in May or early June. There are dozens in our neighborhood, with only this one blooming now. What’s up?

A: (M)y guess was that it had something to do with the cactus being under some sort of stress, like from drought or something….

Lenora Stewart, a master gardener with the University of Arizona… told me… that plants, like people, sometimes do odd things….

Maybe it was stress of some sort — “Stress is a (saguaro’s) middle name,” she said she — or maybe it wasn’t. Or maybe your cactus just took it in its mind to confound you or just didn’t happen to feel like blooming when all of its kinfolk did.

For us in the Bay Area, our bloom season is later in the summer than theirs, so cacti are more likely to bloom at odd times for no reason.

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March 2023

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