Cactus and Succulents forum→Succulent flower problems

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Name: Eric
Wisconsin (Zone 4b)
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Hallow
May 13, 2020 9:40 AM CST
Thumb of 2020-05-13/Hallow/ddda60

I have this plant that grew a really nice flower stalk with a lot of buds on it.The flower buds were healthy looking and on the plant for at least 2 months. Now the buds are falling off, they never opened. I had lithops do the same thing. Nice buds but they never opened. What am I doing wrong??
Name: Donald
Eastland county, Texas (Zone 8a)
Region: Texas Enjoys or suffers hot summers Raises cows Plant Identifier
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needrain
May 13, 2020 9:56 AM CST
I can't speak to your problems, but I'll note again that Lithops are tricky and though the results were similar, the causes may not have been the same. I had that happen to an aloe and couldn't understand why. But it turned out that the rainfall it had been receiving and a drain hole that wasn't draining well enough had compromised the root system, which deprived the buds and, ultimately, the bloom stalk of the nutrients needed to develop. Fortunately I concluded something below the plant was occurring and removed the aloe and discovered the obstruction over the drain hole. It might have cost me the whole plant if it had continued, but it was just an instinctive guess on my part. So anything that might be affecting the roots and their uptake is what I would consider. That can be lack of water, too much water, excessive amounts of fertilize, some kind of soil insect feeding on the roots. Good luck and if you find out, let us know.
Donald
Name: Thijs van Soest
Tempe, AZ (Zone 9b)
Region: Arizona Enjoys or suffers hot summers Cactus and Succulents Xeriscape Adeniums Hybridizer
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mcvansoest
May 13, 2020 10:37 AM CST
It is not always clear why flowers abort, but usually it implies a change in conditions that forces the plant to concentrate its resources on something else. My echinopsis hybrids make many buds in the spring, but - in my case probably because of water limitations and conditions going too hot/dry too quickly - frequently many of them do not make it past the bud stage, some years especially if we have an unusually wet spring with T not going up to fast you get a much larger yield of buds turning into flowers.

This year we had the wetness, but the 105+ days at the end of April/start of May made for really poor flower counts so far. T's have gone done a bit this week, but I can see that many plants have simply aborted and without effort I can knock the flower buds off.

I realize that this probably does not apply directly to your situation, but I still suspect some growing condition situation is to be blame either too much of something or too little (maybe it did not get warm enough once the flower stalk had started)...
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Name: tarev
San Joaquin County, CA (Zone 9b)
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tarev
May 13, 2020 11:15 AM CST
At times, I find it is just a quick change in the growing area, maybe a sudden temperature drop at night or maybe it has been suddenly too shady in some days. I find most succulent blooms love to see more consistent sun or bright light. So the buds/blooms are thrown out if either the temperature fluctuated too much or light levels was just too insuffucient when it was needed. Also the timing to water is important, if it was accidentally overwatered at any point, it will quickly throw away the buds, I guess it was drinking water too fast for what it needs, so I try to observe the temps and be careful with overwatering.
Name: Eric
Wisconsin (Zone 4b)
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Hallow
May 14, 2020 8:37 AM CST
Could temp play a big factor? The plants that have the issue are the ones that bloom in late winter/early spring. The in the picture is a good example. It grew a nice stalk and buds. It held the buds in the same state of almost 2 months. But never opening before dropping them. Could it be it never got warm enough for them to open but held on to the buds as long as it could.
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[Last edited by Hallow - May 14, 2020 8:43 AM (+)]
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Name: Thijs van Soest
Tempe, AZ (Zone 9b)
Region: Arizona Enjoys or suffers hot summers Cactus and Succulents Xeriscape Adeniums Hybridizer
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mcvansoest
May 14, 2020 10:07 AM CST
I have no trouble believing that it not being warm enough is a major reason. I am still a relative newbie and Sansevierias, but while I most often encounter situations where my conclusion is 'too warm and too dry', I can see not warm enough be another really good reason on the other end of the climate spectrum. Many cacti need it to be above a minimum temperature - usually night time to get serious about making buds. There are noted exceptions like many Mammillarias that can often start flowering in the winter.

I have a Sans in bloom at the moment and I think what triggered it (the stalk appeared really rapidly) was that it got warm and because of that (it is outside) I increased watering to that part of the collection because it has a bunch of green leafy plants that respond quite dramatically to water shortness so it was easy for me to realize I needed to water more. So in that case heat plus more water appears to have triggered the growth of the inflorescence, which appeared to stall for a few days but yesterday I saw open flowers which had already gone a bit wilty - there are times of the year when Echinopsis and Trichocereus flowers here are wilted before they are even fully open because of the heat/dryness.
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Name: tarev
San Joaquin County, CA (Zone 9b)
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tarev
May 14, 2020 12:52 PM CST
That is indeed true, sometimes I am so guilty of underwatering my succulents. nodding especially after they are overwintered indoors. But once I get the pace right, with the right tandem of light, temps and watering needs, the plant bounces back and if there is still time temps-wise, they can still manage to bloom. In my area, most of my blooming succulents occur towards mid to late Spring.

Only the Adeniums and Plumerias are trickier, they really need that heat aspect to prompt them to wake up and do their active growing. At times, I even miss getting any Plumie blooms, though I have observed they give me a very brief blooming time more towards mid Fall. Adeniums starts to show off towards late Spring to mid-Summer as the heat waves develop more earnestly. But all the other succulents, they prefer cooler conditions of Spring. Nevertheless, once any of them is in active blooming mode, they need ample bright light exposure, those flowers love the light a lot!
Name: Eric
Wisconsin (Zone 4b)
Cactus and Succulents Plant and/or Seed Trader
Hallow
May 15, 2020 8:54 AM CST
tarev said:That is indeed true, sometimes I am so guilty of underwatering my succulents. nodding especially after they are overwintered indoors. But once I get the pace right, with the right tandem of light, temps and watering needs, the plant bounces back and if there is still time temps-wise, they can still manage to bloom. In my area, most of my blooming succulents occur towards mid to late Spring.

Only the Adeniums and Plumerias are trickier, they really need that heat aspect to prompt them to wake up and do their active growing. At times, I even miss getting any Plumie blooms, though I have observed they give me a very brief blooming time more towards mid Fall. Adeniums starts to show off towards late Spring to mid-Summer as the heat waves develop more earnestly. But all the other succulents, they prefer cooler conditions of Spring. Nevertheless, once any of them is in active blooming mode, they need ample bright light exposure, those flowers love the light a lot!
I think my environment is not what winter/spring flowering succulents like. I noticed some like to try and bloom when the days start getting longer, like the middle of February. But where I live I am sure it's just not warm enough by the windows along with lack of sunlight here at that time. February and March are always overcast skies.

Name: tarev
San Joaquin County, CA (Zone 9b)
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tarev
May 15, 2020 11:16 AM CST
Yes, the overcast skies, it hampers the opening of the blooms..it happens here too, truly ready to show their blooms, but holds it off...in suspension mode..if it continues on the next day, I end up with lost/dropped buds. haizz
Name: Eric
Wisconsin (Zone 4b)
Cactus and Succulents Plant and/or Seed Trader
Hallow
May 16, 2020 8:36 AM CST
tarev said:Yes, the overcast skies, it hampers the opening of the blooms..it happens here too, truly ready to show their blooms, but holds it off...in suspension mode..if it continues on the next day, I end up with lost/dropped buds. haizz
you think grow lights would solve this problem? I missed some possible really nice flowers on my lithops. They were almost there. Aaaagggghhh. Here February and March everyday is overcast.

[Last edited by Hallow - May 16, 2020 8:39 AM (+)]
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Name: Thijs van Soest
Tempe, AZ (Zone 9b)
Region: Arizona Enjoys or suffers hot summers Cactus and Succulents Xeriscape Adeniums Hybridizer
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mcvansoest
May 16, 2020 12:28 PM CST
Grow lights won't hurt, but it could be an issue of light and T. Now some grow lights do provide warmth, but you might also be talking a heat mat...
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