This the 5th installment in a series of 12 monthly articles providing the reader with some idea what succulents bloom what time of year (should hold true pretty much anywhere in the northern hemisphere outdoors- plants in the southern hemisphere always bloom during the same season as in the north, only seasons are the opposite time of the year). Note that many plants bloom multiple times of the year, or have a more 'opportunistic' flowering schedule. Still, this is an introduction should one like to know what to expect when growing their own succulents, or when visiting warmer areas of the world where these succulents grow outdoors.
April is a transitional month and we see a shift from the predominant flowers belonging to the Aloe family to being time for the Cactus family to start showing off. However, April is also uniquely blessed with Puya flowers (not really true succulents, but which are often grown with them as they are truly xeric plants) as well. And the Mesembs are still in full swing this month covering large expanses with their brilliantly colored carpets of blooms.
Though April is not the peak month for cactus flowers, it certainly is a good one. Many of the Echinopsis hybrids flower this month, many Mammillarias are in full flower now, and the Epiphyllums are starting to show off, too. Opuntias are just beginning to get going and so are the Parodias and Gymnocalycium.
Two cacti in April showing flowers- left is my Astrophytym asterias 'Super Kabuto'; right is a nice Echinocactus horizontholonaus in a plant show
This large colony of Cleistocacti sp. was seen blooming at the Huntington Gardens in April
My favorite Cleistocactus species, Cleistocactus ferrarei, is a good reliable bloomer in spring in my yard
Also blooming in the yard this month are Cleistocactus strausii (left) and winteri (right)
Echinocereus often start blooming in spring- a few from my garden: Echinocereus dasyacanthus (left) and Echinocereus triglochidiatus (center and right)
Echinocereus coccineus (in New Mexico- photo by oldmudhouse) left; Echinocererus nivosus (center) in my yard; and Echinocereus pentalophus end of April in the Huntington Gardens (right)
Echinocereus chisoensis (left) and Echinocereus laui (right) also bloom in early spring (photos by CactusJordi)
Echinopsis 'Fire Chief' in my garden in April (left); Echinopsis formosa blooms several months off and on, but this shot is from an April bloom (right)
Three Echinopsis hybrids in my yard this month. Only known hybrid is the far left which is a popular plant with huge flowers, Echinopsis 'Flying Saucer'
I have several hanging cacti that are always in bloom this month- Disocactus flagelliformis (Rat Tail Cactus) left and center; Aporophyllum 'Cascade' right
Epiphyllums start to bloom this month, though May is their month to really shine: Epiphyllum 'Sonoma Sunshine' (left); Epiphyllum 'Agatha' (photo bszarek) center and Epiphyllum 'Block Party' right
Epiphyllum 'French Gold' (left) and Epiphyllum 'American Sweetheart' right (photo by bszarek)
Ferocactus pilosus is starting to bloom this month in my yard (left) as is Ferocactus glauscens (right)
Ferocactus stanseii (left) and Ferocactus echidne var. victoriensis (right) both blooming in April
Gymnocalyciums start to bloom this month as well, but Gymnocalycium brucheii (left) always seems to be the first to show off; then comes the big Gymnocalycium saglionis (center and right)
Mammillarias are out in force this month. Mammillaria supertexta (left) and Mammillaria compressa (right)
Mammillaria casoi and Mammilaria hahniana blooming in my yard
Three more of my Mammillarias that flower in April: Mammillaria crinita ssp. duwei (left), Mammillaria picayensis (center) and Mammillaria karwinskiana (right)
and two of my favorites, Mammillaria melanocentra (left) and Mammillaria geminispina (right)
Opuntia basilaris, the Beavertail Cactus, is one of the first Opuntias to flower in the spring
two turquoise Opuntias also bloom this time of year- Opuntia macrocentra (left) and Opuntia violacea var. gosseliana (right)
Parodia werneri (left) and Parodia lenninghausii (the Lemon Ball Cactus) are two more cacti that make flowers this time of year in the yard
another shot of Parodia lenninghausii in a botanical garden (left); right is Pereskia grandiflora, an oddball leafy cactus that sometimes blooms as early as April
Here is a link to a discussion on Davesgarden with more cacti flowering in April: http://davesgarden.com/community/forums/t/1250178/
Aloe africana is one of the last tree aloes to see blooming this late in the year (left); some miniatures such as Aloe amutadensis (middle) and Aloe belatulla bloom in April as well
Aloe 'commutata' colony in April in the Huntington Gardens, southern California
Aloe 'Blue Elf' (left) is a very common and popular landscape aloe that flowers in full force this month; Aloe brevifolia flowers in both April and May (center) and Aloe broomii can flower as late as April (right)
Aloe burhii is a later season bloomer and comes in three different colors
Aloe camperi 'cornuta' flowers in April (left) along with Aloe cremnophila (center) and Aloe divaricata (right)
Aloe esculenta (left) Aloe glauca (center) and Aloe harlana (right) bloom this month
Aloe hildebrandii (left) flowers in most months, Aloe longibractreata is a regular April flowerer (center) and Aloe lineata's last month is April (right)
Aloe pachygaster (left) and Aloe pictifolia (right) flower in April, but Aloe pendens (center) blooms in nearly every month in my yard
Aloe pubescens has fuzzy flowers in April (left); Aloe plicatilis is one of the last blooming tree aloes (center and left)
Aloe striata is really popular and bloooms best in April (left); the best flowering aloe in my garden in April is Aloe umfoloziensis (middle) and it holds it flowers for 3 weeks almost; Aloe vera (right) blooms many times throughout the year (seems many of the yellow-flowering aloes often bloom multiple times)
Delosperma floribundum blooms this time of year (left) as does this red Mesemb that I can never seem to find a tag on in the botanical gardens (right)
Lampranthus are still in bloom in April: Lampranthus glaucescens (left); Lampranthus 'Pink' (center) and Lampranthus 'Red Shift' (right)
Euphorbias beging to produce cyathia (their flowers) in force in spring: Euphorbia atropurpurea (left), Euphorbia balsamifera (center) and Euphorbia caput-medusae (right)
Two more medusoid plants that make cyathia in April include Euphorbia flanaganii (left) and Euphorbia inermis (right)
Euphorbia millii varieties are still in bloom in April and many stay in bloom most of the spring into the summer.
Euphorbias that are flowering in my garden include Euphorbia mayurananthani (left), Euphorbia rowleyanus (center) and, at its peak, Euporbia enopla (right)
two forms of Euphorbia characias that seem to like this month for flowering are Euphorbia characias 'Portuguese Velvet' (left) and Euphorbia characias 'Tasmanian Tiger' (right)
three more I see making cyathia this month are Euphorbia stellata (one of my favorites- left), Euphorbia tetragona (center) and Euphorbia makallensis (right)
Euphorbia horrida hybrid (Euphorbia 'Wundulate) is in full flower this month, but it stays this way most of the summer, too- left; this Monadenium, now included in the genus Euphorbia, is also in flower in my garden this month (and several thereafter)- right
Several Aeonium hybrids flowering in April (right is Aeonium 'Voodoo')
Crassula 'Morgan's Beauty' sometimes blooms as late as April (left); Dudleya brittonii has been shown before, as it blooms variably most of the winter and early spring, but April is its real blooming month, when all of them are in full bloom (center and right)
Similar to Echeveria elegans, this slightly smaller species, Echeveria potosina, tends to be a month behind Echeveria elegans in its blooming time
The strange but popular Madagascan garden succulent, Alluaudia procera (left) blooms this month; Fouquieria splendens (Ocatillo) also starts to shows its brilliant red to red-orange flowers this month (center); Oxalis gigantea, the succulent version of this genus, starts to recover and flower in April (right)
Hesperaloe parvifolia (aka Red Agave) (left) blooms about half the year, but April is its real coming out month; Pachypodium namaquanum blooms this month (center) and this hybrid of Pachypodium namaquanum and succulentum also is in early bloom in April in my garden (right)
Several Gasterias start to flower this month (left is Gasteria 'Little Warty'); outdoor Dyckias also flower this momth (center and right)
If you ever plan on visiting the Huntington Gardens and cannot come during Aloe season (winter), try at least to visit sometime in April. The flowering Puyas are worth the visit alone- absolutely incredible!!
Puya beteroana (left) and Puya alpestris (center and right)
Puya chilensis in April, Huntington Gardens, southern California
Puya coerulana in April (left and center); Puya coerulana var. violacea (right)
Puya venusta colony in April, Huntington Gardens.
Three more Puyas blooming in April in the Huntington gardens that were not identified
About Geoff Stein
Veterinarian and Exotic Plant Lover... and obsessive, compulsive collector of all oddball tropical and desert plants.