Are Your Cacti Flowers Real or Fake? Learn How to Tell the Difference!

When it comes to determining whether cacti flowers are real or fake, there are a few key characteristics to look for
A blooming cactus.

If you visit the gardening department in major home stores or your local gardening store, you will most likely stumble upon some cacti plants that have beautiful flowers on top of them. At first glance, you may think you have found a nice plant with beautiful flowers, but that is not the case. A closer look will reveal that the flowers are not real. These are fake flowers stuck on the cacti plants with glue to attract potential buyers. The trick is often used to increase sales and profit margins for plant sellers.

So, are your cacti flowers real or fake? One of the easiest ways to differentiate real cacti flowers from fake ones is to look for signs of life. Real cacti flowers will show signs of freshness and vibrancy, such as being firm and plump, having bright, and vibrant colors. On the other hand, fake flowers will most likely be made from plastic or fabric materials that are flimsy and dull in colour. The position of the flower can also tell if it is real or fake. Real flowers develop from the stems and follow a specific pattern. So, if the flower sits at the top of the plant, it is probably fake.

This blog post highlights different ways of recognizing fake cacti flowers and how to remove them from your plant. Read on to learn more.

Do Cacti Plants Flower?

So, you may think that cacti plants don’t flower hence the need to fix fake flowers on the plants to make them attractive. Unfortunately, that is not the case at all.

Almost all cacti plants flower. Depending on the species, some cacti plants will flower faster than others.

The only thing you need to do is ensure your cactus is exposed to the right conditions that encourage blooming. Sometimes, you must take care of your plant for several years before it starts showing signs of flowering.

A spider cactus blooming.
The only thing you need to do is ensure your cactus is exposed to the right conditions that encourage blooming.

Some cacti species, such as Mammillaria and Parodia, will flower faster and prolifically than other species. The flowers of different cacti plants come in various shapes, sizes, and colors.

If you want your cactus to flower, consider growing it on a balcony or close to a windowsill where it can receive plenty of sunlight. Real cacti flowers may open for a few hours or days before fading.

Why Do Sellers Attach Fake Flowers to Cacti?

The primary reason sellers attach fake flowers to cacti is to make their plants more marketable. The aim is to boost sales and ensure the cacti plants get new homes as fast as possible.

When buying a cactus, it is your responsibility to check the plant carefully and establish whether the flowers are real or fake. You can always avoid plants with fake flowers if you are unhappy with them.

You are free to ask the seller about the flowers, and he/she should be 100% honest if you ask. However, it is not the seller’s fault if you don’t ask.

Mammillaria nejapensis exposed to sunlight.
You can always avoid plants with fake flowers if you are unhappy with them.

The truth is that blooms make cacti plants look more vibrant and highly attractive to potential buyers. Therefore, sellers will do everything possible to capture your attention.

While it may be difficult to differentiate between fake and real cacti flowers, especially if you are a beginner, things improve as you become more experienced.

In fact, some people can easily differentiate between fake and real cacti flowers by just looking at them.

Identifying Fake Cacti Flowers

Fortunately, identifying fake cacti flowers isn’t hard at all. The first thing you must remember is that real cacti flowers only last for a couple of days. You heard that right; real flowers don’t remain fresh for over a week.

So, if you come across cacti flowers that have lasted for months or even years, they are most likely fake.

Most cacti species flower in summer or right after summer. Therefore, it is almost impossible to find flowers on cacti plants during winter and autumn.

Real cacti flowers will also have unique characteristics, such as bright colours and freshness, among other features. On the other hand, fake cacti flowers may be dull in colour or lack petals altogether.

The position of the flower can also be indicative of whether it is fake or not. Generally, you should expect to see real cacti flowers growing out of a stem or area close to the stem, and they will usually follow a specific pattern.

A golden barrel cactus flowering.
Real flowers don’t remain fresh for over a week.

Fake flowers are normally stuck at the top of the plant, which can be a huge giveaway.

Look at how the flower is attached to the cactus plant. If you are keen enough, you may notice hot glue on the sides of fake flowers. This is how sellers attach fake blooms to cacti plants.

Sometimes, they use a pin, but all real flowers will be attached to the plant’s stem with a receptacle.

What Are the Issues with Fake Cacti Flowers?

The main problem with fake cacti flowers is how they are attached to the plant. Most sellers use hot glue to attach the flowers, although some use pins.

Hot glue creates a massive wound on the cactus and sticks to the spines permanently. A pin is equally bad since it pierces through the cactus, creating a wound.

You must be extra careful when removing the fake flowers from your plant to avoid causing further damage.

A thelocactus blooming in a pot.
The main problem with fake cacti flowers is how they are attached to the plant.

Pulling the flowers out without a plan will tear off areoles, spines, and even a section of the skin, creating an open wound.

With pins, you don’t have any other option than taking the pin out and letting the wound heal with time. Either way, you will be left with a permanent scar on your plant after removing the fake flowers.

How to Remove Fake Cacti Flowers

If you have bought cacti plants with fake flowers, the good news is that it is possible to remove them. Below are different methods of removing fake cacti flowers from your plant:

1. Removing by Hand

You can start by trying to remove the fake flowers by pulling them off gently and slowly. Pay close attention to how the glue has been applied to the plant.

If the glue is relatively loose, use your hand to move the fake flower back and forth a couple of times until it comes off.

Don’t move too fast since it may damage the spines. The back-and-forth movement must be done slowly to minimize potential damage.

Mammillaria Bocasana flowering in a pot.
Pay close attention to how the glue has been applied to the plant.

If the hot glue used to attach the fake flowers to the plant is too hard, this method might not work. The primary aim is to eliminate the fake flowers while causing minimum damage to the plant.

2. Use a Pair of Scissors and Brush

If the hot glue has adhered tightly to the plant, consider using scissors and a brush to remove it.

Start by snipping away all attached petals before brushing gently with a soft brush.

If you find the tip of the scissors touching your cactus, it is time to stop since you might damage the plant further.

Sometimes, you may be forced to cut off some sections. You may lose some spines in the process, but that won’t cause terrible damage to your plant. Just be careful not to cut more than you should.

3. Use a Hair Dryer

You can also use a hair dryer to remove the fake flowers from your plant if the hot glue is too hard on the plant. Carefully blow hot air on the glued area and slowly move it back and forth.

The heat from the hair dryer will eventually loosen up the glue. Once you are sure the glue is loose enough, use your fingers to remove the fake flowers gently while avoiding potential damage to the spines.

Remember not to blow hot air around the plant for too long. If you blow hot air around the cactus for too long, you may end up causing irreversible damage because many cacti species can’t withstand hot air blowing on them for a long time.

4. Use Tweezers

Tweezers can be used to remove fake flowers without causing extensive damage. You can use tweezers to pull out both the flowers and glue.

Be careful when using tweezers and take things slowly because quick movements may damage the plant.

5. Leave It As It Is

If the glue is too hard, consider leaving the fake flowers as they are.

The fake flowers will eventually go down as the cactus grows. It may take a season or two for the fake flowers to fall off without you doing anything.

However, you may have to tolerate the fake flowers on your plant for some time before they finally fall off. This shouldn’t be a big issue as long as your cactus stays healthy.


Although cacti flower naturally, some sellers attach fake flowers to their plants to make them appear more attractive to potential buyers.

It is important to differentiate between fake and real flowers since there are potential problems that come with having fake flowers attached to your cactus plant.

Several methods can be used to remove these fake flowers, such as pulling them off by hand, using scissors and a brush, using a hairdryer, or using tweezers. Ultimately, it is up to you whether you prefer to remove the fake blooms or leave them as they are.

Last update on 2024-02-05 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

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