First-time Bloomer

Rich and I bought this lovely Gymnocalycium pflanzii five or six years ago. It was a Lowe’s rescue purchase, so I had little hope for him from the start. But he has kept his neatly symmetrical shape while surviving a variety of conditions from chilly and dark in our kitchen to full sun in the warmth of our sunroom. No matter the environment, the only variation I noticed was in the color of his skin, going from dark green when kept in lower light to a rich purple-green in full sun.

This view from the side shows the graceful outer covering of the bud, and two emerging buds.

This unassuming little cactus has grown slowly and consistently and has worked his way into my heart over the years. But he never flowered, until now. I first thought I noticed buds in early April. I was ecstatic to see a barely-perceptible nub poking through one of the areoles near the center of the plant. I enthusiastically pointed out the bud to Rich (I actually screamed when I first saw it!), even though we had to use a magnifying glass to confirm what it was. A few days later, the original bud was larger and two more tiny nubs were emerging from nearby areoles.

The much-heralded opening of the flower was less than spectacular, due to our less-than-spectacular temperatures and amount of sunshine lately. But by the fourth day, the sunroom temperature climbed to 80° and the cactus gave us a better show. Two more to go!

This cactus flower has white and light pink petals with a magenta center. Close-up of the bloom It opened a bit wider by the third or fourth day.
Gymnocalycium pflanzii in bloom