Let’s Remove Those Fake Cactus Flowers! (3 Ways)

How to remove fake cactus flowers featured image

Wondering how to remove that fake flower and the awful sticky, messy glue that’s attached to your beautiful little cactus?

Me too! I feel your frustration…

My parents gifted us a pack of 3 mini cacti with these artificial flower heads attached so I scoured the internet looking for the best ways to remove them.

I found the most popular methods to be simply pulling it off, using alcohol, and then at the more extreme end, using a hairdryer or heat gun.

So, I tried them all and documented the process for you below;

The question is, did they all survive?

Let’s go and find out;

1) Simply “Pull it Off” They Said!

Many people have said they had success simply just pulling it off but this obviously depends on how trigger-happy the person was with the glue gun.

I held my first cactus securely with some bubble wrap and got a good grip on the flower with my pliers.

Lee holding the flower head with a pair of pliers while supporting the body of the cactus with bubblewrap

I applied pressure and pulled using moderate force and a swooping motion.

The result?

Most of the flowers came away still leaving the bottom section and that big unsightly ball of glue.

Most of the purple flower head has been removed leaving the base and a big ball of glue still to be dealt with.

If you’re going to try this, I recommend going gently as the last thing you want to do is pull some of the flesh away with it.

2) Isopropyl Alcohol To Dissolve The Glue

Before I could move on to the next plant, I still had to remove the glue so I reached for the 70% isopropyl rubbing alcohol which you can get from Amazon.

A bottle of Isopropyl rubbing alcohol to dissolve the glue from the flower
Isopropyl rubbing alcohol to help break down the glue

The idea is, to fill the bottle cap and then use Q-tips to gently massage and break down the glue.

Bottle cap full of Isopropyl alcohol and a q-tip ready to apply to the glue
Fill the bottle cap and use a Q-tip to apply
Apply the alcohol to the glue
Massage the glue with the alcohol

It’s not the quickest method, but after around ten minutes, the glue started to soften and I was able to pick it off using tweezers without any damage

I found this oddly satisfying!

Then I started on my 2nd test subject!

This time I went straight in with the alcohol.

It took a little longer as the flower petals kept getting in the way and it was harder to see what I was doing.

Tip: Turn the cactus on its side if you can. This will prevent alcohol from running down the plant.

It shouldn’t do any harm, Isopropyl alcohol is commonly used to treat pests such as mealy bugs. Still, I’d rather not expose my cacti to anything that isn’t essential.

I picked the flower and glue off with tweezers but this time a few of the spines came with it.

A patch was left and a few spines came away along with the glue and flower

In hindsight, I should have been more patient and kept working the glue until I was sure it would come away without damage.

3) Next, I Tried a Hairdryer (Proceed with Caution!)

I was quite hesitant to try this as some people warned that using hairdryers and heat guns could burn the cactus or damage it due to the high humidity.

Other people had used them with great success.

My final cactus has a hole in the middle so I thought I’d use it as a test subject.

This way, if I did damage it, I can warn you and potentially save a lot more cacti because of it.

It also happened to be the messiest of the three as you can see below;

Small golden barrel cactus dripping with glue down the side
Glue had dripped down the side of this poor plant

So out came the big guns;

Lee with a hairdryer about to use it to remove the final flower hopefully without burning it
Please excuse the terrible lighting

I put the heat on a low setting and stood a good distance away.

I started with the hairdryer on low heat and quite far away before increasing heat and moving in closer
I was very cautious at first

I slowly turned up the heat and moved closer, regularly checking to see if the glue was starting to soften.

After just over 3 minutes (yes, I timed it), I was able to lift the flower along with the glue all in one piece without any damage.

The final artificial flower was successfully removed using a hairdryer without damage

It’s been over a week since and I haven’t seen any negative side effects).

While I can’t recommend this method because of the potential damage you could do to your cactus, it worked well for me on this occasion.

I saw a great tip from someone who recommended shielding the rest of the plant with a paper plate to protect the main body.

I wish I had seen that before I tried!

Or You Could Just Leave it

If you’re worried about damaging your cactus, you could always leave the flower on.

As it grows and changes shape, there’s a good chance it will simply fall off by itself.

I mention this because there isn’t a 100% safe way to remove it that guarantees you won’t damage your little plant.

Why Do Stores Glue on These Fake Flowers?

Beats me and personally I don’t think it should be allowed.

I actually contacted the store where my parents bought them from by email and was told I’d receive a response within 24 hours.

It’s been 15 days and no response so I’m guessing they don’t know either!

My best guess is that they ask suppliers to attach them to make them more appealing to customers who are new to Cacti.

Either that or the suppliers do it off their own back knowing these big box stores might be more likely to stock them if they look”pretty”.

In this store’s defense, the label does clearly state ‘cactus with artificial flower’ which is more than some places do.

Another school of thought is that the flower is there as a tool to help you replant the cactus when you get home as you can easily pick it up without getting pricked.

While I don’t believe this is why, it’s actually quite a good idea!

Not All ‘Fake’ Flowers Are Actually Fake!

Unlike mine, not all of these flowers are fake.

A common trick is for stores to use ‘strawflowers’ which are actually real flowers.

Strawflowers are commonly attached to cacti and react to humidty by opening and closing
Image credit: Pixabay /Stevebidmead

The crazy thing is, even when a strawflower has been picked and glued onto a cactus, it can still react to humidity causing it to open and close tricking the buyer into thinking it’s a real cactus bloom.

So, How Did You Get On?

Well, I managed to successfully remove all three fake flowers without too much damage, how about you?

Have you tried any of the methods listed here yourself yet? If so, how did you get on?

Maybe you’ve got a different/better method that I haven’t tried?

If so, please let me know in the comments section below!

Similar Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *