One of the most popular cacti among florists is the mammillaria, which is unpretentious and undemanding in its care. These cacti are native to southern North America and also to Mexico, and in natural conditions they prefer to grow on chalky and calcareous rocks. Some species of Mammillaria can be found at a very high altitude, around 2.5 thousand meters above sea level. These cacti prefer to put down roots in rock crevices, in volcanic tuffs, and some species grow near the sea.
Mammillariae are not large, and their shape is mostly cylindrical and rounded. These cacti are very strongly pubescent. Mammillaria differs from other cacti in that on the surface of its stem are small papillae, from which grow small hair-like spines. This plant is highly resistant to cold and heat. But consider that there are also species that are extremely demanding to weather conditions.
Mammillaria care at home
Mammillaria in culture is a very popular cactus. But for it to grow and develop well under room conditions, it needs good care and optimal conditions for development and growth.
This cactus is a light-loving plant, so it needs plenty of light. If the plant does not get enough light, it can die. A shrub will grow best on a southern balcony or loggia.
To make it feel well in winter, you should provide it with extra light by installing phytolamps.
For the cactus to develop and grow normally, it needs moderate air temperature, namely from 15 to 25 degrees. In summer on hot days, it will need protection from the direct rays of the sun, as they can harm it. If the bush overheats, it will become shriveled or burns will appear on it. Shade the plant only when it is in a dry and unventilated place.
If the window is constantly open, the shrub does not need shade.
Wintertime Mammillaria has a dormant period. It is best to keep it cool (7 to 10 degrees) during this period. During the resting period, watering should be stopped. Those cacti, which stems have pubescence, during winter time must be kept at not less than 15 degrees.
If such bushes grow in a warmer place, they may suffer.
In winter and summer, mammillaria are watered differently. During the resting period, water very sparingly and infrequently so that on average it should be watered once every 15 to 20 days. In spring and summer, the number and abundance of watering increases. During the warm season, on average, the soil is moistened once every 7 days, but the final frequency of watering is influenced by weather conditions and the size of the container.
But be sure to remember to moisten the potting soil mixture only when it is completely dry. Otherwise you can harm the plant. It is best to water the mammillaria in the morning so that the surface of the potting soil can dry out in the evening. Exactly in the cold season it is very susceptible to overwatering of the substrate, although even in spring and summer period you can not allow the stagnation of moisture in the root system.
Feed this plant only with special fertilizers for succulents and cacti.
Choose only liquid fertilizers. Mammillaria is not fed all year round, but in April-October. In winter, when there is a dormant period, all nutrition stops.
When the mammillaria is young, it is transplanted regularly once a year. When the plant becomes an adult, the number of transplants should be reduced to one every 2 years.
Such plants need a porous substrate that lets water and air through well. Prepared soil mixture should be sure to pour a small amount of gravel and brick crumbs. Do not put mulch in the substrate, because cacti are not recommended to grow in a soil mixture that contains too many nutrients.
Transplanting a rooted baby cactus.
When growing the cactus in room conditions, it blooms regularly and quite spectacularly. Generally, the first buds form at the end of the dormancy period. The maturing buds on the bush can be found as early as January. In this case, start to water more abundantly from April and around March the first flowers should already be opening.
Bud development on the Mammillaria takes about four weeks, which is why the watering needs to be more plentiful and frequent but balanced at this time. Remember that during the maturation of the buds the plant should be placed on a window sill in such a way that direct sunlight does not reach the side of the plant where the flowers will open after a while. The side on which the bud is located should be turned so that it is in the shade. If this is not done, the bud may die.
Many flower growers use shoots to propagate Mammillaria, because this method is simple and easy.
However, experts advise, once every few years to grow such a cactus not from a stem, but from a seed. The fact is that the shoots of this plant can degenerate over time.
Mammillaria (cactus) from seed
Diseases and pests
The following problems may occur with mammillaria when growing it in room conditions:
- The Red spider miteHas settled on the bush. This pest can cause severe damage to the cactus, so you must start combating it as soon as it is detected. To get rid of the mite, as a rule, use special insecticidal preparations.
You must use them within 15 days according to the instructions on the package.
- Cactus mites appeared on the plant . It is quite difficult to get rid of scutes, because the adults have a protective shell. That is why in the fight against such a pest can not do without pesticides, or more precisely, insecticides. Treatments with such a drug are carried out regularly according to the instructions for several weeks until all the insects are dead.
- Appearance in the root system of the bush nematodes. The matter is complicated by the fact that nematodes are underground on the roots, so it is not easy to detect them. In most cases, the affected bush has bubbles forming on the surface of the roots. To save the cactus, remove it from the substrate and cut off any bubbles. Then immerse the root system in very warm water for 10 minutes (about 50 degrees).
Then sprinkle the roots with carbon powder and put the bush in a new pot and freshly disinfected substrate.
- The color of the stem has changed or it has become soft. In most cases this is due to rotting on the bush. Make sure the potting soil is very dry and adjust your watering.
Bad potting soil usually causes pests to infest the cactus.
Mammillaria species with photos and names
This species has an elongated and thick stem. Most often, the stem reaches about 50 millimeters across. The papillae of such a plant are elongated and thin, and the golden spines grow on them. The distinctive feature of this species is that it has a central thorn bent in a hook. It is also characterized by very strong branching.
During flowering, white rather large flowers appear on the bush. After pollination, berries are formed on this cactus.
Mammillaria celmanniana (Mammillaria zeilmanniana)
This species is the most popular among florists. The short, not very large stem of this cactus is dark green in color and is cylindrical in shape. This species has many shoots forming on the side of the flower.
Flowering lasts quite a long time, about 6 months to be exact. During the flowering period, flowers of deep pink color are formed on the bush. Pay special attention to the watering of this species. The fact is that its stem has a soft structure, and therefore it is contraindicated to abundant and frequent watering. If this plant is properly cared for, it will be very resistant to adverse weather conditions.
It is not afraid of temperature drops as low as minus 7 degrees.
Mammillaria baumii (Mammillaria baumii)
This species differs from the others in that it grows very actively. On the surface of the greenish stems is a huge number of white prickles. As the plant grows, it forms a bush that can reach a width of about 15 cm. Flowering is not distinguished by its duration, but it is quite spectacular.
The bush produces large yellow flowers that have a very pleasant odor. After flowering, the cactus forms large fruits of a gray hue.
Unlike the other species, this cactus has a very unusual ball-shaped stem. Its surface is covered with many prickles of a yellowish hue. When grown at home, this cactus blooms regularly.
It forms large beautiful flowers, the petals of which are colored in a pink shade, while the core is dark. This species, like the others, is resistant to both heat and cold. If cared for well and properly, even sudden changes in temperature will not harm the shrub.
The short stem of this cactus reaches only about 60 millimeters in length. The stiff hook-shaped prickles are surrounded by thin and soft hairs that are gathered in bunches.
During flowering, small cream or white flowers are formed on the shrub. This species is fairly resistant to adverse weather conditions. If taken care of properly, even a slight drop in temperature won't hurt the plant.
This species is one of the most popular, and it grows well in room conditions. The stem is not very large and reaches about 50 millimeters in height.
It has an unusual spherical shape and its surface is covered with brown or white hairs. An adult shrub reaches about 15 cm in width. During flowering, pink or white flowers form on the plant. This species is very weather hardy and if properly maintained, even mild frosts will not harm it.
This species has a small bush.
It has a stem shape similar to a ball. This species forms several not very large groups that reach about 10 cm in height and across. The stem of this plant has dense pubescence, which consists of white prickles. During flowering, spectacular red-colored flowers form on the bush. This cactus is unpretentious about temperature.
This species is so named because of the white hairs between the papillae. It differs from the other species in that it contains milky sap. It is found by simply breaking the papillae or stem. This species has 6 to 13 radial spines and 6 to 13 brownish or yellow ones. During flowering yellow flowers appear on the shrub with a length of up to 20 mm.
This species is unpretentious about temperature. If well and properly cared for, it will not be afraid of both heat and cold.
Mammillaria prolifera (Mammillaria prolifera)
This succulent plant grows quite well in room conditions. The bush of this species can reach about 50 mm in length and up to 30 mm across. On the surface of the rounded stem there are small tubercles, as well as many white prickles, which makes the bush look "shaggy".
Flowering is observed in winter and spring, and lasts from December to May. The bell-shaped flowers are about 20 mm across and can be white or cream colored. This plant is not afraid of both heat and cold. But this cactus grows and develops best in room conditions at 10-15 degrees.
This species grows and develops very well in room conditions.
Its stem reaches about 20 millimeters across and can be up to 20 centimeters long. The stem of this species is elongated and soft, with small tubercles on its surface. There are also golden spines on the stem, which are not very large rosettes. This species blooms from April to June, at which time yellow or white flowers appear on the plant. This species is recommended to grow in a cool place (10-15 degrees).
Cactus Mammillaria. How to grow Mammillaria at home