Mammillaria spinosissima, commonly known as the Spiny Pincushion Cactus, is a charming and easy-to-grow cactus that’s perfect for both container gardening and as a houseplant.
Here’s how to cultivate and care for this lovely cactus:
- Growth: Mammillaria spinosissima starts as a solitary stem and often clusters as it matures. The cylindrical stems are dark blue-green and can reach heights of 12-20 inches (30-50 cm) with a width of about 4 inches (10 cm).
- Spines: The stems are densely covered with bristly red-brown or white central spines and cream-colored radial spines, giving it a spiky appearance.
- Flowers: In spring, this cactus produces a beautiful ring of carmine-pink flowers, each approximately 0.8 inches (2 cm) in diameter. These delightful blooms add to its ornamental value.
- Fruits: After flowering, small greenish to dull purple fruits may develop.
Growth and Landscape Use:
- Light: Plant your Spiny Pincushion Cactus in full sun or provide bright filtered light if grown indoors.
- Soil: Use standard cactus compost, ensuring excellent drainage.
- Watering: Water moderately during the growing season but allow the soil to dry out between waterings. Never allow water to accumulate around the roots.
- Feeding: Apply a balanced liquid fertilizer every two to three weeks during the growing season.
- Hardiness: This species is frost-sensitive and is only hardy down to 23°F (-5°C) for brief periods. It’s best suited for frost-free climates.
Maintenance and Care:
- Pests and Diseases: Watch for potential pests like mealybugs or red spider mites. Over-watering can lead to rot, so it’s crucial to avoid excessive moisture.
- Propagation: Spiny Pincushion Cactus can be propagated from seed sown in early spring or through offsets produced by mature plants.
- Repotting: Repot every 2-3 years to provide fresh soil and space for growth.
- Native to central Mexico, Mammillaria spinosissima is naturally found in its habitat.
In summary, the Spiny Pincushion Cactus, Mammillaria spinosissima, is a delightful and fast-growing cactus that adds a touch of charm to both indoor and outdoor gardens. Its attractive spines and beautiful pink flowers make it a popular choice for cactus enthusiasts and succulent collectors.