Mammillaria spinosissima cristata 10.5cm
Mammillaria spinosissima cristata
Description: This is a stable genetic mutation from a very variable spined species Mammillaria spinosissima, in which each areole only produces one spine, but some perfectly spineless areoles are also present.
Notes: This very popular plant is in cultivation in Europe since before 1991, but never formally described.
Cultivation and Propagation: It is an easy to grow cultivar, just as a classic cactus, don't requires any special treatment, but need as much light as possible without burning the plant to encourage the heaviest spine formation. It is a great starter plant for the cactus grower, that readily builds up into a cluster of stems highlighted by reddish spines, further decorated by rings of purple-pink blooms.
Growth rate: It is a rapidly growing species. It offset from the base and can fill a 25 cm pot in just a few years given the best conditions.
Soils: It likes very porous standard cactus mix soil with little organic matter (peat, humus).
Repotting: Repotting every 2-3 years. As it is prone to rot under-pot in a smaller container filled with very porous compost. Use pot with good drainage.
Watering: Water regularly in summer, but do not overwater (very wet-sensitively, especially in light of its succulent root system). Its roots are easily lost in pots that stay damp for any length of time. Keep dry with ample airflow in winter. In the rest period no high atmospheric humidity. Care must be taken with watering as they tends to become swollen and untidy in growth habit if given too much water and shade.
Fertilization: During the growing season enrich the soil using a fertilizer rich in potassium and phosphorous, but poor in nitrogen, because this chemical element doesn’t help the development of succulent plants, making them too soft and full of water.
Hardiness: It is quite frost resistant if kept dry, hardy as low as -5° C (some reports give it hardy to -12°C). However, some warmth throughout the year will increase the growing success (minimum 5° to 8°C during rest season).
Exposition: Outside bright sun, filtered sunlight or afternoon shade, inside it needs bright light, and some direct sun. Subject to sunburn if exposed to direct sun for too long. Tends to bronze in strong light, which encourages flowering and heavy wool and spine production.
Uses: It is an excellent plant for container growing. It always looks good and stays small.
Traditional uses: The white, hooked spines of this spherical cactus were used as fish hooks in its native Mexico.