Astrophytum asterias (Zucc.) Lem.
Sand Dollar Cactus, Sea Urchin Cactus, Star Cactus, Star Peyote
Astrophytum asterias is a small, spineless cactus with a stem that grows up to 2.4 inches (6 cm) tall and up to 6 inches (15 cm) in diameter. The stem is flat, non-branched, dark green, with 5 to 11 (generally 8) ribs and woolly areoles. Flowers are yellow with orange-red centers, up to 3 inches (7.5 cm) in diameter, and appear in spring. They are followed by fruits that are green, pink, or grayish-red and covered with dense, wooly hairs.
USDA hardiness zones 9a to 11b: from 20 °F (−6.7 °C) to 50 °F (+10 °C).
How to Grow and Care
Astrophytums are not vigorous plants, and they require a lot of patience to reach their full potential. Keep regularly watering and feeding them during the growing season and repot annually to give them space to develop. They need a temperate, dry winter as well and make sure not to overwater them to avoid rotting their roots. If given sufficient care, they will develop marvelous flowers once they reach maturity. Watch out for common cactus pests like aphids and scale, as well. These can often be taken care of by a good eco-friendly pesticide or simply wiped away with a cloth.
Repot regularly to help them develop. Astrophytums should be repotted at the beginning of the growing season for best results, allowing them to grow into the impressive specimens for which the genus is known. Protect your hands before repotting due to their stiff spikes and lift the plant out all at once, then replace it in a larger pot and backfill with soil. Do not overwater or overfeed newly repotted cacti, as disturbances can be hard on them.
Learn more at How to Grow and Care for Astrophytum.
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