Aztekium valdezii Velazco, M.A.Alvarado & S.Arias
This species is native to Mexico. It occurs in the Sierra Madre Oriental mountains of Nuevo León.
Aztekium valdezii is a small cactus with subspherical greenish-grey stems with usually five well-pronounced ribs with transverse wrinkles and lined with closely set areoles, yellowish-white felty when young, and with spines only in those close to the apex. The stems grow up to 2.4 inches (6 cm) tall, nearly equal in diameter, solitary or producing offsets from the base to form a small clump. The spines are flattened, curved upwards, up to 0.4 inches (1 cm) long, and drop off with age.
Flowers are deep pink or magenta, white near the center, and appear and appear at the apex in later spring and early summer. They are funnel-shaped, up to 0.8 inches (2 cm) long, and up to 1 inch (2.5 cm) in diameter. Fruits are small, berry-like, naked, pink, open when ripe, and let out tiny dark brown seeds.
USDA hardiness zones 10a to 11b: from 30 °F (−1.1 °C) to 50 °F (+10 °C).
How to Grow and Care
Aztekiums are by far the most challenging and difficult cacti to grow. They have extremely slow growth, probably the slowest of the entire Cactus family. They usually take several years for growth to be even noticeable. However, once a specimen is established on its own roots, it is no trouble to keep it, and it becomes an easy plant to manage.
Because of the difficulty of cultivation, Aztekiums are most often grafted to hardier stock. They need good drainage and regular water in summer. Keep it nearly dry in winter. If grafted, the plants can take a little more water. Just remember the graft stock is also a cactus and will rot if overwatered. Provide shade from midday through the afternoon. A little morning sun is OK.
Learn more at How to Grow and Care for Aztekium.
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