Epithelantha bokei L.D. Benson
Pingpong Ball Cactus, Button Cactus, Boke's Button Cactus
Epithelantha micromeris subsp. bokei
Epithelantha bokei is a cactus with disc-shaped, short cylindrical or cylindrical stems thickly covered in white or yellowish spines. The stems are usually unbranched and grow up to 2 inches (5 cm) tall. Flowers are pale pink, up to up to 0.7 inches (1.8 cm) long with an equal diameter. Edible fruits are smooth, bright red, and 0.4 inches (1 cm) long. In its native habitat, much of the plant is located below ground, with a few centimeters above. It contracts into the ground during dry periods.
USDA hardiness zones 9b to 11b: from 25 °F (−3.9 °C) to 50 °F (+10 °C).
How to Grow and Care
To encourage better flowering, allow the plants to enjoy a cooling period in the winter and suspend watering. Unlike many other cacti, which use their ribs as storage devices, Mammillaria feature raised tubercles, from which spines emerge. When you water, the tubercles will expand to allow for increased water storage. The flowers appear from these tubercles' axils on the previous year's growth, which accounts for their interesting halo effect. The cactus mustn't be exposed to prolonged dampness and sitting water. Never let your cactus sit in a dish of water. Lastly, make sure to fertilize during the growing season for the best results.
Repot as needed, preferably during the warm season. To repot Mammillaria, make sure the soil is dry before repotting, then gently remove the pot. Knock away the old soil from the roots, making sure to remove any rotted or dead roots in the process. Treat any cuts with a fungicide. Place the plant in its new pot and backfill with potting soil, spreading the roots out as you repot. Leave the plant dry for a week or so, then begin to water lightly to reduce the risk of root rot.
Learn more at How to Grow and Care for Mammillaria.
- Back to genus Epithelantha
- Succulentopedia: Browse succulents by Scientific Name, Common Name, Genus, Family, USDA Hardiness Zone, Origin, or cacti by Genus