Escobaria vivipara (Nutt.) Buxb.
Beehive Cactus, Pincushion Cactus, Pink Pincushion Cactus, Purple Ball Cactus, Spinystar, Spinystar Cactus, Viviparous Foxtail Cactus
Cactus viviparus, Coryphantha vivipara
Escobaria vivipara is a small cactus with spherical to short cylindrical stems with slightly grooved tubercules, each tipped with a moderately woolly areole from which the spines emerge. It grows solitary or in clumps of up to 30 stems. The stems grow up to 8 inches (20 cm) tall and 4.4 inches (11 cm) in diameter. Each areole bears 3 to 14 central and 10 to 40 radial spines. The central spines are red or basally white and up to 1 inch (2.5 cm) long. Radial spines are white and up to 0.9 inches (2.2 cm) long. Flowers are pale rose-pink to reddish pink or magenta, sometimes with darker midstripes or shading to white or pale greenish. They are funnel-shaped, up to 2.2 inches (5.5 cm) long, up to 2.7 inches (6.7 cm) in diameter, and appear from the axils of tubercules near the top of the stems in summer. Fruits are green, with exposed portions slowly turning dull brownish-red. They are ovoid to obovoid, up to 1.1 inches (2.8 cm) long and up to 0.8 inches (2 cm) in diameter, and contain bright reddish brown seeds.
USDA hardiness zones 4a to 10b: from -30 °F (-34.4 °C) to 40 °F (+4.4 °C).
How to Grow and Care
Escobarias are very susceptible to rot and therefore require well-drained soil without any water excess or stagnation; it has been observed that the plants also suffer the environmental humidity, which should preferably remain very low (30-50%). Avoid watering during the winter, when the plant is dormant: watering Escobaria in cold environmental conditions will almost certainly lead to the death of the plant. The plants, whose growth is typically quite slow, perceive a significant temperature difference between night and day in the growing season. The average winter minimum temperature, in general, should not fall below 42 to 46 °F (6 to 8 °C) unless there are individual exceptions; adult plants can withstand frosts that are also very intense, but only if the temperature rises again quickly.
The experienced grower knows well the difficulties of survival in this genus, which is certainly not one of the easiest to grow. The seed germination rate is lower than other genera. In fact, other propagation methods are preferable, such as offsets or cuttings.
See more at How to Grow and Care for Escobaria.
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