Frailea castanea Backeb.
Frailea castanea subsp. castanea, Frailea asterioides, Astrophytum castaneum, Frailea perumbilicata
Frailea castanea is a small cactus with a chocolate brown or dark reddish-green, flattened to globose stem with 8 to 15 flat ribs. It grows up to 2 inches (5 cm) in diameter. Flowers are yellow and up to 1.6 inches (4 cm) in diameter.
USDA hardiness zones 10a to 11b: from 30 °F (−1.1 °C) to 50 °F (+10 °C).
How to Grow and Care
Frailea cacti perform best in full sun but be cautious about placing them too close to a southern window where the flesh can burn. The tone of the cactus is darkest when it enjoys a full day of sunlight.
This is a short-lived plant that rarely exceeds 15 years before it dies back. Here is a fun bit of Frailea information. If plants are growing where no water is available, they have the interesting ability to hide in the soil. Don't be shocked if your plant seems to have disappeared, as it is simply retracted under the soil just as it would do in the dry season in its native region. Once sufficient moisture is available, the plant swells and is again visible on the top of the soil.
Caring for Frailea is a balancing act between sufficient moisture but periods of soil drying, so water is the biggest challenge in Frailea cactus care. Choose water that is free from heavy minerals. Water well once per week in summer, but water only once every three weeks or when the soil is quite dry to the touch in spring and fall. The plant experiences no growth in winter and does not need water.
Learn more at How to Grow and Care for Frailea.
This species is native to Brazil.
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