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How to Grow and Care for Copiapoa


Copiapoa is a favorite genus among many cactus growers. The species are globose or globose-cylindrical plants that have well-defined ribs and a wooly apex which gives rise to nearly all yellow flowers. These flowers are funnel shaped, mostly between 1 and 2 inches (2.5 and 5 cm) in diameter and are quite similar from one plant to the next.

In contrast, the spines may be long and fierce or mostly absent. The roots may be fibrous or huge tubers that are larger than the portions above ground. Some plants are small individuals many form clumps, some imposing mounds of several feet across with hundreds of stems. Coloration is also a variable even with in the same species from glaucous blue-green, to deep green to brown.

Copiapoa is widely popular in cultivation. In the wild the genus is restricted to northern Chile. They are found primarily in the Atacama desert where annual rainfall is barely measurable. The plants in habitat get their moisture from coastal fogs. Despite the extreme and specific conditions in habitat, Copiapoa as a whole are surprisingly easy in cultivation. From seed sewing to the care of mature plants, this genus is very forgiving. While staying manageable in size, Copiapoa in cultivation will flower from a young age and reliably so each following year.

Growing Conditions and General Care

Copiapoa want exposure to half or full sun. If they are in full sun, they must be in a position with good air circulation or they risk sunburn.

Watering should be extremely poor, the ground must dry out completely between waterings. They should, however, be suspended during July and August. In this period instead of watering It will be appropriate to spray the plant early in the morning, before the temperature warms up, thus simulating the conditions that they would have in their natural environment.

The soil should be formed from a mineral substrate (for example, granite crumbled) mixed with very little universal soil.

Fertilizing should be extremely light. They are sufficient, in any case, from April to June.


Considering that it is a very slow-growing plants, you can repot every 3 to 4 years (with differences according to the single species).


The reproduction by seed is possible, but very difficult and slow. The plants typically produce few seeds that must be planted very fresh and they have a very slow development.

For this, the most widely used system to multiply the Copiapoa is the division of clumps that are created at the base of the stem, which can be picked up and planted separately.



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