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How to Grow and Care for a Goat's Horn Cactus (Astrophytum capricorne)

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Astrophytum capricorne, commonly known as Goat's Horn Cactus, is a slow growing cactus native to the Coahuila regions of Northern Mexico. It grows mainly on limestone situations, among rocks and thorny bushes.

This cactus gets its common name, the Goat's Horn Cactus, from the characteristic shape of its long, curled and spines, a grass-mimicry to camouflage the cactus among its surroundings.

Goat's Horn Cactus is grown for its display of curved, long, grass-mimicry spines, making it a strange specimen between cacti collections and a stunning feature as an old giant cactus in xeriscaping or rock gardens. Young, small specimens of Goat's Horn Cactus are ideally suited to window-sill conditions or balconies or patios.

Growing Conditions and General Care

Goat's Horn Cactus is a desert cactus, therefore it loves sun and will grow well if provided with plenty of direct sunshine. To young specimens should be provided with indirect sunlight. With inadequate light which could result in poor growth and unnatural shape.

Photo via flickr.com

Use alkaline, lime based soil with good drainage as this species is rot prone.

It thrive in average room temperatures between 60 and 75 °F  (16 and 24 °C ) from spring until fall. From late autumn to late winter give them a rest winter at temperatures between 45 and 50 °F (7 and 10 °C).
Normal indoor humidity is fine for Goat's Horn Cactus. Provide good air ventilation for healthy growth.

During the active growth period water this cactus moderately, but allow the top 3/4 of the mixture to dry out thoroughly between waterings. During the rest period give only enough water to prevent the mixture from drying out.

Give to Goat's Horn Cactus a diluted cactus fertilizer during spring and until the end of summer, once very 4 weeks. They thrive in poor soils and need a limited supplies of fertilizer. Do not over use fertilizer as this can affect and damage the roots.

Nearly all cultivation problems with Goat's Horn Cactus occur as a result of overwatering and poor ventilation, especially when weather conditions are dull and cool or very humid.

Propagation

Goat's Horn Cactus can be propagated easily from seed as it seldom produces offsets. The seeds can be sown in pots of fine, well-drained sandy soil, any time during the spring when temperatures are warm at about 70 to 80 °F (21 to 27 °C ).

Sometimes Goat's Horn Cactus is grafted to avoid root rot problems as plants grafted on an hardy stock are easy to grow and no special skill is required.

Source: plantsrescue.com

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