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How to Grow and Care for Stenocactus


Stenocactus is a genus of northern and central Mexican cacti of around 10 species related to Ferocactus. It now includes Hertrichocereus and Echinofossulocactus. They are mostly small globular cacti, of very variable characteristics, generally below 4 inches (10 cm) in diameter, often solitary, but sometimes clustering as they age. The name "Echinofossulocactus" comes from the Latine for "Echinocactus with a little ditch", referring to the small wrinkle extending from the top of the areola in some species. They contain the wave cacti, also called Brain Cacti, that are so named because of their large number of undulating ribs.

The short funnel-shaped flowers are generally striped with a darker median line and, just above 1 inch (2.5 cm) in diameter. These flowers come in late summer and last 3 to 4 days.

Growing Conditions

Light: Stenocactus like bright sunlight and thrive in full sun and strong light.
Water: Throughout the growing season (spring and summer) let the potting soil almost completely dry out between waterings, then water thoroughly. In winter, cut back watering.
Soil: A rich, fast-draining, potting soil is ideal.
Fertilizer: During the growing season, fertilize with a cacti fertilizer mix. Suspend feeding during the dormant winter period.

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General Care

If you can grow cacti and succulents successfully, you can likely grow Stencactus without too much trouble. Their water and light requirements are fairly typical for most species of cacti, including a cooling period in the winter to promote better blooming. Watering should be done carefully, allowing the plant to almost dry out between waterings. It's imperative that the cactus is not exposed to prolonged dampness and sitting water. Never let your cactus sit in a dish of water. For the best viewing, instead of propagating your offsets, let the plant for a large cluster. Lastly, make sure to fertilize during the growing season for the best results.


Repot as needed, preferably during the warm season. To repot cacti, 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.


Stenocactus propagate easily from seed. The seeds readily germinate. Sow the seeds in a cactus seedling starter mix and keep them barely moist until they sprout.



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