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How to Grow and Care for Yavia

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Yavia is a monotypic genus of dwarf plants. It is one of the most recently described genera in the Cactus family. The genus is named after Argentina's department Yavi, Jujuy Province, where the plant is endemic to sparsely vegetated rocky slopes. Yavia cryptocarpa is the only species in the genus. The species name "cryptocarpa" refers to the plant being a cryptocarp. This means that the fruits are formed inside the plant's body, thus being only visible when the plant shrinks in the drought period. It is a very mimetic plant that takes the color of the surrounding rocks.

Yavia cryptocarpa is a small globular cactus that consists primarily of a single stem, but may clump, especially when grafted. Ribs are present, but hardly noticeable beyond the rows of fuzzy-white areoles that feature very small reddish-brown spines. Flowers are pink with a short, thick floral tube.

Despite the recent discovery of this species, it is being rapidly propagated by enthusiasts and should become more and more available each year.

Growing Conditions and General Care

Yavia cryptocarpa love to be in a very bright exposure, but generally not to direct light of sun. The risk, especially during the hottest hours of the day and during the summer, is to get sunburned.

Photo via bcss.org.uk

This cactus is very susceptible to rot and therefore requires a well-drained soil. Use potting mix that is labeled for cacti or succulents.

Water during the growing period and let the soil dry out between waterings. Keep dry as soon as the temperature starts dropping and keep it perfectly dry in winter at temperatures from 40 to 60°F (5 to 15°C).

Yavia cryptocarpa need to be kept in a cool place during winter rest and can tolerate sporadic frost if kept on the dry side prior to, and during, cold weather with little danger of being killed. However in cultivation it is better not to expose it to temperatures lower than 40°F (5°C), even if in an aerated and protected location.

This cactus is slow grower and don't really need much fertilizer. Just a couple of times per year will do. But if you want to fertilize your cactus regularly, do so in spring and summer.

Repotting

Repot as needed, preferably during the warm season. Make sure the soil is dry before repotting, then gently remove the pot.

Propagation

Yavia cryptocarpa is usually propagated by seed. It is often grafted to accelerate growth, as they would generally take at least a decade to reach maturity on their own.

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