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How to Grow and Care for Blossfeldia

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Blossfeldia is the smallest of the cacti. Although several species of Blossfeldia have been described, most botanist agree on the fact that all the ones described until now should be included in Blossfeldia liliputana.

The Blossfeldia is much easier to grow when grafted. Because of their slow growth rate, Blossfeldias are often grafted, which causes them to grow very fast and offset heavily but lose their characteristic disc-like shape, becoming quite globular and bloated. In this case the minimum temperatures acceptable should take in account the requirements for the rootstock.

Growing Conditions

Light: Some shade with ample airflow is preferred for best appearance.
Temperature: Blossfeldia 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 (Frost tolerance: At least 15°F (-10°C)). 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. It tends to rot in winter during the resting phase, if kept wet.

Photo via kakteenforum.de

Water: Water during the growing period from March till October, the thin, fibrous roots suffer if there is humidity, therefore the plant should be watered only when the surrounding terrain is dry. But needs to be avoided wetting the bodies of these plants while they are in sunlight. A wet plant in the sun light can cause sun burning which can lead to scares or even fungal infections and death. Keep dry as soon as the temperature starts dropping in October and keep it perfectly dry in winter at temperatures from 40-60°F (5-15°C). Preferable not to water on overcast days, humid days or cold winter days.
Soil: Grow it in a particularly draining substratum, as it is very sensitive to rottenness when in presence of humidity and low temperatures and let the soil dry out between waterings.
Fertilizer: It grows faster with a low nitrogen content fertilizer in spring and summer.

Propagation

Almost exclusively by seed and graft. The minuscule seeds should be sown on the surface of a very finely sifted soil mix. These plants are very slow growing and is very difficult to keep them alive on their own roots for the first 4-6 months and should be watered by carefully misting with a hand held spray bottle until they are large enough to be watered normally.

Pests and Problems

It may be attractive to a variety of insects, but plants in good condition should be nearly pest-free, particularly if they are grown in a mineral potting-mix, with good exposure and ventilation.

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