Rebutia is a genus of cacti commonly known as Crown Cacti and includes some of the most popular and easiest to grow cacti, making them perfect for beginnings. These plants are native to high elevations in South America, growing in clusters on the mountains.
They are frequent bloomers and readily send out offshoots, so even plants only two or three years old will form an attractive cluster of small plants. Their flowers typically emerge from the base of the plant or between individual plants in the same cluster, as opposed to the crown of the plant. In terms of culture, they are not particularly difficult and like bright light and light moisture.
Light: Rebutias thrive in bright light and a range of conditions. Many species can be grown in partial shade to full sun. However, as these are mountain species, they do not appreciate high temperatures, which should be avoided.
Water: Throughout the growing season, from spring to fall, let the potting soil almost completely dry out between waterings, then water thoroughly. In winter, cut back watering.
Soil: A rich, fast-draining cactus mix is ideal.
Fertilizer: During the growing season, fertilize with a cacti fertilizer. Suspend feeding during the dormant winter period.
Rebutias can be propagated easily from offsets that are readily in clusters around the base of the mother plant. Once your plant has gained a decent size and has sent out several offsets, carefully remove the offset, and allow the cut to dry on a paper towel for a few days.
Depending on the size of the cut area, a callous will form over the cut surface. Once the callous has formed, place the new plant in a pot with a well-draining potting soil mix and keep in a warm place until new roots emerge. Once the plant is established, repot it into a regular container.
Repot as needed, preferably during the warm season. To repot a Rebutia, 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.
If you can grow cacti and succulents successfully, you can likely grow the popular Rebutias without too much trouble. Their water and light requirements are fairly typical for many species, including a cooling period in the winter to promote better blooming. Watering should be done carefully, allowing the soil to almost dry out between waterings. The cactus must not be exposed to prolonged dampness and sitting water. Never let your Rebutia sit in a dish of water. Instead of propagating your offsets, let the plant for a large cluster for the best viewing. When it blooms, this will make a truly beautiful display. Lastly, make sure to fertilize during the growing season for the best results.
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