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Maihuenia patagonica – Spiny Green Blanket


Scientific Name

Maihuenia patagonica (Phil.) Britton & Rose

Common Names

Spiny Green Blanket


Opuntia patagonica (basionym), Maihuenia albolanata, Maihuenia andicola, Maihuenia brachydelphys, Maihuenia cumulata, Maihuenia latispina, Maihuenia tehuelches, Maihuenia valentini

Scientific Classification

Family: Cactaceae
Subfamily: Maihuenioideae
Genus: Maihuenia


Maihuenia patagonica is a low to strongly domed, cushion-forming, densely spiny cactus, up to 16 inches (40 cm) tall. The stems are lax, not segmented, elongated, up to 16 inches (40 cm) long, up to 0.8 inch (2 cm) in diameter, much branched, with numerous knoblike to cylindrical spur shoots. Young areoles bears white hairs. The leaves are fleshy, subulate, conical, ovoid to linear, round or elliptical in cross section, green, up to 0.25 inch (6 mm) long, with acute tips. The spines are weak, mostly white but also greenish, yellowish, grey or reddish. The flowers are bell-shaped, up to 2.2 inches (5.5 cm) in diameter, usually white, pale pink or bluish-pink, produced at stems tips on short spur shoots. It flowers in late spring or early summer.


USDA hardiness zone 6a to 11b: from 30 °F (−1.1 °C) to 50 °F (+10 °C).

How to Grow and Care

Maihuenia is an easy-to-grow plant. It can survive outside in the garden in the sunny rockery on a sheltered place, but only if it's protected with a sheet of glass during the wintertime. It is also very good for a large pot which can be stored inside an unheated greenhouse or on a balcony, somewhat protected from moisture during the winter, but is probably safest to grow it in the Alpine House or in a raised bed inside an unheated greenhouse all year around, with lots of ventilation. They should not be kept hot in summer as they are from high elevations.

During the growing season it's good to enrich the soil using a fertilizer rich in potassium and phosphorous, but poor in nitrogen. For a balanced development, it is best to place it in a position where it is exposed at least a few hours of direct sunlight. Water these plants only from time to time if grown outdoors, but it should be watered abundantly if grown in a pot or in the greenhouse, during the summer. The spring weather, with a high temperature swing between the day and night hours, and pretty frequent rains, can favor the development of fungus diseases, which should be treated with a systemic fungicide. Repot it every 2 to 3 years… – See more at: How to Grow and Care for Maihuenia


Native to Southern Chile, but also crosses the border into western Argentina.


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