Maihuenia patagonica (Phil.) Britton & Rose
Spiny Green Blanket
Opuntia patagonica, Maihuenia albolanata, Maihuenia andicola, Maihuenia brachydelphys, Maihuenia cumulata, Maihuenia latispina, Maihuenia tehuelches, Maihuenia valentini
Maihuenia patagonica is a low to strongly domed, cushion-forming, densely spiny cactus with numerous knoblike to cylindrical spur shoots. It grows up to 16 inches (40 cm) tall. The stems are lax, not segmented, up to 16 inches (40 cm) long, and up to 0.8 inches (2 cm) in diameter. Young areoles bear white hairs. Leaves are fleshy, green, subulate, conical, ovoid to linear, round or elliptical in cross-section, up to 0.25 inch (6 mm) long, and with acute tips. Spines are weak, mostly white but also greenish, yellowish, grey, or reddish. Flowers are bell-shaped, up to 2.2 inches (5.5 cm) in diameter, usually white or pale pink and bluish-pink, and produced at stem tips. They appear 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 in 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. Still, it is probably safest to grow it in the Alpine House or a raised bed inside an unheated greenhouse all year round, 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. It is best to place it in a position where it is exposed to at least a few hours of direct sunlight for balanced development. If grown outdoors, water these plants only from time to time, but they should be watered abundantly if grown in a pot or the greenhouse during the summer. With a high-temperature swing between the day and night hours and pretty frequent rains, the spring weather 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.
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