Mammillaria albicoma Boed.
This species is native to Mexico (Nuevo Leon, San Luis Potosi, and Tamaulipas), where it grows at elevations of around 5.000 feet (1.500 m).
Mammillaria albicoma is an attractive cactus that forms clumps of green stems covered with white hair-like spines. Each stem is globular to short cylindrical, grows up to 2 inches tall, and up to 1 inch (2.5 cm) in diameter. It has 30 to 40 radial spines and 1 to 4 central spines per areole, all up to 0.5 inches (1.3 cm) long. The radial spines are often tipped red-brown. Flowers are greenish-yellow to creamy white, up to 0.6 inches (1.5 cm) long, and appear in summer. Fruits are red, club-shaped with dark gray seeds.
The specific epithet "albicoma (al-bee-KOH-ma)" means "white-haired" or "having white fibers" and refers to the stems that are almost entirely covered with white hair-like spines. It is a compound of two Latin words, the adjective "albus," meaning "white," "clear or bright" and "pale, fair, gray, or hoary," and the noun "coma," meaning "the hair of the head" or "foliage."
How to Grow and Care for Mammillaria albicoma
Light: Plant this cactus in an area of your garden that receives 4 hours of direct sunlight a day. If you are growing M. albicoma indoors, place it near the brightest window in your home or office to ensure your cactus gets enough light. If possible, place the pot on the balcony or in the garden for extra light from spring to fall.
Soil: M. albicoma requires a soil mix that provides root aeration and good drainage, whether grown outdoors or indoors. Use commercial cactus potting mixes or create your own potting mix.
Hardiness: This cactus is heat tolerant, but it is not a cold-hardy plant. M. albicoma can withstand temperatures as low as 25 to 50 °F (-3.9 to 10 °C), USDA hardiness zones 9b to 11b.
Watering: From spring to fall, water deeply and wait for the soil to dry out before watering again. Never let the pot sit in water. Suspend watering in the winter.
Fertilizing: M. albicoma can benefit from fertilization during the growing season. Apply a water-soluble fertilizer for cacti and other succulents. Suspend feeding during the winter when the plant goes dormant.
Repotting: Repot every two or three years into a slightly larger pot. The best time to repot your M. albicoma is late winter or early spring, but the repotting process can be done almost any time of the year.
Propagation: There are two easy ways to propagate M. albicoma: by seeds or by dividing offsets. The best time to remove offsets is in spring and summer. Sow the seeds in late spring or summer.
Learn more at How to Grow and Care for Mammillaria.
Toxicity of Mammillaria albicoma
M. albicoma is considered non-toxic to both humans and pets.
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