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Mammillaria backebergiana


Scientific Name

Mammillaria backebergiana F.G. Buchenau


Mammillaria backebergiana subsp. backebergiana, Mammillaria fertilis

Scientific Classification

Family: Cactaceae
Subfamily: Cactoideae
Tribe: Cacteae
Subtribe: Cactinae
Genus: Mammillaria


Mammillaria backebergiana is an attractive, slender, columnar cactus with yellowy or brownish-yellow spines and great purplish-red flowers circling near the top of the plant during the growing season. It is similar to Mammillaria spinosissima, but its stems are more slender. The stem is globose, becoming cylindrical, clear green, waxy, up to 12 inches (30 cm) tall, and up to 2.4 inches (6 cm) in diameter. The flowers are purplish-red, up to 0.8 inches (2 cm) long, and up to 0.5 inches (1.3 cm) in diameter.

Mammillaria backebergiana

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USDA hardiness zone 9b to 11b: from 25 °F (−3.9 °C) to 50 °F (+10 °C).

How to Grow and Care

To encourage better flowering, allow the plants to enjoy a cooling period in the winter and suspend watering. Unlike many other cacti, which use their ribs as storage devices, the Mammillaria feature raised tubercles, from which spines emerge. When you water, the tubercles will expand to allow for increased water storage. The flowers emerge from the axils of these tubercles on the previous year's growth, which accounts for their interesting halo effect. The cactus mustn't be exposed to prolonged dampness and sitting water. Never let your cactus sit in a dish of water. Lastly, make sure to fertilizer during the growing season for the best results.

Repot as needed, preferably during the warm season. To repot a cactus, 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. See more at How to Grow and Care for Mammillaria.


Native to Mexico.



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