Mammillaria backebergiana F.G. Buchenau
Mammillaria backebergiana subsp. backebergiana, Mammillaria fertilis
Mammillaria backebergiana is an attractive cactus with green stems with pyramidal, spirally arranged tubercles tipped with clusters of yellowy or brownish-yellow spines. The stems can grow up to 12 inches (30 cm) tall and 2.4 inches (6 cm) in diameter, spherical at first, becoming cylindrical with age. Each areole bears 8 to 12 radial and 1 to 3 central spines.
This species is similar to Mammillaria spinosissima but has more slender stems.
The flowers are purplish-red and appear in spring, forming rings around the top top of the stems. They are funnel-shaped, up to 0.8 inches (2 cm) long, and up to 0.5 inches (1.3 cm) in diameter.
Mammillaria backebergiana is native to Mexico (Guerrero, Michoacan, and State of Mexico). It grows on cliffs at elevations of around 6,230 feet (1,900 m).
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 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, ensure fertilizer during the growing season for the best results.
Repot as needed, preferably during the warm season. To repot a cactus, ensure the soil is dry before repotting, then gently remove the pot. Next, remove the old soil from the roots, removing any rotted or dead roots.
See more at How to Grow and Care for Mammillaria.
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