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Mammillaria bocasana (Powder Puff Cactus)


Scientific Name

Mammillaria bocasana Poselg.

Common Names

Powder Puff Cactus, Powder Puff Pincushion, Powderpuff Pincushion Cactus, Snowball Cactus, Fishhooks


Mammillaria bocasana subsp. bocasana, Mammillaria haehneliana, Mammillaria knebeliana, Mammillaria seideliana, Neomammillaria bocasana

Scientific Classification

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


Mammillaria bocasana is a clumping, spherical, blue-green cactus, up to 3 inches (7.5 cm) in diameter, with white, hair-like and up to 0.8 inch (2 cm) long radial spines (one hooked) and 1 to 7 reddish-brown and up to 0.4 inch (1 cm) long central spines. The flowers are funnel-shaped, creamy white to pinkish, up to 1 inch (2.5 cm) long and up to 0.6 inch (1.5 cm) in diameter. The fruit is cylindrical, rosy-pink to red and up to 1 inch (2.5 cm) long.


USDA hardiness zones 8a to 11b: from 10 °F (−12.2 °C) to 50 °F (+10 °C).

How to Grow and Care

This cactus is only suitable for outdoor life in USDA plant hardiness zones 8 to 11. For gardeners in most zones, only indoor potted Powder Puff Cactus is an option.

Powder Puff Cactus needs plenty of sunlight and warm temperatures. It is happy as long as temperatures are between 70 and 80 °F (21 to 27 °C) and at least 8 hours of sunlight. During the winter, it become dormant and can be held in a dry, cool room of the house. The exposure to temperatures between 60 and 65 °F (16 and 18 °C) helps encourage flowering in spring. Move Powder Puff Cactus outside in summer.

The potting soil needs to be porous so it can drain well. Allow the soil to become nearly dry between waterings, but then water thoroughly. Never let the pots sit in water. Suspend watering in the winter, but mist occasionally.

Fertilize Powder Puff Cactus in spring with a 5-10-5 liquid fertilizer. Continue to feed the potted plant in summer, every month. Suspend fertilizer in fall and winter, when the plant is dormant.

Learn more at How to Grow and Care for a Powder Puff Cactus (Mammillaria bocasana).


Mammillaria bocasana is native to Mexico (San Luis Potosi, Zacatecas).

Subspecies, Varieties, Forms, Cultivars and Hybrids


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