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Mammillaria bombycina (Silken Pincushion Cactus)

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Scientific Name

Mammillaria bombycina Quehl

Common Names

Silken Pincushion Cactus, Silken Pincushion

Synonyms

Chilita bombycina, Ebnerella bombycina, Escobariopsis bombycina, Neomammillaria bombycina

Scientific Classification

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

Description

Mammillaria bombycina is a popular, solitary or clustering cactus up to 8 inches (20 cm) tall. Some clones cluster aggressively and can form up to 3 feet (90 cm) wide, gorgeous mounds as they matures. The stems are bright-green to grey-green and up to 2.4 inches (6 cm) in diameter. The bulbous tubercles, surrounded by downy white hairs, have short white spines and much longer brown curved spines. The circular clusters of deep rose-pink flowers are borne on the upper surface in spring and summer.

Photo via fotki.com

Hardiness

USDA hardiness zones 9a to 11b: from 20 °F (−6.7 °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, 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. It's imperative that the cactus is not exposed to prolonged dampness and sitting water. Never let your cactus sit in a dish of water. Lastly, make sure to fertilize during the growing season for the best results.

Repot as needed, preferably during the warm season. To repot Mammillaria, 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. Treat any cuts with a fungicide. Place the plant in its new pot and backfill with potting soil, spreading the roots out as you repot. Leave the plant dry for a week or so, then begin to water lightly to reduce the risk of root rot… – See more at: How to Grow and Care for Mammillaria

Origin

Mammillaria bombycina is native to western central Mexico (Jalisco and Aguascalientes states).

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