Mammillaria fraileana (Britton & Rose) Backeb.
Bartschella albicans subsp. fraileana, Chilita fraileana, Ebnerella fraileana, Mammillaria albicans subsp. fraileana, Mammillaria albicans f. fraileana, Neomammillaria fraileana
Mammillaria fraileana is small cactus that grows up to 6 inches (15 cm), slowly offsetting to forms small clusters. Stems are green but often reddish if grown in full light, cylindrical, and up to 1.6 inches (4 cm) in diameter. They have 11 to 12 thin, white, and up to 0.4 inches (1 cm) long radial spines and 3 to 4 (one hooked), dark brown, up to 0.4 inches (1 cm) long central spines per areole. Flowers are up to 1.2 inches (3 cm) in diameter and have light pink petals with a darker pink median line.
USDA hardiness zones 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, 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 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.
Learn more at How to Grow and Care for Mammillaria.
Native to central Mexico (Baja California).
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