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Mammillaria polythele


Scientific Name

Mammillaria polythele Mart.


Mammillaria polythele subsp. polythele, Mammillaria crocidata, Mammillaria dolichocentra, Mammillaria galeottii, Mammillaria hidalgensis, Mammillaria kewensis, Mammillaria tetracantha

Scientific Classification

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


Mammillaria polythele is a single stemmed cactus up to 2 feet (60 cm) tall and up to 4 inches (10 cm) in diameter. The stem is dull green to dark bluish green and covered by crowded tubercles, bearing 2 to 4 spines and abundant wool in their axils. The flowers are rose to pinkish purple, up to 0.8 inch (2 cm) long, up to 0.6 inch (1.5 cm) in diameter and appear in summer in a ring around the top of the stem.


USDA hardiness zones 10a to 11b: from 30 °F (−1.1 °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


Mammillaria polythele is native to Mexico.


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