Mammillaria sphaerica A.Dietr.
Longmamma Nipple Cactus, Longspine Nipple Cactus, Pale Mammillaria
Cactus sphaericus, Dolichothele sphaerica, Mammillaria longimamma var. sphaerica, Mammillaria sphaerica subsp. sphaerica, Neomammillaria sphaerica
Mammillaria sphaerica is a small cactus that forms clumps of pale green globose stems with conical to cylindrical tubercles and white or yellowish spines. The stems grow up to 2 inches (5 cm) in diameter. Tubercles are up to 1 inch (2.5 cm) long and 0.3 inches (0.8 cm) in diameter. Each areole bears one central spine and 12 to 14 radial spines. Flowers are brilliant yellow and appear in spring or summer. They are funnel-shaped, up 0.3 inches (0.8 cm) long and up to 1.2 inches (3 cm) in diameter. Fruits are greenish-white to dull pinkish-tan or maroon, ovoid to short cylindric, about 0.6 inches (1.5 cm) long, and up to 0.3 inches (0.8 cm) in diameter.
The specific epithet "sphaerica (SFAY-rik-uh)" is a feminine form of the Latine adjective "sphaericus," meaning "spherical," and refers to the shape of the stems.
How to Grow and Care for Mammillaria sphaerica
Light: Plant this cactus in an area of your garden that receives 4 hours of direct sunlight a day. If you are growing M. sphaerica indoors, place it near the brightest window in your home or office to ensure your cactus gets enough light. If possible, place the pot on the balcony or in the garden for extra light from spring to fall.
Soil: M. sphaerica requires a soil mix that provides root aeration and good drainage, whether grown outdoors or indoors. Use commercial cactus potting mixes or create your own potting mix.
Hardiness: This cactus is heat tolerant, but it is not a cold-hardy plant. M. sphaerica can withstand temperatures as low as 20 to 50 °F (-6.7 to 10 °C), USDA hardiness zones 9a to 11b.
Watering: From spring to fall, water deeply and wait for the soil to dry out before watering again. Never let the pot sit in water. Suspend watering in the winter.
Fertilizing: M. sphaerica can benefit from fertilization during the growing season. Apply a water-soluble fertilizer for cacti and other succulents. Suspend feeding during the winter when the plant goes dormant.
Repotting: Repot every two or three years into a slightly larger pot. The best time to repot your M. sphaerica is late winter or early spring, but the repotting process can be done almost any time of the year.
Propagation: There are two easy ways to propagate M. sphaerica: by seeds or by dividing offsets. The best time to remove offsets is in spring and summer. Sow the seeds in late spring or summer.
Learn more at How to Grow and Care for Mammillaria.
Toxicity of Mammillaria sphaerica
M. sphaerica is considered non-toxic to both humans and pets.
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