Matucana aurantiaca subsp. fruticosa (F.Ritter) Mottram
Matucana fruticosa (basionym), Borzicactus fruticosus
Matucana aurantiaca subsp. fruticosa is a cactus with stems up to 20 inches (50 cm) tall and up to 2.4 inches (6 cm) in diameter. It grows in clusters of ribbed, spiny spheres or cylinders and forms large groups up to 3.3 feet (1 m) wide. The spines are needle-like, yellow to brown and up to 2.4 inches (6 cm) long. The flowers are funnel-shaped, golden yellow and crimson, up to 3.6 inches (9 cm) long, up to 2 inches (5 cm) in diameter and appear in summer.
USDA hardiness zones 10b to 11b: from 35 °F (+1.7 °C) to 50 °F (+10 °C).
How to Grow and Care
All species are sensitive to moisture. Watering should therefore be limited to the growing season and should be made only when the substrate is completely dry. It must be suspended during the winter. Since they tend to lose their roots in cold and wet, these plants must be kept warm even in winter. A temperature not under 50 °F (10 °C) is suitable. Some species, for natural adaptation, can resist at temperatures below 32°F (0°C).
If the plants are in the vegetative stage and optimal environmental conditions (a low moisture content with substantial temperature swing between day and night is appreciated), the growth is quite fast and you can get blooms already after 2 to 3 years after birth.
Matucana must be grown in a very porous and draining soil. It can be composed largely by sand, lapilli and gravel. To encourage the development of a dense network of spine, the quality of the nutrients in the substrate is very important. The soil must be rich in potassium, poor in nitrogen. Since the roots are very delicate and subject to rot, the soil should be kept as dry as possible. Do not forget that in their natural environment these plants grow in steep and inaccessible places.
Learn more at How to Grow and Care for Matucana.
Matucana aurantiaca subsp. fruticosa is native to Peru.
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