Matucana aurantiaca (Vaupel) Buxb.
Echinocactus aurantiacus, Arequipa aurantiaca, Borzicactus aurantiacus, Borzicactus calvescens, Matucana calvescens, Submatucana aurantiaca, Submatucana calvescens
Matucana aurantiaca is a cactus that grows in clusters of ribbed, spiny, globular to cylindrical stems with clusters of red-brown spines. The stems grow up to 6 inches (15 cm) tall. The central spines are up to 1.8 inches (4.5 cm) long, while the radial spines are shorter. Flowers are orange, funnel-shaped, up to 3.6 inches (9 cm) long, and appear in summer.
USDA hardiness zone 9b to 11b: from 25 °F (−3.9 °C) to 50 °F (+10 °C).
How to Grow and Care
All species are sensitive to moisture. Therefore, watering should 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 these plants tend to lose their roots in cold and wet, they 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. You can get blooms already after 2-3 years after birth.
Matucana must be grown in very porous and draining soil. It can be composed largely of sand, lapilli, and gravel. To encourage the development of a dense network of spines, 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 these plants grow in steep and inaccessible places in their natural environment.
See more at How to Grow and Care for Matucana.
This species is native to Peru (Cajamarca and La Libertad).
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