Melocactus bellavistensis Rauh & Backeb.
Melocactus bellavistensis subsp. bellavistensis
Melocactus bellavistensis is a small cactus with a globose to somewhat elongate and conical stem with 9 to 18 ribs and red bristly cephalium. It grows up to 10 inches (25 cm) tall. The stem is glossy dark green and up to 10 inches (25 cm) in diameter. Spines are whitish to reddish-yellow, usually curved downward and up to 1 inch (2.5 cm) long. The cephalium has exserted reddish bristles and creamy white wool. It is up to 6 inches (15 cm) tall and 4 inches (10 cm) in diameter. Flowers are deep pink, up to 1 inch (2.5 cm) long, up to 0.4 inches (1 cm) in diameter, and appear from spring to summer. Fruits are red and up to 1.2 inches (3 cm) long.
USDA hardiness zones 10a to 11b: from 30 °F (−1.1 °C) to 30 °F (−1.1 °C).
How to Grow and Care
Melocactus are somewhat finicky cacti with unusual requirements. They shouldn't be allowed to completely dry out, even in winter, and they can suffer from soil composition, drainage, water level, sun, and more factors that are difficult to control. For that reason, these plants are best for growers who have already had some success cultivating cacti. Establish a balance with good aeration matched by ample water good soil matched by good drainage, and these plants should continue to grow. If they are grown successfully, their unusual tops make them among the more beautiful desert cacti.
Notably, Melocactus like to be fairly packed in, so keep them in a fairly small container that slightly constricts their roots. Repotting them at the beginning of the growing season is a good idea until they form cephalium, and the body stops growing, and they should be repotted like other cacti.
Learn more at How to Grow and Care for Melocactus.
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