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Melocactus matanzanus (Dwarf Turk's Cap Cactus)


Scientific Name

Melocactus matanzanus Léon

Common Names

Dwarf Turk's Cap Cactus, Turk's Cap Cactus


Melocactus actinacanthus

Scientific Classification

Family: Cactaceae
Subfamily: Cactoideae
Tribe: Cereeae
Genus: Melocactus


Melocactus matanzanus is a small globose cactus that grows up to 3.6 inches (9 cm) tall and about the same in diameter. On the bright green body, there are usually 8 to 9 rounded ribs and brownish-gray or white clusters of recurved spines. The central spine is up to 2 inches (5 cm) long, while the 7 to 8 radial spines are up to 2 inches (5 cm) long. When the plant has reached a certain age it shows at the growing tip a cephalium, a globose structure covered with white wool and reddish-brown bristles. This structure, where the flower buds will form, grows up to 3.6 inches (9 cm) tall and up to 2.4 inches (6 cm) in diameter. Flowers are rose-pink to carmine, up to 2 inches (5 cm) long and appear in mid-summer.

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USDA hardiness zone 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 already have 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're grown successfully, their unusual tops make them among the more beautiful of 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 cephaliums and the body stops growing, and they should be repotted like other cacti… – See more at: How to Grow and Care for Melocactus


Native to the north of Cuba.


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