Pelecyphora strobiliformis (Werderm.) Frič & Schelle ex Kreutz
Ariocarpus strobiliformis, Encephalocarpus strobiliformis
This species is native to northeastern Mexico.
Pelecyphora strobiliformis is a slow-growing geophytic cactus with globose to flattened globose, yellowish-green stems with overlapping, spirally arranged, scale-like tubercles resembling pine cones. The stems grow up to 1.6 inches (4 cm) tall and 2.4 inches (6 cm) in diameter, solitary or producing offsets to form a small clump. The areoles are wooly, at the apex of the tubercles, and bear a few short spines. They disappear with age.
Flowers are brilliant pink to reddish-purple with greenish outer segments and appear at the base of young tubercles near the top of the stem in spring, opening during the day. They are bell-shaped or funnel-shaped and up to 1.2 inches (3 cm) long.
USDA hardiness zones 9b to 10b: from 25 °F (−3.9 °C) to 40 °F (+4.4 °C).
How to Grow and Care
To encourage better flowering, allow the plants to enjoy a cooling period in the winter and suspend watering. Unlike many other cacti, which use their ribs as storage devices, Mammillaria feature raised tubercles, from which spines emerge. When you water, the tubercles will expand for increased water storage. The flowers emerge from the axils of these tubercles on the previous year's growth, which accounts for their interesting halo effect. The cactus mustn't be exposed to prolonged dampness and sitting water. Never let your cactus sit in a dish of water. Lastly, ensure to fertilize during the growing season for the best results.
Repot as needed, preferably during the warm season. To repot Mammillaria, ensure the soil is dry before repotting, then gently remove the pot. Knock away the old soil from the roots, removing any rotted or dead roots. Treat any cuts with a fungicide. Place the plant in its new pot and backfill it with potting soil, spreading the roots out as you repot. Leave the plant dry for a week or so, then begin to water lightly to reduce the risk of root rot.
Learn more at How to Grow and Care for Mammillaria.
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