Turbinicarpus subterraneus (Backeb.) A. D. Zimm.
Echinocactus subterraneus, Gymnocactus subterraneus, Neolloydia subterranea, Rapicactus subterraneus, Thelocactus subterraneus
Turbinicarpus subterraneus is a small cactus with a bluish-green, erect or prostrate stem flaring out after a long slender neck that separates the large tuberose root from the enlarged apical part. It is one of the most unusual and fascinating cacti. The stem is club-shaped, up to 6 inches (15 cm) tall, and up to 1.2 inches (3 cm) in diameter. Each areole bears 2 blackish-gray, up to 0.9 inches (2.2 cm) long central spines, and 16 to 19 white, about 0.2 inches (0.5 cm) long radial spines. Flowers are whitish to magenta-colored with pink or brown mid-stripe, up to 1 inch (2.5 cm) long, and up to 1.2 inches (3 cm) in diameter Fruits are small, greenish-brown, relatively dry, and unattractive.
USDA hardiness zones 9b to 11b: from 25 °F (−3.9 °C) to 50 °F (+10 °C).
How to Grow and Care
Turbinicarpus prefer to be in a well-ventilated position in full sun to maintain a good body color and spinal development. When it comes to watering, the golden rule is "never water when the soil is still damp." This is the one error that will certainly kill any plant Watering should commence in the spring, depending upon the weather conditions at the time. The plants should initially be given a light spray to encourage them to grow gently.
These cacti can withstand high summer temperatures and benefit from proper ventilation. Do not be tempted to overcrowd the plants. They will be far happier with a bit of space to allow the air to circulate. Winter temperatures can be as low as 44 to 46 °F (7 to 8 °C). Indeed the plants need these low temperatures to ensure a sustained dormant period resulting in proper growth and flowering the following growing season.
Learn more at How to Grow and Care for Turbinicarpus.
This species is endemic to Mexico. Its natural habitat is hot deserts.
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