Uebelmannia pectinifera Buining
Uebelmannia pectinifera subsp. pectinifera
Uebelmannia pectinifera is an attractive small cactus with a solitary stem that usually appears granular and is covered with waxy, white scales. The stem is spherical, becoming cylindrical with age, has 15 to 18 triangular ribs, and can grow up to 3.3 feet (1 m) tall and 6.8 inches (17 cm) in diameter. If grown in shade, the stem is green with white stripes, while in full sun, it can turn frosty brown or purple. The areoles have brownish to gray felt and form an almost continuous line along the ribs of the stem. The spines are brown-grey to black but also whitish or yellowish-brown and can reach up to 0.8 inches (2 cm) in length. Each areole bears 1 to 4 central spines, while the radial spines are absent.
The flowers are diurnal, funnel-shaped, greenish-yellow, and measure up to 0.6 inches (1.5 cm) long and 0.5 inches (1.2 cm) in diameter. They appear sporadically from early spring to late summer.
Uebelmannia pectinifera is native to Brazil. It grows in rocky areas and dry savanna in Minas Gerais at elevations from 2,130 to 4,430 feet (650 to 1,350 m).
USDA hardiness zones 10a to 11b: from 30 °F (−1.1 °C) to 50 °F (+10 °C).
How to Grow and Care
Even for cacti, these plants have a low tolerance for cold temperatures, and letting them into even temperate conditions is an easy way to damage them. Make sure to keep well-watered, as well, and give them lots of light.
Their roots need some space and good drainage and keep an eye out for common pests that can damage them. Uebelmannias are such rare and delicate plants that only those with lots of practice growing cacti will likely even have access to them. These will probably only be found in specialty shops, and their cultivation should be left to the experts. If you cultivate one, they are among the most singular-looking of all cacti.
If free-standing in their pots, Uebelmannias can be repotted at the beginning of each growing season by lifting the plant out as a whole and replacing it in a larger container, making sure to spread the roots out in the new soil. Don't pack them in too tightly, as this can damage their root systems and make it hard to retain water.
See more at How to Grow and Care for Uebelmannia.
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