How to care for a mammillaria cactus at home

The cactus family has many genera, one of them is the genus Mammillaria. A resident of the deserts of South America, Mexico and the south of the United States, it grows well and at home as a houseplant. This article is devoted to the cultivation of mammillaria, its reproduction at home.

Botanical description of the plant

A low plant up to 40 cm, formed by one central stem and a mass of lateral. The shape of the stems is round or flat, less often elongated. This cactus does not have side ribs, but it has another distinguishing feature: tubercles are located on the entire surface, bearing a double load: spines are located in one part, and a flower bud in the other. Did you know? South American donkeys traveling with their owners through the desert do not suffer from a lack of food: they beat hooves with mammals with hooves and eat juicy pulp with pleasure. Mammillaria flowers may be colored in different shades of red, white and yellow, depending on the species. Many form a corolla at the top of the stem. The shape of the flower is a bell, the petals can be up to 3 cm in length, not downy. A long flowering period can last up to 6 months. Some species after flowering form fruits - oblong, up to 5 cm in length, red or yellow, less often - green or milky.

The branched root system, similar to a battered washcloth, holds the plant well in the soil and stores moisture during periods of rare rains. Numerous spines of mammillaria reduce evaporation and collect dew.

Root systemFibrous
The size1 cm to 40 cm in diameter
StemSpherical, disk-shaped
Color of flowersWhite, yellow, reddish
Flower shapeMulti-petal bell, funnel
Fetal shapeOval elongated
Fruit colorRed, yellow, green
The taste of the fruitJuicy

The main types

In total, 185 species of flowering cactus are known and described.

Mammillaria specimens popular in home floriculture are further listed:

  • Bauma - growing, forms a spherical bush up to 20 cm in diameter; stems are rounded, dotted with long whitish spines. It blooms with bright yellow funnel-shaped inflorescences, with long sharp petals at the ends. Fruits of a gray shade;

  • Blossfeld - the stem is roundly elongated, the spines at the ends are painted dark maroon, almost black; most of the spikes at the end are bent. Flowers with numerous petals of two shades: bright pink - in the center of the petal, white - along its edge;

  • Bokasanskaya - a spherical cactus is not only remarkable for the cream or silver-pink color of the petals; in addition to the thorns bent at the tip, the stem is covered with a long, up to 2.5 cm, soft gray hair;

  • Deherdt is a dwarf species, the stem height of which is 2.5 cm, the diameter of the color is about 5 cm. The flowers are tubular, bright lilac, carmine shades. Inflorescences do not fall while the fruits, partially located in the middle of the stem, ripen. Initially, white spines, as the plants grow, become brown at the tips;

  • Carmen - literally everything is decorative in this cactus: delicate cream, snow-white, pale pink flowers and a stem dotted with bunches of yellow-brown thorns. In culture, a cactus from a spherical shape, as it grows, extends into a cylinder up to 9 cm tall, forms fruits of a pale green color;

  • Prickly - the growth of a cactus with a diameter of 10 cm reaches up to 25 cm. The center of the apex often forms a fluffy crest; spikes are long (up to 2 cm), at the ends are often painted in burgundy. Flowers can be lilac, . Bright lilac; after flowering, red fruits appear;

  • Excellent - the center of the prickly ball at the top is too fluffy. The thorns of the plant are interestingly located: in the center of the bundle, consisting of whitish thin processes, there is a thicker, sharp dark brown spike. The flowers are red, carmine, lilac. The fruits are much darker;

  • Graceful - as they grow, the balls of the stems are pulled into the cylinders. Thanks to the snow-white thorns that fit on the trunk, young specimens seem to be tangles of woolen threads. Tender white or golden cream flowers with long reed petals are also noteworthy;

  • Teresa - this is the name of miniature balls covered with white fluff of small sizes, which during the flowering period shoot long pedicels. The flowers are large; violet, lilac, bright pink shades in diameter more than 8 cm. In the center, the petals are lighter, almost white, which perfectly shades the bright yellow center.

  • Elongated - growing and stretching as it grows, shoots spread along the ground, continuing to grow in a horizontal position. An interesting subspecies of elongate rufocrosea (serpentine). Elongated, thin stems, growing together, form a kind of winding ball, covered with short yellow or white spines.

Comfortable conditions for growing a house

Mammillaria is considered one of the most unpretentious plants in the cactus family. Some nuances should still be taken into account.

We recommend that you learn how to properly plant indoor flowers in a pot.


The most furry specimens tolerate direct sunlight, their location is preferable on the southern window sills. Species with a weak edge prefer light shading, especially in the midday activity of the sun. They are best placed on the east and west windows.

In winter, plants will need an additional light source to extend daylight hours to 16 hours.


Cactus needs fresh air. If possible, in the warm season the flowerpot is taken out onto the balcony or the veranda. When ventilating the premises, drafts should not be allowed.


In the natural habitat, desert people easily tolerate high temperatures.

But in enclosed spaces, air circulates weakly, so the following indicators will be optimal:

  • spring – summer - from + 22 ° С to + 26 ° С;
  • fall – winter - + 15 ° С.

Air humidity

Succulent is resistant to prolonged drought, it does not require additional moisture. In extreme heat, spraying from the sprayer is allowed, but infrequent (and better in the morning or evening).

Home Care

There is no difficulty in caring for a culture; it does not take much time.


Regular hydration of the soil to the cactus is necessary on warm spring and summer days. Water is used at room temperature. It is not necessary to defend it: succulents tolerate hard water from the highway well. When watering use the irrigation method.

Important! When watering, it is better to irrigate the soil around the plant, shallow roots may suffer from waterlogging. Watering frequency - once every 7-10 days, as the topsoil completely dries out. In winter, depending on the type of watering, they either stop completely or moderate the soil once a month.

Top dressing

Active growth and development of mammillaria covers the period from April to October. In these months, the pot is fed with complex fertilizers for succulents (according to the instructions). Apply liquid formulations (for example, "Fertis" or "Master"), combining them with watering. The interval between top dressing is 3-4 weeks. In winter, the plant is not fertilized: before flowering, a dormant period is needed. Do not use nitrogen fertilizers: they soften the stem.


Plants are transplanted in the spring, young - annually, adult specimens - once every 2-3 years. The container material can be any. It is important to take a wider in volume, but not too deep pot.

The soil is prepared from the following ingredients in a ratio of 2: 1: 1: 1:

  • turf land;
  • sheet land;
  • coarse sand;
  • brick chips.

A week before the procedure, the cactus is stopped watering and placed in the shade, the soil needs to be calcined.

The transplant technology is as follows:

  1. At the bottom put drainage (expanded clay, gravel).
  2. The soil is not moistened.
  3. The old earthen room is gently shaken off.
  4. A layer of earth is poured on the drainage, a cactus is placed on it.
  5. Holding the plant, the soil is poured to the very edges of the pot.
  6. Small pebbles are placed on the surface of the soil so that the surface of the stem of the earth does not touch.

Watering begins in a week.

Important! To slow the growth of mammillaria, gravel is added to the substrate instead of leaf soil.


There are two ways to propagate a plant: seed and vegetative. At home, it is easier to apply reproduction by the lateral processes, or by children.


Almost all types of succulents perfectly branch, forming many lateral processes.

The reproduction scheme is simple:

  1. The baby is cut from the "donor" with a sharp knife.
  2. For a while, they leave for the formation of a film at the site of the cut.
  3. They are placed in a moist substrate, slightly crushing into the ground.
  4. For the first time, the appendage will need support from the pebbles.

Video: Rooting a rooted baby


Mammillaria seeds are disinfected by soaking in a slightly pink solution of potassium permanganate.

Further sequence of actions:

  1. For germination take a sandy turf substrate, moisturize.
  2. Seeds are evenly sprinkled on the surface of the soil (it is not necessary to sprinkle with soil).
  3. The container is covered with glass or film, the germination temperature is +23 ... + 25 ° С.
  4. Once a day, aerate and spray from a spray bottle.
  5. When the shoots appear, the film is removed - first for a few hours, then completely.
  6. When the first spines are formed, the seedling is dived into a separate container.
Do you know? The fruits of the proliferator mammillaria are edible. To taste, they resemble barberry.

Growing difficulties

Cacti suffer from improper care or when infected with parasites.

Errors in care are obvious:

  • lack of lighting - the stalk loses its shape, stretching out in search of light. It is necessary to extend the daylight hours with the help of artificial sources, place the cactus in a bright place and turn it regularly;
  • overflow - leads to rotting of the roots, a cactus can die. Provide moderate watering as the soil dries;
  • excess fertilizer (especially nitrogen) - slows down growth, softens the stem. Do not use fertilizers with a large amount of nitrogen;
  • aggressive sun - burns may remain on the green skin. At noon, succulents must be shaded from the direct rays of the sun;
  • absence of a dormant period - mammillaria will bloom poorly or will not bloom at all. Provide a smooth drop in temperature for rest. At this time, the plant will gain strength for the formation of flower ovaries.

Common parasites of succulents are:

  • scale shield;

  • spider mite;

  • root nematode.

The first two pests must be removed manually with a brush dipped in an alcohol solution. The next stage is the treatment of the plant with an insecticide (for example, "Actellic"). The treatment is repeated after a week.

It is more difficult to cope with the root nematode, since the roots are hidden under the soil. A pest is usually found during transplantation or with noticeable changes in the growth and development of the plant for no apparent reason. To get rid of the nematode, the plant is examined, removing the affected parts of the roots. The remaining healthy root is placed in water warmed up to +50 ... + 60 ° С, leaving the root neck above the water. Sprinkle with powdered activated carbon. Read also how to care for flowering succulents such as garrison, astrophytum, hymnocalycium and Decembrist. The recovered specimen is placed in a clean sterile pot with a complete replacement of the substrate. To protect pets from the root parasite, the soil is calcined before planting in the oven at t + 100 ° C for half an hour.

Mammillaria is not capricious in leaving, it multiplies easily. The variety of its types allows you to create whole compositions of prickly balls. Bright and long flowering will delight the grower up to six months.

Interesting Articles