Cactus & Succulent Update Part 4: The Mammillaria Collection

Mammillaria Group Photo on 11-16-19. Back row from left to right: Mammillaria pringlei, Mammillaria elongata, Mammillaria decipiens (in a new pot), and Mammillaria vetula subsp. gracilis ‘Arizona Snowcap’. Middle row from left to right: Mammillaria rhodantha, Mammillaria muehlenpfordtii, Mammillaria hahniana, and Mammillaria karwinskiana. Front Row from left to right: Mammillaria vetula subsp. gracilis, Mammillaria mystax, and Mammillaria plumosa (in a new pot).

Hello Everyone! I hope this post finds you well! Part four of the cactus and succulent update is about the Mammillaria species in my small collection. Mammillarias are among the widest genus of cactus collected for many reasons. Most are very easy to grow and there are a lot of species to choose from. Plants of the World Online currently lists 162 species. As with the previous three updates, these photos were taken on October 11 when I moved the potted plants inside for the winter.

HERE WE GO…

 

Mammillaria decipiens (Bird’s Nest Pincushion) at 1 1/2″ tall x 4″ wide on 10-11-19, #639-56.

The Mammillaria decipiens (Bird’s Nest Pincushion) always amazes me. It seems like every time I put it in a wider pot it wastes no time filling it up. It was 1 1/2″ tall x 4″ wide on October 11. It was squished in its pot when I brought it home from Wal-Mart at 3″ wide in March 2018. But, the weird thing is that is shrunk 1/2″ in height. 🙂 I think the subspecies for this plant should be Mammillaria decipiens subsp. camptotricha although it is not “currently’ validly recognized. Hmmm… I have been saying that for a while now. I really like this plant because of its long tubercles, the spines that seem to form a web across the entire clump, and the fact that it produces a lot of flowers. There weren’t many flowers when I took this photo on 10-11-19 but there were later. It isn’t uncommon for it to have a few during the summer as well.

To view this plant’s own page, click HERE.

 

Mammillaria elongata (Ladyfinger Cactus) on 10-11-19, #639-58).

The Mammillaria elongata (Ladyfinger Cactus, Golden Stars) is one of the weirdest cactus in my collection. Sometimes the main stem is leaning over (one way or the other) and sometimes it is straight up. I mentioned before we had a rough start when I accidentally knocked it off the plant table only a few days after I brought it home. Most of the offsets fell off so I just stuck them back in the pot, which was barely big enough at the time. I spaced them out better when I repotted then the main stem got even with so many more offsets. The other weird thing is the measurement… I didn’t take a measurement when I took the photo on 10-11, but I did a few days later when I took photos of its flowers. There were only a few buds when I took the above photo, but on October 19 through early November there were A LOT! Anyway, the measurement I typed in said 6 5/6″ tall… What in the heck did that mean? SO, I decided to take another measurement when I was writing this post. The main stem was standing straight up and the measurement was 7 3/8″. GEEZ! I stood the stem up before to take the measurement so I would be close to accurate. It isn’t uncommon for cactus to shrink and swell when they have ample moisture so it isn’t uncommon for their measurements to be a lot different in just a short period of time. The central stem measured only 4″ tall when I brought it home in March 2018 and the cluster was 3 3/4″ wide. I didn’t measure the width this time because the stems move around so much. I thought maybe they lean toward the sun but sometimes they seem to be leaning toward the shade… Like I said, this plant is weird…

To view this plants page, click HERE.

 

Mammillaria hahniana (Old Lady Cactus) at 3 1/4″ tall x 3 3/8″ wide on 10-11-19, #639-59.

The Mammillaria hahniana (Old Lady Cactus) is a very neat plant to grow with all its wool. It produces quite a few flowers off and on and right now has a few more buds. It measured 3 1/4″ tall x 3 3/8″ wide on 10-11-19 and I am not about to remeasure it again until next year. It was only 1 7/8″ tall x 2 3/8″ wide when I brought it home from Wal-Mart on February 1, 2016.

Click HERE to view the Mammillaria hahniana page.

 

Mammillaria karwinskiana (Silver Arrows) at 3 1/4″ tall x 2 3/4″ wide on 10-11-19, #639-61.

The Mammillaria karwinskiana (Silver Arrows) is another fairly wooly cactus companion. It seems a little strange posting this photo since I posted a later photo of it with flowers already. Right now it has 11 buds and flowers. OK, I will go take a photo right now and show you…

 

Mammillaria karwinskiana flowers on 11-14-19, #660-1.

You can’t see all the flowers and buds, but there are 11. Pretty neat how they are facing the inside of the house instead of being toward the sun.

Anyway, on October 11, the Mammillaria karwinskiana measured 3 1/4″ tall by 2 3/4″ wide. Hmmm… I just double-checked. 🙂 At least it said “about” what it did before. This plant has grown AAAALLLOOOTTT taller! It was only 1 7/8″ tall when I brought it home from Lowe’s in September 2018 and 2 3/16″ wide.

Click HERE to view this plant’s own page.

 

Mammillaria muehlenpfordtii (Golden Pincushion) at 3 3/4″ tall x 2 7/8″ wide on 10-11-19, #639-64.

This is a BEAUTIFUL plant! The Mammillaria muehlenpfordtii (Golden Pincushion) has this two-tone glow going on. A silvery-white-greenish glow overlaid with a golden glow. It almost looks like it has a halo. It is a bit of a leaner and I kept taking it out of the pot and straightening it up. I realized it is normal and many cactus lean toward the south so I just turn the pot once in a while. You can’t do that in the wild and some large cactus eventually fall over.

Currently, or at least on October 11, this cactus measured 3 3/4″ tall x 2 7/8″ wide. I found this plant out of its pot and laying on its side on the discount rack at Lowe’s in September 2018. I picked it up and thought its club shape looked pretty neat so I brought it home. It has only grown 1/2″ taller and 3/4″ wider since I brought it home even though it seems like it has grown a lot. Hmmm…

The other thing about this plant that you can’t see (because I hide it) is the clump of hot glue STILL stuck to its side. Normally the strawflowers are stuck to the top. If you look close, you can see like a ridge in the center of the plant that goes all the way around it. That is where the clump of glue is stuck to its “skin” on the other side… Just another reason companies should stop using hot glue to stick the dumb strawflowers on cactus. It’s completely ridiculous! Maybe we should all send emails to Altman Plants (thecactuscollection.com). They are the largest producer of cactus and succulents in the United States.

Click HERE to visit this plant’s own page.

 

Mammillaria mystax at 2 1/4″ tall x 2 1/2″ wide on 10-11-19, #639-67.

The Mammillaria mystax is indeed a humble little plant. It is very quiet and polite, doesn’t get excited, and it never causes any problems. As long as you give it what it needs to live and grow it will be happy and do just that. Nothing else. 🙂 So, what makes this plant special? Well, it is one of several species that divide dichotomically. It also has these strange trichomes (hairs) that grow between the tubercles that the others in my collection don’t have.  It measured 1 3/4″ tall by 2 1/4″ wide when I brought it home from Lowe’s in September 2018. By October 11 it had grown to 2 1/4″ tall x 2 1/2″ wide.

Click HERE to view this plant’s own page.

 

Mammillaria plumosa (Feather Cactus) at 1 1/2″ tall x 3″ wide on 10-11-19, #639-69.

My feathered friend, the Mammillaria plumosa (Feather Cactus), that I bought from a seller on Ebay in September 2018 has done quite well. The cluster of plants was 3/4′ tall x 2 1/4″ wide when it arrived and now has filled its pot at 1 1/2″ tall x 3″ wide. It produced several good-sized flowers since the above photo was taken that are sort of similar to Mammillaria karwinskiana without the reddish color. It needs a new pot now… OH, it is one of only a few cactus to receive the Royal Horticultural Society’s Award of Garden Merit.

Click HERE to view this plants own page.

 

Mammillaria pringlei (Lemon Ball Cactus) at 5 1/2″ tall x 2 1/2″ wide on 10-11-19 #639-71.

What can I say about the Mammillaria pringlei (Lemon Ball Cactus)? For one, it is a leaner that I keep turning around. It is a very nice looking plant that I brought home from Lowe’s in October 2017. It flowers freely and abundantly and always looks great. I think it was my first cactus that flowered in 2017. It is now 5 1/2″ tall x 2 1/2″ wide which is around an inch taller and wider than when I brought it home. It is very similar in many ways to the Mammillaria rhodantha and was once named Mammillaria rhodantha subsp. pringlei.

To view this plant’s own page, click HERE.

 

Mammillaria rhodantha (Rainbow Pincushion) at 4 1/2″ tall x 2 1/2″ wide on 10-11-19, #639-73.

There is no mistaking the Mammillaria rhodantha (Rainbow Pincushion) with its rusty red central spines and white radial spines. It has always been an attention getter. It is a very stately plant, in my opinion, along with Mammillaria pringlei. This one does lean a little but not as much as M. pringlei. It doesn’t produce that many flowers but the spine color make up for it. Maybe because it realizes its pink flowers don’t look that good with the color of its spines. What color would look good, anyway? It is now 4 1/2″ tall x 2 1/2″ wide. Apparently, I didn’t measure this plant when I first brought it home from Wal-Mart in February 2016 then I screwed up and measured the cactus “with” the spines in 2017. It is one of my oldest cactus since I started recollecting in 2016.

To view this plant’s own page, click HERE.

 

Mammillaria vetula subsp. gracilis at 1 1/2″ tall on 10-13-19, #641-4.

Hmmm… Mammillaria vetula subsp. gracilis (Thimble Cactus). OK… I brought home my first “colony” of Thimble Cactus from Lowe’s in April 2013. It grew by leaps and bounds but, unfortunately, I gave up most of my plants in the summer of 2014. Then, when I took plants to Wagler’s Greenhouse last year I found this very small plant. I didn’t even recognize it as a Thimble Cactus at first. The main plant was very small and had several kids growing from it which have all fallen off but one. I now remember how the colony of the first pot grew so fast… Now, at only 1 1/2″ tall, it is building a successful family.

If you have a pot labeled, or find one labeled, Mammillaria gracilis fragilis or something of the sort, it is this plant…

If you click o this plant’s own page HERE, you will see photos of the previous colony I had as a companion and what this one will become like.

 

Mammillaria vetula subsp. gracilis ‘Arizona Snowcap’ on 10-11-19, #639-74.

I look at the photo of the Mammillaria vetula subsp. gracilis ‘Arizona Snowcap’ and find myself at a loss for words. I know what I want to say, but there are no words for the definition. Have you ever had that problem? A definition with no words? I think the photo is the definition of GEE WHIZ! OK, I had been to Lowe’s to buy potting soil in July 2018 and ran across a pot with this “cluster” plus a pot of the, umm, M. vetula subsp. gracilis (like the one in the previous photo. I am whispering because I don’t want it to hear me). I left the other pot behind and brought home the one labeled Mammillaria gracilis v. fragilis monstrose… That is what Altman Plants calls it for some reason. Yes, ‘Arizona Snowcap’ is a monstrose form of Mammillaria vetula subsp. gracilis. It has an ABUNDANCE of shorter white spines than the “regular” subspecies. Now, when I brought my pot home, it was bulging and overflowing. I saw photos online of plants that were nearly solid white, like snowballs and I wondered why the pot of plants I brought home was not that solid white. After I repotted it/them and they begin to spread out a bit and do really well over the summer. They looked great and very happy but still, they didn’t look like the photos online. Then, in October (2018) I noticed a completely white plant. I thought, “WOW!” Then afterward, a few others started becoming more white. The weird thing is that the whiter offsets died after I moved the plants outside for the summer… Hmmm… I am going to do some work on this pot so it will look better…

Oh yeah, the tallest plant in the colony is 2″ tall. As with the regular Mammillaria vetula subsp. gracilis, they don’t grow that tall but they freely offset from the bottom and sides. Offsets fall off and form a larger colony.

To view this plant’s own page, click HERE.

That is it for part 4 and there will still be one more plus the repotting post. Then what? 🙂 What would you like for me to post about? I will be working on updating the pages for the cactus on this page, so if you click on the link you may not see current photos. It takes a lot of time to update as I go and may take several days to finish.

Until next time, be safe and stay positive. Go outside and take a deep refreshing breath and say “THANK YOU!” Do it twice more. 🙂 If you can get dirty, do it…

 

13 comments on “Cactus & Succulent Update Part 4: The Mammillaria Collection

  1. tonytomeo says:

    The top heavy shapes of some of these look funny to me.
    It seems that some of these are more tolerant to confinement in pots than some cacti are. Actually, even though I dislike pots where not necessary, these are the sort that happen to look better in pots or mixed urns than in the landscapes. They do not get big enough soon enough to look all that good in landscapes.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hello Tony! That is true. There are some species that look completely out of place in pots that are much better in landscaping and in the wild. I had good-sized Prickly Pear in a pot for a while in Mississippi because I didn’t know what to do with it. It was a rescue so I wasn’t prepared for it at the time so it was in a pot for a couple of years before I decided where to plant it. As long as they grow very slow and remain small they look great and do well in pots. Thanks for the comment!

      Liked by 1 person

      • tonytomeo says:

        Well, I will grow my few remaining cacti in pots anyway, at least until they get big. As much as I dislike pots, I like their mobility for plants that have no permanent place in the garden yet. Big prickly pear go into the ground only because I want their fruit, which is not very good from potted plants.

        Liked by 1 person

        • It would definitely be great to live in a climate where most plants could be in the ground or didn’t have to be brought in for the winter.

          Liked by 1 person

          • tonytomeo says:

            It has its advantage, but we must do without plants that require significant chill in winter.

            Liked by 1 person

            • Well, yeah, you do have a point there. I am trying to think of what I would miss out on. I think I can easily adapt…

              Liked by 1 person

              • tonytomeo says:

                Many people do adapt when they move around. I enjoy working in Southern California, but would miss the apples and pears that grow so well here, as well as the redwoods. I think it would be nice to grow peonies like those in Oregon, but I would miss palms and, of course, apricots.

                Liked by 1 person

                • We grow all of those here but sometimes peach and apricot crops depend on the last “F”. I have seen a few Redwood trees here but like the ones in California. My target is actually the Philippines. Once there, I don’t believe I would miss anything from here that doesn’t grow there. They have a lot of fruit.

                  Liked by 1 person

                  • tonytomeo says:

                    The redwoods in your region are likely giant redwoods. They are not as common as the coastal redwoods in the wild but are adaptable to a broader range of climates. They are actually happier in places like the Pacific Northwest or drier parts of Appalachia than they are here.

                    Liked by 1 person

                    • Supposedly they are Metasequoia glyptostroboides, the Dawn Redwood. I remember seeing them in catalogs when I was a kid and that’s when they started showing up. I mowed yards when I was a kid and one of the ladies told me the tree was a Dawn Redwood. The tree isn’ there now. They were thought to be extinct at one time but were rediscovered

                      Liked by 1 person

                    • tonytomeo says:

                      Oh, of course, that would make more sense. Isn’t if funny that the redwood with the most extensive range is the least adaptable outside of the natural range, but the one with the most confined range is the most adaptable?

                      Liked by 1 person

                    • Very strange indeed. They were thought to be extinct until a small colony was found in China. Then seeds were collected and trees planted in several locations throughout the world. Then, they suffered an inbreeding problem for a while. Finally, they found more colonies in the wild and collected more seeds and solved the problem.

                      Liked by 1 person

                    • tonytomeo says:

                      It is still my least favorite. Nothing compares to the native coastal redwoods.

                      Liked by 1 person

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