Mammillaria elongata-Ladyfinger Cactus, Golden Stars

Mammillaria elongata (Ladyfinger Cactus) on 10-15-20, #747-65.

Ladyfinger Cactus, Golden Stars

Mammillaria elongata

mam-mil-AR-ee-uh  ee-long-GAH-tuh


 Synonyms of Mammillaria elongata (52) (Updated on 11-2-20): Cactus anguineus Kuntze, Cactus densus (Link & Otto) Kuntze, Cactus elongatus (DC.) Kuntze, Cactus intertextus Kuntze, Cactus minimus (Rchb.) Kuntze, Cactus pulvilliger Kuntze, Cactus rufocroceus (Salm-Dyck) Kuntze, Cactus stella-aurata (Mart. ex Zucc.) Kuntze, Cactus subcroceus (DC.) Kuntze, Cactus subechinatus (Salm-Dyck) Kuntze, Cactus tenuis (DC.) Kuntze, Chilita echinaria (DC.) Orcutt, Chilita elongata (DC.) Orcutt, Krainzia elongata (DC.) Doweld, Leptocladia echinaria (DC.) Buxb., Leptocladia elongata (DC.) Buxb., Leptocladodia elongata (DC.) Buxb., Mammillaria anguinea Otto ex Salm-Dyck, Mammillaria caespitosa Salm-Dyck ex J.Forbes, Mammillaria densa Link & Otto, Mammillaria echinaria DC., Mammillaria echinata DC., Mammillaria echinata var. densa Pfeiff., Mammillaria elongata var. anguinea K.Schum., Mammillaria elongata var. densa (Link & Otto) Schelle, Mammillaria elongata subsp. echinaria (DC.) D.R.Hunt, Mammillaria elongata var. echinata (DC.) K.Schum., Mammillaria elongata var. erecta Schelle, Mammillaria elongata var. intertexta (DC.) Salm-Dyck, Mammillaria elongata var. minima Schelle, Mammillaria elongata var. obscuriora Heinrich ex Backeb., Mammillaria elongata var. rufescens Salm-Dyck, Mammillaria elongata var. rufocrocea (Salm-Dyck) K.Schum., Mammillaria elongata var. schmollii Borg, Mammillaria elongata var. stella-aurata (Mart. ex Zucc.) K.Schum., Mammillaria elongata var. subcrocea (DC.) Salm-Dyck, Mammillaria elongata f. subcrocea (DC.) Schelle, Mammillaria elongata var. subechinata (Salm-Dyck) Schelle, Mammillaria elongata var. tenuis (DC.) K.Schum., Mammillaria intertexta DC., Mammillaria minima Rchb., Mammillaria rufocrocea Salm-Dyck, Mammillaria stella-aurata var. gracilispina Salm-Dyck, Mammillaria subcrocea DC., Mammillaria subcrocea var. echinata (DC.) Y.Itô, Mammillaria subechinata Salm-Dyck, Mammillaria tenuis DC., Mammillaria tenuis var. media DC., Neomammillaria echinaria (DC.) Britton & Rose, Neomammillaria elongata (DC.) Britton & Rose, Neomammillaria subcrocea (DC.) Y.Itô, Neomammillaria subcrocea var. echinata (DC.) Y.Itô

Mammillaria elongata DC. is the correct and accepted scientific name of this cactus. It was named and described by Augustin Pyramus de Candolle in Mémoires du Museum d’Histoire Naturelle (Paris) in 1828.

The genus, Mammillaria Haw., was named and described by Adrian Hardy Haworth in Synopsis Plantarum Succulentarum in 1812.

Plants of the World Online by Kew lists 162 species in the Mammillaria genus (as of when I am updating this page on 11-2-20). It is a member of the plant family Cactaceae with 144 genera. Those numbers could change as updates are made.


Mammillaria elongata after I brought it home on 3-19-18, #418-13.

I brought this cactus home from Wal-Mart on 3-19-18. The cluster measured approximately 5 3/4” tall at the tallest point x 3 3/4” at the widest. There are 12 “stems” in a 2 3/4” diameter x 2 1/4” tall pot. There are remnants of several yellow flowers or buds yet to flower. Finally, I have a cactus that will have yellow flowers! Of course, there were several “strawflowers” hot glued to this which I managed to remove fairly well. You have to be careful when you do that…

Information on the Llifle website says, “Mammillaria elongata is a succulent ground cover, forming with time tight clumps of erect, ascending, prostrate or recumbent stems. This may be the most common Mammillaria to be found and occurs in more variations than any other Mammillaria species. It commonly comes in many color and spine variations.”

Mammillaria elongata on 5-17-18, #443-60.

Once temperatures allowed, I moved the potted plants back outside for the summer. Not long after I brought this cactus home, I accidentally knocked it on the floor. Most of the “fingers” fell off and I had just stuck them back in the pot.

Mammillaria elongata in its new pot on 5-25-18, #448-11.

I put the Mammillaria elongata in a larger pon on May 25. The “fingers” I had stuck in the pot previously had a few roots so I made a hole for them and stuck them deeper into the soil.

Mammillaria elongata on 6-28-18, #465-17.

On June 28 I noticed a fruit where one of the flowers had been. I never had a cactus produce fruit before. (Well, I think the Prickly Pear in Mississippi had fruit in 2012).

Family: Cactaceae
Origin: Northeast Mexico
Zones: USDA Zones 9b-11 (25-40° F)
Size: Ummm.
*Light: Sun to light shade.
**Soil: Fast-draining. Potting soil amended with extra perlite and chicken grit (2-1-1) or a 50/50 mix of potting soil and pumice.
***Water: Regular water in summer, barely in winter.
Flowers: Variable. Pale yellow to pink shades.

*During the summer, I keep most of my cactus on the back deck where they receive full sun. During the winter most cactus aren’t picky about the light because they are basically dormant. For several winters, mine were in front of the east-facing sliding door in the dining room so they didn’t get much light but they did great. I built a new shelf for the bedroom so now they are in front of a west-facing window. Most of the succulents are on a shelf in a south-facing window in a cool bedroom but a few are in my bedroom.

**When it comes to potting soil, finding the “sweet spot” is not exactly that easy when materials are limited. Cactus and succulent enthusiasts (and experts) do not recommend using peat-based commercial mixes but what choice is there for most of us. They say to use a loam-based mix… Hmmm… Our soil is loam, so do I just use dirt? Well, no because “dirt” is heavy and you need a “light” material. There is A LOT of cactus and succulent recipes online and some get pretty elaborate. Many say to use sand as an ingredient, but if you do that, it needs to be very coarse, like builders sand, because “ordinary” sand, like for sandboxes, is too fine and it clogs up the air space between the coarser ingredients. For MANY years I used 2 parts Miracle Grow or Schultz Potting amended with an additional 1 part of perlite and 1 part chicken grit. Schultz doesn’t seem to have as many large pieces of bark. Cactus and succulent enthusiasts recommended using pumice instead of perlite and grit so I checked it out… The “guy” at General Pumice (online) recommended using a 50/50 mix of potting soil and pumice. General Pumice has 3 different sizes to choose from depending on the size of the pot. SO, in 2018 I bought a bag of 1/8″ and mixed it 50/50 with Miracle Grow Potting Soil. I liked it pretty well. Then in 2020, since most of the cactus were in larger pots, I ordered the 1/4″ size. Pumice has a lot of benefits over perlite and has nutrients that are added to the soil when watering. Pumice is also heavier so it stays mixed in the soil instead of “floating” to the top. Still, there is the issue of the mix getting very hard once you stop watering the plants during the winter when you stop watering. I think this is because of the peat in the potting soil… SO, instead of re-potting the cactus and succulents in the spring, I started doing it during the fall and winter so their soil would be loose. Since you don’t water as frequently during the winter if at all, the timed-release fertilizer does not activate. I have not tried coir, but I am looking into it… 

I think a lot of growing tips online are written by people who never grew succulents and cactus. They just copy from one website and paste it to theirs. You have to sort of mimic the soil where species grow in their native habitat. For that, you almost have to go see for yourself… Typically, they grow in fairly rocky soil

***I water my cactus and succulents on a regular basis during the summer but barely ever in the winter (maybe a little in January) until close to time to take them back outside. 

You can read my Cactus Talk & Update and Cactus & Succulent Tips to get my opinion about growing cactus and succulents.

When you bring your new plants home from the store, you need to check their roots and the soil to see if they are wet. If so, you may want to re-pot it right away. It is advisable to re-pot them in a better potting soil more suitable for cactus and succulents.

Mammillaria elongata on 7-29-18, #498-67.

The Mammillaria elongata continues to well and is now growing more offsets around the main stem.

Mammillaria elongata on 8-18-18, #498-3.

After I took the photo on July 29 she started leaning over. In the above photo, you can also see all her new kids. It would be pretty neat if they grew straight up, but they are supposed to kind of trail. You can put them in hanging baskets and allow them to trail over the sides but that may take some time…

Mammillaria elongata on 8-26-18, #499-26.

Doing well, although somewhat weird…

Mammillaria elongata on 10-10-18, #519-45.

Cool weather was approaching and an “F’ was in the forecast when I moved the potted plants inside for the winter on October 10. I always measure the cactus and succulents when I bring them inside, but I had no idea where to begin with this one… There are 11 larger offsets averaging 2 1/4″ long and 15 small offsets. One of the larger offsets also has 2. The original stem is 6 1/4″ tall (or long). It was 5 3/4” tall when I brought it home.

Mammillaria elongata on 11-29-18, #534-17.

November 29 was a nice spring-like day, so I took the cactus outside for a photoshoot. I was starting a new post showing the difference between the cactus species in my collection.

Mammillaria elongata close-up on 12-1-18, #535-12.

Now, that photo came out very good! Twenty-six radial spines, more or less, re-curved, white to yellowish. Central spines are usually absent on MOST areoles. You can actually put your hand around the stems, which is when you find the central spines. Then they will be in your fingers and not on the cactus.


Mammillaria elongata on 5-25-19, #576-52.

The Mammillaria elongata and the rest of the cactus, succulents, and other potted plants made it through the winter with flying colors. We were all glad when the temps warmed up enough to be back outside for the summer. I out most of the cactus on the back porch where they could get full sun.

Mammillaria elongata on 6-22-19, #593-27.

There are a lot of kids in this pot… Even the kids have kids. The main stem is a bit of a leaner. One way or another and sometimes straight up.

Mammillaria elongata on 10-11-19, #639-58.

I had to move the potted plants inside for the winter because of an “F” in the forecast. As always, I took photos of all the plants and measured the cactus and some of the succulents. For some reason when I looked at the size I wrote down for the Mammillaria elongata it says 6 5/6″ tall. What in the heck does that mean anyway? It was 5 3/4″ tall when I brought it home from Wal-Mart in March 2018. There were also a few buds when I brought it inside.

Mammillaria elongata on 10-19-19, #643-4.

As always after the first “F” the temps warmed back up again. The cactus always give me dirty looks when this happens so I put them back on the porch for a few days.

Mammillaria elongata on 11-2-19, #646-3.

November 2 was a nice spring-like day so I took the Mammillaria elongata and a few other cactus outside to take some photos of their flowers.

Mammillaria elongata flowers on 11-2-19, #646-4.

NICE! When my first Mammillaria started flowering they were all pink. I am glad to have several now that are a creamy white.


Mammillaria elongata (Ladyfinger Cactus) on 10-15-20, #747-65.

I had to bring the potted plants inside for the winter on October 15 because an “F” was in the forecast. As always, I took photos and measurements.

Mammillaria elongata (Ladyfinger Cactus) at 6 1/8″ long/tall x 7″ wide on 10-15-20, #747-66.

This time, the main stem in the center measured 6 1/8 ” long, or tall, and the whole cluster was 7″ wide. It isn’t uncommon for cactus to shrink or swell depending on water uptake and humidity.  I had watered the cactus the day before I brought them inside thinking they would swell somewhat by the time I took measurements. Apparently, it may take a while. I measured the center cactus AGAIN on November 2 when I am updating this page and it was about 6 3/4″ tall…

When I was writing a Mammillaria update on November 14 I took another measurement. The main stem, or whatever you call it, was standing straight up and it measured 7 3/8″ tall. GEEZ!

I will continue adding more photos and information as time goes by.

There is a lot of information on the Llifle website including how to grow them, so please click on the link below for further reading.

I will add more photos and information as time goes by. If you have any comments, questions, or suggestions, I would like to hear from you. Please click on “like” if you visited this page. It helps us bloggers stay motivated. 🙂 You can check out the links below for further reading. The links take you directly to the genus and species of this plant.


2 comments on “Mammillaria elongata-Ladyfinger Cactus, Golden Stars

  1. Anonymous says:

    The photo of M. elongata looks like a perfect plant. I have four varieties and all of mine are decumbent. I like the erect look of that plant. Looks healthier. I always re-pot everything I buy at the “Big Box” stores because they are invariably potted in a mix that has too much peat , that I find,
    stays wet too long. .

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hello there Anonymous! I rather like the erect look better for this Mammillaria as well. Not long after I bought this plant I knocked it on the floor and most of the pieced broke off the plant. I just stuck them back in the pot to see what would happen. I agree, the cactus and succulents bought from “box” stores need to be repotted. The soil is wrong, they are overwatered, and many are mislabeled. Thanks for the comment and thanks for visiting! It would be nice to know your name, though. 🙂


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