Mammillaria vetula subsp. gracilis
mam-mil-AR-ee-uh VET-uh-luh GRASS-il-is
Mammillaria gracilis var. fragilis
mam-mil-AR-ee-uh GRASS-il-is FRAJ-ih-liss
I brought this Thimble Cactus home with me from Lowe’s on April 20, 2013. The label said it was a Mammillaria gracilis fragilis… Upon research, I found out that name had changed.
Mammillaria vetula subsp. gracilis (Pfeiff.) D.R.Hunt is the correct and accepted infraspecific name for this cactus. It was named and described by David Richard Hunt in Mammillaria Postscripts in 1997. It was first named Mammillaria gracilis Pfeiff. by Ludwig Karl Georg Pfeiffer in Gartenzeitung in 1838.
Mammillaria gracilis var. fragilis A.Berger was named and described by Alwin Berger in Kakteen in 1929.
Mammillaria vetula Mart. was named and described by Carl (Karl) Friedrich Philipp von Martius in Nova Acta Physico in 1832.
There are other synonyms in a roundabout way, one way or another, but you can check out the links below for more about them.
Plants of the World Online says Mammillaria vetula subsp. gracilis is a synonym of Mammillaria vetula. OK, so I goofed on purpose. Well, Plants of the World Online is a fairly new site and they are still uploading data. Perhaps they haven’t figured out that Mammillaria vetula subsp. gracilis should be an infraspecific name. It is accepted on Llifle, Dave’s Garden, and CactusGuide…
This was my first Mammillaria so I was anxious to see how we got along. When temps warmed up enough I moved this cactus outside with the rest of the plants then I put it in a larger pot.
Zones: USDA Zones 9a-11 (20 to° F)
Size: 6” or so tall
Light: Sun to part shade
Soil: Fast-draining. Potting soil amended with extra grit and pumice or perlite
Water: Average during the growing period, barely in winter
Flowers: Pale to bright yellow
The Thimble Cactus is a very easy plant to grow if you follow a few simple rules. They don’t mind regular watering during the summer months, but to much water in the winter is NOT a good idea. They wouldn’t mind if they didn’t get any. When I water my cactus and succulents during the summer, I just go over them with the wand one time. The other plant’s pots get filled to the rim.
Information online says that this plant does well in full sun to part shade. When you move your plants outside for the summer, they need to get used to more light gradually. I normally place mine in light to part shade at first then gradually slide them over on the table to get more light. If they show any sign of burn, I put them back in more shade. I think I kept this cactus on the table behind the shed in more shade all summer.
Once in a while I will notice one of the balls of thorns has fallen off on the table. I just put it back in the pot where it can take root. That is actually how they spread in the wild.
We made it through the 2013-2014 winter just fine and it was glad to be back outside again.
I really enjoyed this plant as a companion, but unfortunately, I gave up most of my plants after the above photo was taken. I am back collecting plants again, so maybe someday I will bring home another Mammillaria vetula subsp. gracilis.
I hope you enjoyed this page and maybe found it useful. 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. They take you directly to information about the species.