Synonyms of Rebutia fabrisii (2) (Updated on 4-3-21 from Plants of the World Online): Rebutia fabrisii var. aureiflora Rausch, Rebutia fabrisii var. nana Rausch
Rebutia fabrisii Rausch is the correct and accepted scientific name for this species of Rebutia. It was named and described as such by Walter Rausch in Kakteen und Andere Sukkulenten in 1977.
The genus, Rebutia K.Schum., was named and described as such by Karl Moritz Schumann in Monatsschrift für Kakteenkunde in 1895.
As of 11-13-21 when this page was last updated, Plants of the World Online by Kew lists 29 species in the Rebutia genus. It is a member of the plant family Cactaceae with 146 genera. Those numbers could change as updates are made on POWO.
Note: Some websites list Rebutia fabrisii as a synonym of Rebutia fiebrigii… According to Plants of the World Online by Kew, both are accepted species.
THERE ARE A FEW LINKS AND GROWING RECOMMENDATIONS AT THE BOTTOM OF THE PAGE FOR FURTHER READING.
I found several pots of these at Wagler’s Greenhouse, one of three local greenhouses. At first glance, I thought they were a Mammillaria species only much smaller so I had a closer look. Luckily it had a tag that said Rebutia fabrisii. Well, I didn’t have a Rebutia of any species, so I selected a nice pot and brought it home.
The cluster measured approximately 1 1/2″ tall (the largest stem) x 3″ wide. It was in a 4″ pot. It was likely in a smaller pot and Wagler’s put it in a larger one.
There isn’t that much online about this species and it is new to me so I don’t know that much about its performance. Llifle (Encyclopedia of Living Forms) says the species has a limited range near Jujuy in Northern Argentina.
One thing I noticed right off was their very small and soft-to-the-touch spines. I can’t even describe anything comparable, but it makes you want to keep touching it. The white to yellowish spines don’t stick to your fingers. The stems have multiple rows of distinct tubercles that form a spiral pattern. Llifle says there are about 15 ribs of tubercles while the Wikipedia article says there are no distinctive ribs… As with the Mammillaria species I have, you don’t see the ribs, but the tubercles are prominent. With the Rebutia fabrisii, the tubercles are very small, more like little bumps.
The Rebutia fabrisii produces orange to dark red flowers that are said to be large compared o the size of the cactus. There is a yellow flowering form, Rebutia fabrisii var. aureiflora, but at this bump in the road Plants of the World Online has it listed as a synonym of the species. A smaller version, Rebutia fabrisii var. nana, is also considered a synonym of the species. Judging from the size of the stems in the pot I brought home, I don’t see how it could get any smaller… Normally, if I know the plant I have is a variety or subspecies I use it even though it may not currently be accepted (as long as the name is validly published).
Llifle says they are easy to grow and “prefer deep pots and good drainage to accommodate their taproots, but rot prone, because of the sensitivity to excess watering.” Sometimes information is a bit complicated… Llifle further states, “not easy to get any large size on their own roots (it’s a challenge to grow them into a large clump. They will occupy a small pot comfortably, and eventually remain a manageable-sized houseplant.” Hmmm…
Llifle is a great site for cactus and it gives plenty of information about growing this species. Just scroll down the page and click on LLIFLE. There is a lot more you need to know about growing this species that I will have to be careful about…
I normally take photos and measurements of the cactus (and some of the succulents) when I bring them inside for the winter in October. Since I was taking photos for a post on August 17, I decided to go ahead and take measurements of the plants on the front porch. The Rebutia fabrisii still measured 1 1/2″ tall and the cluster is still 3″ wide. A week (or so) later it appeared it was having a growth spurt… Information on LLIFLE does say they “may go dormant during the heat of the summer and start growing again once temps start cooling off in August. Well, August was really hot for the most part, but September brought cooler temperatures.
Origin: Near Jujuy in Northern Argentina.
Zones: USDA Zones 9b-11 (25 to 40° F/-3.8 to 4.5° C).
*Light: Sun to part shade.
**Soil: Fast-draining. Good quality potting soil amended with pumice (50/50) or additional pumice and chicken grit (2-1-1).
***Water: Regular watering in the summer and very little if any during the winter. Prone to rotting if overwatered.
This species has A LOT of rules. Reading the growing recommendations on websites, especially LLIFLE (see link below), will be very helpful.
*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. Likely, I will keep the Rebutia fabrisii on the front porch for a while after I put it outside for the summer…
**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…
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.
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.
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