Table of contents:
Family of cactus. It is the largest genus of cactus, containing up to 500 species. Among them there are very unpretentious species that can be found in almost any cactusist, and there are very demanding and complex ones, therefore, probably, rare cacti. The structural features of mammillaria make them easy to distinguish from other members of the cactus family. This feature is the presence of numerous papillae on the stem of mammillaria, and not just tubercles. Spines grow from the top of these papillae. Flowers emerge from the sinuses between the papillae. Although I must say that the papillae may be the only similarity between different types of mammillaria.
The homeland of most Mammillaria is the desert or lowland regions of South America, and this affects the conditions of their maintenance - a lot of sun and heat in summer, and dry maintenance in winter, as it is characteristic of them in nature.
- Mammillaria prickly Mammillaria spinosissima - with a spherical stem and thin, sharp spines of white and brown. Pubescence between papillae, as if white cotton balls. It blooms with bright pink flowers.
- Mammillaria elongated Mammillaria elongata - with a thin elongated stem, papillae are not high, golden spines are collected in a neat rosette. It blooms with small white flowers, but only under favorable conditions, although, in general, grows well in indoor culture. Berries are formed after pollination.
- Mammillaria Wilda Mammillaria wildii - with an elongated thick stem, up to 5 cm in diameter. The papillae are thin, elongated with golden spines; the central spine is crooked. It easily forms babies, which themselves do not fall away, but continue to grow, as a result, the cactus branches strongly. It blooms easily with white, small flowers. Berries are formed after pollination.
- Mammillaria Zeilmann Mammillaria zeilmanniana - with a short cylindrical stem and dense curved spines. The flowers are bright pink, sometimes white in spring.
- Mammillaria excellent Mammillaria perbella - with a spherical stem, up to 6-7 cm in diameter with small white spines. Easily forms many children. It blooms with pink or red flowers.
- Mammilaria hahniana Mammilaria hahniana - With a spherical or cylindrical stem (up to 10 cm in diameter) and long white hairs, this fluffy mammillaria blooms with pink flowers. Easily forms many children.
- Mammillaria bokasana Mammillaria bocasana - with an elongated thick stem (4-5 cm in diameter), with thin long papillae, forms many babies. The peculiarity in the spines is that the central brown spine is long and bent by a crochet, several spines are thin needle-shaped, as well as longer white, hair-like spines. This mammillaria also grows easily and blooms in indoor conditions with small white flowers. Which, when there are many of them, greatly adorn the plant. Berries are formed after pollination.
- Escaping mammillaria Mammillaria prolifera - with a low, thin stem, easily forming many children. Spines are hair-like and acicular, extreme white, golden in the center, they densely cover the stem so that sometimes it is not even visible. It blooms easily with small white flowers. Berries are formed without cross-pollination.
- Snow mammillaria Mammillaria nivosa - contains milky juice, which is noticeable when a papilla or stem is broken. The name of the species is associated with white fluffy hairs, similar to snowflakes, located between the papillae. 6 - 13, 6-13 radial spines, yellow or brownish (sometimes dark brown), up to 2 cm long. There is only one central spine, no different from the radial ones. Flowers are yellow, about 2 cm in diameter.
A collection of photographs of mammillaria by species is collected in the photo gallery of cacti: Mammillaria
There are so many different types of mammillaria, and some of them are very difficult to grow and only a very experienced cactus grower can do, therefore, when buying a new cactus, ask for its exact name (Latin), and look in the guide how easy it is to grow your chosen mammilaria.
Mammillaria are very popular with flower growers and most species grow well all year round in normal home conditions, although ideally they need daily temperature drops of 7-10 ° C, cold content in winter, daily airing, or, whenever possible, placement on a balcony or in a garden under a canopy …
Temperature: generally moderate, in summer, shading is necessary in the heat, otherwise the plants will burn or shrivel, this is dangerous only if the pots are in an unventilated room, for example, on a closed balcony. If the windows are open, no shading is needed.
In winter, it would be correct to organize a dormant period at a temperature of 7-10 ° C without watering. For pubescent mammillaria, the winter minimum is + 15 ° С, but higher temperatures in winter are not desirable. If you have a balcony, then from the end of May the mammillaria can be exposed to fresher air, but be careful with watering - the temperature is too low at night!
If there is not enough light (especially in winter), cacti lean closer to the glass, and with a strong lack of light, the stems stretch out.
Lighting: Mammillaria love a lot of light, almost all species not only tolerate direct sunlight, but also need it. Especially a lot of light is needed for pubescent mammillaria. If you do not have southern, southeastern or southwestern windows, or there is shading from the street, then choose the most shade-tolerant views or equip the backlighting.
Watering: in winter, cacti are watered depending on the temperature, the colder the conditions, the more moderate and careful watering. In the warm season, during active growth, mammillaria are watered more often, after the soil in the pot dries out in a day or two. If the pots are on the balcony, water the cacti only in the morning so that the soil has time to dry out in the evening.
The main problem in growing mammillaria is the susceptibility to waterlogging of the soil, especially during cold wintering. Therefore, the rule is especially relevant here - it is better to underfill than overflow.
Air humidity: mammillaria, like all cacti, are resistant to dry air.
Transplant: young plants every year, old plants every year. Soil - 1 part turf, 1 part leaf, 1 part fine gravel, a few pieces of birch charcoal (on a pot 5 cm in diameter, crush a piece about 1 cm side). For old, heavily overgrown cacti, the sod soil can be 2 parts. Since most mammillaria form many babies, which usually take root next to the mother plant, the pot for them should be wide, but not deep.
Mammillaria love porous soil. The addition of humus, even well-rotted, should be strictly limited for them, the nutrient component of the soil (according to Zaletaeva) is the earth collected in a birch grove or under linden trees. But adding brick or gravel chips is necessary.
See also: Cacti. Brief requirements for soil, temperature, lighting - here you will find reference characteristics on the requirements of certain genera of cacti for temperature, illumination, soil composition, etc. There are characteristics of the root system and the origin of each genus and plant species
Reproduction: Most mammillaria are easily propagated by children, but since this leads to plant degeneration over time, it is better to periodically renew them from seeds. Seeds germinate when heated and the soil temperature is 20-25 ° C. If you organize supplementary lighting of seedlings, then sowing cacti can be carried out at any time of the year.
Long-term cultivation of mammillaria from babies leads to the degeneration of plants, thorns and stems become smaller, stretched and become thinner. Sometimes seeing in a store a mammillaria of the same species, but grown from a seed, it is difficult to believe that they can be so beautiful. Therefore, if you want your mimmilaria to be, as they say, "envy", periodically renew them from seeds.
For more information about the features of various maintenance regimes, transplantation and reproduction, diseases and pests, see the Cacti section.