THE GENUS MAMMILLARIA: MARCH MADNESS!

SUMMARY BEFORE THE TEXT: Try to plant the right Mammillaria outside in containers or in-ground here in Vegas. Consider how to protect them from the hot summer sun and the winter cold. This is cactus: use well drained soil and low water! Mostly blooms in the spring.

There are at least a couple hundred accepted Mammillaria species in the Cactaceae family. This page provides general notes about the genus as well as fine links for reference purposes. This is a popular container and in-ground plant. Many species are available commercially. The shapes vary between globular to an elongated globular form. Spine color and form varies to include some with “fish hooks.” The flower color varies as well: less than .5 inch and either pinkish or yellowish OR IN A FEW SPECIES, up to 1.5 inches across and stand on a floral tube above the plant. Often the small flowers appear in a ring around the plant on second year growth.

  • Mammillaria tetrancista is a Mojave Desert native. It is small round or globular with dark fishook spines. Most of thse plants are 3 or 4 inches tall and up to 3 inches across. (Mother Nature does allow them to become larger, but not often.) Spines could be an inch long on a plant, but are generally shorter and fine rather than course. The flowers on this desert beauty make up for the small plant size. The blossom of up to 1.5 inches across is on the pink side of lavender, but not quite as rich as magenta. Seeds form inside small red oval fuits. The plant is grown from seed, and not easy to find on the open market. (No poaching) A few growers do have seed from which they raise plants. The sun and cold weather in the Las Vegas area does not offend this little jewel.
  • Mammillaria pests are mostly mealy bugs. Prevent or control them immediately. They can kill the plant, and they will scare the outer tissue permanently.
  •  Cold Hardiness: Mammillaria listed below are those listed primarily from a California gardener, Craig Howe. These may do well in the ground in Las Vegas (perhaps with a bit of sun protection.) 
o   Mammillaria meridiorosea
o   Mammillaria heyderi and vars
o   Mammillaria microcarpa
o   Mammillaria miegiana
o   Mammillaria obscura
o   Mammillaria senilis
o   Mammillaria zeyeriana
  • CSSSN has had several "Mams" in raffles, most of which not named. Some of them included: 
o   Mammillaria elongata (sometimes “Copper King” or “Ladyfinger”)
o   Mammillaria gracilis (sometimes “Arizona Snowcap”)
o   Mammillaria parkinsonii (sometimes “Owl’s Eye”)
  • This March Madness raffle will include (but not limited to) Mammillaria species:
o   Geminispina, Albacans, Magnifica, Parkinsonii, and more!
  • Reference Groups & Website Links:
o   Facebook Groups
§  Cold Hardy Cacti
§  Thorn-Porn for Cactus Lovers
o   Website links
§  http://www.cactusstore.com/article_5/Cold-Hardy-Cacti.htm
§  http://cactiguide.com/cactus/?genus=Mammillaria