Monday, September 10, 2007

Thimble Cactus: Too Tender To Touch

Mammillaria gracilis var. fragilis, commonly called Thimble Cactus, is a tiny clumping cactus that usually gets no larger than about four inches high. It is a fast grower, and the new offsets easily separate from the main plant with the slightest disturbance. The cacti in the photo are offsets that I started last year from an older cactus. I also have many more growing in small pots. If I planted all the disarticulated offsets, Thimble Cactus would overtake my garden.

In its native habitat in Mexico, this cactus forms large clusters as it clumps. As the offsets are disengaged from the parent plant, they too will start producing their own offsets. I would like to try this in my garden, but probably in a large wok planter rather than in the ground. That way, I could easily protect it from frost and make sure it received the proper moisture.

This cactus has pale yellow flowers that appear in early spring. I think the star burst arrangement of the white spines is actually prettier than the flowers. For some reason, this cactus is a hit with kids. I entered an herb container filled with Thimble Cactus in our local Cactus and Succulent Society show this past spring. Kids just flocked around it. I think they like the tiny size more than anything.

What is your idea of a perfect garden? Find out what style best suits you by taking a quiz at the Monrovia (the plant people) website. After the quiz, it gives great ideas in plant choices and garden accessories to attain the ideal garden. In my case, the results indicated my ideal would be a tropical garden. Oh well. It was fun.


Julie said...

OMG...isn't that hilarious that you turned out to be a tropical gardener on the quiz!!! I will take it...maybe I will be a desert gardener (I think I will be)...Ha ha ha. Hey, I too love your little cactus is adorable. I think the kids liked the stars on it (needles). I think I will have to look for one of these to put in my succulent tires!!!

Julie said...

I turned out to be a ZEN gardener!

Mark said...

Hi Aiyana,

Have you tried

kate said...

That was a fun quiz - I'm a rustic, wild and native gardener. Cool...

I have a cactus that looks a lot like this, although it is bigger. It is one that I am leery of, having grabbed it by accident while transplanting it. Ouch.

I'd like to see it in flower sometime...

chigiy said...

I haven't taken the quiz yet but the fact that you're suppose to be a tropical gardener is very funny.

chigiy said...

BTW I don't know why you are having to leave a comment twice on my blog.
I'm sorry. But I'm glad you're not discouraged and you are still leaving comments:)

No Rain said...

I suppose you could make a Zen desert garden!
I'll let them drop, thank you! LOL
From the look of your garden photos, I would have thought you would have turned out to be a cottage gardener. I really like that look.
I'm persistent that way. There are a couple of blogs on the GTS list that always cause my computer to freeze up, but I will keep restarting until I get to their sites. Obsessive/Compulsive disorder, maybe??

CG said...

that's a very cute cactus!And I'm a cottage gardener :)