Thursday, January 31, 2008

Bursting At The Seams


This fat guy, Gymnocalycium horstii, can’t wait until April so it can get a new pot. It has clumped to the point there is no room left to grow in its original nursery container. Clumping usually doesn’t occur when the cactus is young, so this one is probably four years old based on its size. It is one of the larger Gymnos; eventually it will reach about eight to 10 inches in diameter.

I’ve always liked this genus of cactus. It is easy to identify because of the little indentations or ‘chins’ under the areoles, (not so evident on this species) as well as the naked calyx, or the outer covering of the flower bud. The genus name is from the Greek language meaning naked calyx, or a bud that is free of spines or hairs. Gymnos have prolific flowering habits, and this species usually blooms from late spring until fall. The flowers of this species are a pale pink.

Gymnocalycium is sun sensitive, especially in the Phoenix area. Full sun will easily scorch and burn the exposed skin, as will extreme cold. I keep all seven of my Gymno species on the patio in a bright spot, because in order for them to bloom they need bright light. The G. horstii is a summer grower and needs regular watering, but in winter, lay off the water.

If you look closely at the skin of this G. horstii, you can see small light dots on the skin, probably caused by an extra cold night. They may or may not go away. These small defects won't hurt the cactus, but they may disqualify it from winning a ribbon in a cactus show.

7 comments:

barbara said...

What a beauty. Delicate is great, but sometimes the big guy wins.

WiseAcre said...

I would never had thought of a catcus as sun sensitive. Makes me wonder what habitat niche they grow in the wild. I can't imagine the desert without sun exposure.

No Rain said...

Gymnocalycium is distributed throughout South America. This particular species is from the Paraguay and Uraguay grasslands, where it's protected by surrounding tall grasses. Not all cacti are from desert regions. Those with fewer spines are usually from areas where they grow with some type of habitat protection. There are some Gymno species that can take more sun than this species and they have more spines.
A very large number of cacti that folks are familiar with come from the South American countries, as well as South Africa.

Nicole said...

Thats a very attractive "plump" specimen! I have now started a cacti and succulent collection, and also hope to grow some from seed

kate said...

Sometime I would love to see some photographs of your garden. You have such interesting cacti specimens in your garden - I love coming to see your cacti. I like this one - it looks like a puffball.

I hope you take the encaustic course at Art Unraveled. Working with wax is great fun - I try and keep my messiness to a minimum. That isn't always easy!!

Curtis said...

What a very interesting Cactus. Looks like it could burst the pot it's in.

Julie said...

Interesting info on the habitat of these fat guys!