In the holiday season, what’s the better and more thoughtful gift than a plant that will bring a new dimension to these cold days? If you’re searching for a perfect plant your newbie gardener friend won’t kill, cactus is really your best option. In that matter, let us introduce to you Gymnocalycium castellanosii aka Chin Cactus. This spikey little cutie will add an edge to any outdoor garden.
Chin Cactus- Spikey, Rounded Cutie
Gymnocalycium castellanosii is a small, globular cactus. It can get up to 4 inches (10 cm) tall and up to 6 inches (15 cm) in diameter. This rounded beauty has a solitary, green or green-blueish stem with 10 to 12 ribs. Each stem has areoles that are caring somewhat 5 to 10 spines. Spines are what make this cactus so unique looking. They are pretty heavy for a small stem. Besides being impressively thick, spines are slightly curved back, whiteish, brownish or grayish with dark brown to almost black tips. There are rarely one or two central spines. They are growing in ring shape from the areole instead.
The stem of Gymnocalycium castellanosii is globose to flattened- globose and will bloom with breathtaking funnel-shaped flowers. Flowers are white or light-pink with reddish or pink throat and they can reach 1.8 inches (4.5 cm) in diameter. Gymnocalycium castellanosii blooms from spring to summer.
Grow and Care Tips
Chin Cactus is rather an easy cactus to grow and care for. Generally, to keep Gymnocalycium castellanosii happy, you should repot it every two or three years.
Chin Cactus is native to Argentina, some parts of Brazil and Uruguay. It can also be found in Paraguay and southern Bolivia. Therefore, Chin Cactus can handle some high temperatures, as well as colder months. However, if temperatures go below 50°F (10ºC), it`s best to protect the plant. You can do that with glass and some heating.
When it comes to light, some Gymnocalyciums in the wild grow in the shade of shrubs and grasses, while others will thrive completely exposed to full sun. When growing Chin Cactus, try to avoid exposing it to direct sunlight for too long. You should make sure that your plant is lightly shaded from the full sun during the hottest months of the year. However, be careful. Too much protection will result in the loss of flowers.
Like many other cacti, Chin Cactus won’t tolerate wet feet. You should avoid leaving Gymnocalycium castellanosii sitting in soggy soil for more than a day or two. The well-draining potting mix will be just fine for this cactus to stay healthy and protect it from root rot.
Chin Cactus has typical water needs. You should be watering it during the growing season in the summer, even weekly fro the small plants in small pots. During the winter, you`ll need to cut watering down completely, since the plant will be in the dormant period. For spring and autumn, it’s best to use a “soak and dry” method to find a perfect watering balance.
Chin Cactus produces a lot of offsets. Therefore, it’s easy to propagate it from the cuttings. Just make sure to use a sterile knife to make a cut and to leave the cuttings to callus for a day or two before planting in fresh, well-draining soil.
If you choose to propagate Gymnocalycium castellanosii from the seeds, you’ll be surprised how fast this little guy can grow. You can expect a flowering size plan within two years of from seeding. Also, the seeds germinate very well when they are fresh. You`ll be able to keep them usable for a few years if you store them in cold conditions.