Melocactus is a genus of especially eye-catching cacti. Being a popular cactus in cultivation, they’re native to almost tropic areas like various parts of the Caribbean, South America (mostly Brazil), and Mexico.
Breathtaking Look Tooks Time
What makes this genus so desirable among the cacti lovers is the extraordinary look the mature plant has. Melocactus has a globular, ribbed and dark green stem with aureoles. On the top of the stem, the mature plant has cephalium that will continue to grow until the plant itself dies. Cephalium has exserted reddish bristles and creamy white wool. Inside its mass, cephalium will produce small, dark pink flowers and ultimately, tube-shaped, waxy fruits. Melocactus blooms from spring to summer. Because cephalium is developed only when the plant reaches maturity, Melocactus can be pretty difficult to identify.
This cutie can grow up to 10 inches (25 cm) tall and up to 10 inches (25 cm) in diameter. Cephalium can be up to 6 inches (15 cm) tall and up to 4 inches (10 cm) in diameter.
Grow and Care Tips
Melocactus is a somewhat delicate genus. It can be challenging to grow a healthy plant due to its specific care needs. Having that in mind, Melocactus is a better choice to more experienced cactus growers. Nonetheless, with a little extra effort and proper conditions, this is a beautiful and extraordinary cactus when it’s fully grown.
Melocactus needs lots of light and high temperatures. It loves the tropic climate, so it will thrive in full sun and temperatures above seventy degrees. This genus cannot survive frost.
When it comes to water, Melocactus loves fairly moist environments. This means you need to water it regularly, especially during the growing season. However, make sure that the plant doesn’t sit in water. Also, unlike most other species, Melocactus won’t tolerate completely dried out soil.
Choosing the right soil for Melocactus, you can’t be wrong with a standard cactus potting mixes, as long as its a well-draining mix with some organic material. Since this is a delicate genus, you should fertilize your Melocactus just to be sure it’s getting all the nutrition it needs. Adding a balanced, diluted fertilizer like a 20-20-20 mixed into the water during the growing season will help the plant develop.
To grow healthy, Melocactus also needs to be slightly packed in. It’s best to keep it in a small container that will constrict the roots. The best time for the repotting is the beginning of the growing season until they form cephaliums and the body stops growing.
Melocactus can be easily propagated from the seeds. You just need to plant the seeds in well-aerated soil and make sure to soak them in warm water before that. Sealing the seeds and keeping in the heat and moisture will help them root. The root system will take a while to develop, so just make sure you don’t overwater or overfeed them until before they are strong enough.