Monday, January 13, 2014

Winter Flowering Mammillaria


Mammillaria  melanocentra subsp. rubrograndis


I keep many of my cacti and other succulents outside all winter in  three wooden boxes, covered with clear heavy plastic and each containing an electric heater.  In essence, these are small, inexpensive greenhouses, and the plants do very well in them.  However, there are drawbacks, and one of the biggest is that during periods of cold weather, when the boxes can't be opened, I don't have access to the plants, even those that are showing off their flowers.
Mammillarias are relatively small cacti from Mexico or the Southwest U.S.  Most are globular in shape, easy to grow and flower in mid spring through early summer.  However, there are a few that flower much earlier in the year, during the winter.  M. melanocentra subsp. rubrograndis is one of the winter flowering types.  Fortunately, when it was in flower a few weeks ago, the weather was mild enough to open the plastic covers and take a photo of the wonderful flowering display.    
Mammillaria melanocentra subsp. rubrograndis is native to northeastern Mexico and requires a full sun location for this type of flower display.  The plant shown is approximately 17cm in diameter, and yes, those spines are sharp and they hurt.  I need to repot into a larger pot later this year but I really don't look forward to the repotting experience.  Ouch.