Blossfeldia liliputana

Synonyms:

Blossfeldia atroviridis
Blossfeldia atroviridis var. intermedia
Blossfeldia campaniflora
Blossfeldia cryptocarpa
Blossfeldia fechseri
Blossfeldia liliputana var. atroviridis
Blossfeldia liliputana var. caineana
Blossfeldia liliputana var. campaniflora
Blossfeldia liliputana var. fechseri
Blossfeldia liliputana var. formosa
Blossfeldia liliputana var. pedicellata
Blossfeldia minima
Blossfeldia pedicellata
Parodia liliputana

Habitat:

B. liliputiana a plant native to South America, in particular its area of distribution is in North-East Argentina and Southern Bolivia, in the Andes, where it grows between 1200 and 3500 meters above sea level. It habitat are little cracks in the rocks of vertical cliffs made of shale, often close to waterfalls, with water running over it during continuous periods of time (the humid season), alternating with periods of complete drought (probably the driest season, when the creeks dry up)

Description:

B. liliputiana is the smallest cacti in the world and belongs to the Cactaceae botanical family. The stem can reach only 1,2 cm of diameter and is flat, disk-shaped, grey-green in color and spineless. The cactus can be solitary or clumping. Blooming occurs during the Summer and flowers are borne at the top of the disk and are white or pink, 0,7 cm long, self-fertilizing. The seeds are tiny and look like dust. The root is tuberous and fruits are red, globous, hairy.

Cultivation:

This is a slow growing plant. The best sun-exposure is direct sun-light, and the plant does not like temperatures below 5 °C so it needs to be placed indoors. The soil should be mixed with pumice, clay and loam to allow the drainage and prevent the root rot, the plant is prone to it indeed. Remember to use a perforating pot to drain excess water. Watering can be done regularly in Spring and Summer: during the vegetative period you can water the plant (every 7 days), checking that the soil is completely dry before watering again; in winter you should stop the watering to allow the plant to enter dormancy. If you want a faster and lush growth you can fertilize the plant once a month during the growing season with the specific fertilizers for cacti; stop fertilizing throughout the winter. If the pot starts to be too small for the plant you can repot the plant in a pot 2 cm wider. Repotting should be done early in the growing season with fresh new potting soil.

Propagation:

Propagation can be done by seed or by grafting. The extremely small seeds should be sown on a very fine soils. Then, it’s very difficult to keep them alive on their own roots for the first 4-6 months. During this period, the advised watering method is the nebulization. It will take 2 to 5 years for them to become large enough to be watered normally. That’s why they are almost always found grafted, as their roots don’t fit easily in a normal substrate.

Curiosity:

Blossfeldia includes only one species: B. liliputiana. The name “liliputiana” refers to its incredibly small dimension: Blossfeldia liliputiana is the smallest cacti in the entire world! Lilliput is in fact a fictional country that appear in the first part of the 1726 novel Gulliver’s Travels by Jonathan Swift, where all the inhabitants are minute.

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