Echinopsis subdenudata f. crestata
No synonyms are recorded for this name.
E. subdenudata f. crestata is a nursery cultivar, namely, an hybrid produced in nursery. The f. cristata, so, doesn’t exist in nature.
E. subdenudata, instead, which is the species from which the cristata cultivar has been created, is native to northwest Argentinia, Bolivia and Paraguay. In its habitat the plant can be found at an altitude up to 1800 meters above sea level! This species grows in many habitat types, such as grasslands, shrublands, and forests.
E. subdenudata f. crestata is a tiny, spineless cacti, very appreciated among succulent lovers for its rarity and odd shape. It is, in fact, a rounded, spineless cactus, solitary and unbranched. Its colour is bright green and the surface of the stem is furrowed by dense ribs, more thick in the outer part of the stem and much more dense and thin in the central part. The rounded stem is actually neatly divided into two parts by a central, deep cleft, in correspondance of which the crests become numerous, thinner and dense. This plant, overall, looks like an odd wheel, with the central part more yellowish as the stems grow older, and the external part bright green. As already said, this cacti is spineless. However, the surface of its stem is sprinkled with white, fluffy areoles, small and covered in white, soft hair. On the depressed part of the central cleft, the areoles are more crowded and often form an almost continuous, central white, fluffy line. Another reason why E. subdenudata f. cristata is so sought after is its gorgeous flowers, very fleshy and rather big. From late Spring to all summer long, one to many flowers, depending on the age of the plant, as older plants can produce more flowers at the same time, develop from the outer sides of the crest, born upon 15 to 25 centimeters long, funnel-shaped but slender, green tubes, covered in purplish scales. On each flower tube, flowers are solitary, white, and have numerous, lanceolate white petals. Flowers open in the morning and stay open all day long and all the following night long as well. The second day, however, they already start to wither.
Being a crested form, this cacti doesn’t produce viable seeds.
Grafted plants are easier to grow and will form a large brain-like mounds with age. The tips of cultivation for E. subdenudata f. cristata are very similar to the ones valid for the regular form, E. subdenudata. Here below they are:
E. subdenudata f. crestata is a slow growing succulent but quite easy to cultivate. Put it in light shade and keep it at temperatures above 10 °C: it will need to be placed indoors during the Winter. As a substrate, mix a standard soil with pumice, clay and loam to allow the drainage and prevent root rot. We suggest to use clay, porous pots to enhance th drainage. Water regularly from March to November, every 10 days, checking that the soil is completely dry before watering again. In winter, instead, you should suspend irrigation to allow to the plant to enter dormancy. If you want a very fast and lush growth you can fertilize the plant once a month during the growing season with a specifics fertilizers for cacti; always stop fertilizing throughout the winter, however. If the pot starts to look too small for the plant you can repot it in one 2 cm wider. Repotting should be done usually every 3 years, early in the growing season with fresh new potting soil.
Propagation is usually carried out by grafting or stem cutting. Take off stem cuttings during the Spring. Cut a segment and then let it dry; after a few days the cut surface will dry and a callus will form on the wound. After that, place the cutting in a mixture of sand, soil and pumice. To increase success of propagation you can cut two or more segments at the same time. For cuttings is recommended temperatures around 20 °C.
Precisely for its rounded stem and the peculiarity of its night-blooming flowers, this cacti is also called “Crested Night-blooming Hedge-Hog”, or either “Crested Easter Lily Cactus”. It is very rare in ornamental plants market and, due to the peculiar growth habit of the crests, each individual is unique. Crested forms are still a mystery in plant biology: the main theory is that the cause is a genetic mutation, however some think also that the modification of the stems into crests might be the result of a strike of lightning or freeze damages. In crested forms, the growth point becomes a line that folds as the crest grows.
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