Escobaria sneedii


Coryphantha albicolumnaria
Coryphantha sneedii
Coryphantha sneedii var. albicolumnaria
Coryphantha sneedii var. guadalupensis
Escobaria albicolumnaria
Escobaria guadalupensis
Escobaria sneedii subsp. albicolumnaria
Escobaria sneedii subsp. sneedii
Mammillaria sneedii
Neolloydia orcuttii


Escobaria sneedii is endemic to a desert area in the USA, between west Texas, Florida, and southern New Mexico. It grows in limestone slopes and south-facing outcrops in the Chihuhauan desert. It can also be found in xerophyllous scrubs or in conifer woodlands. Its elevation range is wide: 600 to 2600 meters above the sea level.


Escobaria sneedii is a little cacti, clumping in little groups of 30 centimeters in diameter, with 10 to hundreds of stems like little heads. Stems are spherical when young but later become cylindrical or club-shaped. They are partially hidden by the abundant, white spines, bright green and furrowed in little,nipple-shaped tubercles from which the spines sprout. Spines, like in many cacti species, are divided into central ones, 1 to 9, pointing outwards, whitish but also pinkish to brownish at their tip, and radial ones, much more slender and slightly longer, pointing in all directions.
In Spring, the blooming season starts and Escobaria sneedii becomes covered in flowers. They sprout at the top of the stems, are pinkish, 2.5 centimers wide, and never manage to open widely with the exception of noon time, but still beautiful and very decorative, especially in older clumps, in which the heads become covered in blooms. After withering, flowers are replaced by crimson fruits, brownish-pink or green, almost spherical, with some hairy scale like the flower calyx.


Escobaria sneedii is not the easiest cacti to grow. However, if you pay attention, it will reward your efforts with beautiful bloomings! Here below are our tips:

Put it in a bright spot, as strong light enhance blossoming and spine/wool production. Filtered sun is recommended during the hottest hours of summer days, to prevent scorching.
Escobaria sneedii is deemed to be frost-resistant, if kept completely dry in Winter. Although, to stay safe, we advise to place it indoors, mainly to protect it from winter rains and humidity, that cause root and stem rotting. In theory, this species can resist down to -17ºC!
Water regularly in Spring and Summer, during the growth season, waiting for the soil to dry up completely before each irrigation. Don’t allow the pot to stay soaked in a tray of water. Reduce gradually the watering frequency until stopping completely in winter. This is to force the plant to enter in dormancy.
Choose a very well-drained substrate. A specific mix for cacti, which you could buy in a nursery, will do good.
Once a year, during the growth season, fertilize with a product for cacti and succulents, rich in Potassium and Phosphorus and poor in Nitrogen.
It should be repotted every 2-3 years, in small pot with good drainage (clay ones are better than plastic).


The propagation of Escobaria sneedii is usually carried out through direct sow or either offsets. Offsets are the easiest way, as the plant produces them abundantly. You can take them off once they reach 1/3 the size of the mother plant, to replant them in another pot. Seeds, instead, usually germinate in 7/14 days at 21/27 ºC, and should be sown in Spring. Young plantlets should be protected by direct sunlight. Until the germination occurs, the pot should be covered in a glass or plastic sheet to enhance a warm and humid microclimate inside the sowing bed. Sometimes, Escobaria sneedii is found grafted onto more resistant species.


The genus name Escobaria is due to the two brothers Romolo and Numa Pompilio Escobar, the two botanists who, at the beginning of 1900, discovered and classified many Escobarias.

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