Escobaria tuberculosa f. gigantea


No synonyms are recorded for this species name.


Escobaria tuberculosa f. gigantea is native to South-Western USA and northern Mexico, where it inhabits semi-desert environments with an extremely scarce rainfalls.


Escobaria tuberculosa f. gigantea is a form of Escobaria tuberculosa, called “gigantea” (that means “giant”) for its larger and taller stems. They are actually the same species, E. tuberculosa, but the form “gigantea” has differentiated for unknown reasons, maybe due to the occurrance of an accidental geographic separation of wild population in its natural habitat. Escobaria tuberculosa f. gigantea is a solitary cacti, with a single stem, usually unbranched, up to 20 centimeters tall and 7/8 in diameter, bigger than the regular species Escobaria tuberculosa. The stem is furrowed in numerous tubercles, spirally-arranged, with 20/41 spines each areole, greyish-white to brown-blackish, divided into radial ones, pointing in all directions, and central ones, pointing outwards and usually stouter and darker in colour. Flowers sprout at the top of the stem, are perfectly white to pale-pinkish, and give birth to bright red fruits.


Escobaria tuberculosa f. gigantea 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 tuberculosa f. gigantea 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. The species name “tuberculosa”, instead, refers to the numerous nipple-like tubercles on its stem, while the name “gigantea” means “giant” and refers to the particularly large size of the stem.

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