Family: Cactaceae
Habitat: South Texas and Mexico
Cultivation: Glandulicactus are not easy to grow because they are very sensitive to mold and rot. Be careful not to water them too much and keep the plant in a well ventilated place, even during the winter rest.
Curiosity: The genus Glandulicactus, together with others, has been recently included in the genus Sclerocactus but, as always in these cases, there are different classifications according to the author of reference. It is therefore possible to find single species under different genera (for example, one can come across both the names “Glandulicactus uncinatus” as well as “Sclerocactus uncinatus”).


The genus Glandulicactus includes a few small to medium-sized cacti, but with flowers that have peculiar, gorgeous color patterns.

Glandulicactus are from South Texas and Mexico. Their habitat ranges from xerophyllous scrubs (“xerophyllous” refers to xerophytic plants, which are plants resistant to drought), to desert hills or open grasslands. We are talking about very arid environments, with very reduced amounts of rainfalls during the year. Their preferred substrate are usually rich in limestone and the altitude range of occurrence is wide: it goes from 900 to 1600 meters above sea level (it can be slightly different according on the species).

The stems tend to be globular or slightly elongated, cylindrical: they can reach a height of around 20 cm and a diameter of about 10. They are bright green in color, furrowed by numerous vertical ribs.
Prominent tubercles, equipped with long hooked spines, rise from each rib. They are light-colored in the younger plants (whitish, sometimes streaked with red) but tend to darken with time. The spines grow on prominent, whitish, usually glabrous areoles. The areoles are the typical buds of Cactaceae, from which the spines grow.

The main peculiarity of this cacti are, as already said, the flowers. They grow on scaly calyxes, have an evident central yellow or white button (formed by the stamens and the pistil) and numerous petals of really rare and spectacular colors: nuances that go from a very dark pink to rust red, from brown to purple, always with very warm shades. They can reach 3 cm in diameter and sprout in spring.

From the flowers, coloured, fleshy fruits develop. They are usually red and indehiscent. The word “indehiscent”, in botany, is used to describe a fruit that doesn’t open spontaneously. Usually, they are fruits that need to be eaten and digested by animals to open and spread the seeds.

Roots are of the fibrous type.


As already written, the classification of this genus varies according to the scholars of reference. These are the species recognised to date in this genus:

  • G. crassihamatus
  • G. mathssonii
  • G. uncinatus
  • G. wrightii

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Glandulicactus are not easy to grow because they are very sensitive to the risk of mold and rot. These are our tips to grow healthy plants with beautiful blooms:

  • Choose a position in full sun because the direct rays will help the plant to turn on the most beautiful shades of color. This plant needs a very well- ventilated environment, even during the winter: do not leave it in closed places for vernalization.
  • It loves heat, but it can also resist to cold temperatures (down to -5 / -7 ° C) if the soil is well dry.
  • Water regularly every 3-4 days during spring and summer, gradually decreasing until stopping completely in winter. Pay attention to details: watering should be a little more abundant in early spring, when the plant wakes up from its vegetative rest and prepares to bloom again. Never water if the soil hasn’t dried out well first, but also be careful not to leave your Glandulicactus without water for too long when temperatures are high.
  • Use a standard soil for cacti, not too rich in nutrients and very well draining, better if further diluted with a little sand or pumice.
  • Fertilize in spring, once a month, with a specific product for cacti using half of the doses recommended on the package.
  • When repotting, be very careful not to damage the roots, which are particularly delicate.

The propagation of Glandulicactus is usually carried out by seed. Seeds must be placed in a sandy substrate and kept at a very high temperature (around 25-30 ° C) for about two weeks before the sprouts.

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