Gymnocalycium anisitsii is native to Bolivia, Brazil West-Central and Paraguay where the plant grows in open areas in semi-shade under the protection of low xerophyllous bushes and can spread up to 400 m of altitude.
Gymnocalycium anisitsii is a small perennial cactus belonging to the Cactaceae botanical family. The plant has a solitary habit and can reach up to 10 cm in height and 10 cm in diameter. The stem is globose to ball-shaped, apically depressed, pale green to brownish-green when exposed to the sun, arranged in 8-11 well marked ribs. The areoles are small, woolly, deep-set, whitish to greyish and bear the spines. The 5-7 radial spines are thin, curved against the plants, 6 cm long, brownish with darker tips. The central spines are absent. Blooming occurs from the late spring to the early summer and the blossoms least for twelve days. The flowers are large, funnel-shaped and are pale pink to bright pink; the stamens are yellow and the calyx is greenish. The fruits are oblong and reddish in color.
This is a fast growing plant, easy to cultivate. The plant needs a bright exposure, indirect sun-light, this will help development of flower buds. Long exposure to direct sun-light can cause burns and burnt spots. The minimum temperatures that the plant can withstand are 7° C, below this temperature it begins to suffer and going down further it no longer survives. Too low temperatures can cause the stem or leaves to break due to water freezing inside the tissues. Temperatures between 10 and 15 °C allow the plants to enter vegetative rest which is essential for the flowering of the following year. Plants should not be placed inside the house where average temperatures of 20 degrees prevent vegetative rest. The soil should be a well-draining and porous soil, so you can use a standard cactus soil or a mix of fertile soil and sand. The pumice should always be placed on the bottom of the pot. Remember to use a perforating pot to drain excess water. Watering can be done regularly during the vegetative period. Irrigation is proportional to the size of the pot, the position and the season. In Spring and Autumn the plant can be watered with a glass of water every 7-10 days; in summer it can be watered every 3-5 days. Decrease the amount of water if the plant is kept indoors or if the pot is smaller than 12 cm. The plant is used to growing in poor soils, for this reason it does not need abundant fertilization, it is sufficient to fertilize once in spring and once in summer. 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; it is usually done every 3-4 years. Be careful to red spiders and mealy bugs.
Propagation can be done by cutting or by seed. By cutting you can use the offsets during the spring. Cut an offset and then let it dry; after a few days the cut surface will dry and a callus will form, then place the cutting in a mixture of sand, soil and pumice. To increase the success of propagation you can make two or more cuttings at the same time. It is advisable to use rooting hormone at the base of the cut to energize root development. For cuttings it is recommended temperatures around 20 °C. By seed it is very simple to propagate the plant, it is enough to sow the seed in a sandy loam and keep it with a high level of humidity and at temperature of 14 C°.
Its name comes from the Greek “ghymnòs” (naked) and “càlyx” (calyx) and refers to the calyx of the flower, which is “naked” because it has no scales or hairs to protect it.
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