Family: Cactaceae
Habitat: South America
Cultivation: Gymnocalycium is quite easy to grow as it is a tough cactus. Remember to protect these plants from direct sunlight, which can burn the surface of the stems!
Curiosity: 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.


The Gymnocalycium genus includes a large number of globular cacti, widespread mostly in South America.

These cacti are generally dark green and can reach different sizes depending on the species: from 2-3 cm to 40-50 cm. The larger species grow longer and take on an oblong shape.

Their stems have prominent tubercles: in each one there is an areole. The “areole” is the typical button-shaped bud of cacti, into which the thorns develop. In Gymnocalycium, the spines are generally curved and tough: watch out while moving these plants!

Flowers are large and brightly coloured: white, pink, yellow, orange or red, depending on the species. They bloom in Spring-Summer.

These cacti grow solitary and only rarely produce suckers.


Here are a few species of Gymnocalycium:

  • G. alboareolatum
  • G. amerhauseri
  • G. andreae
  • G. anisitsii
  • G. baldianum
  • G. bayrianum
  • G. bodenbenderianum
  • G. bruchii
  • G. calochlorum
  • G. capillaense
  • G. castellanosii
  • G. chacoense
  • G. chiquitanum
  • G. coloradense
  • G. deeszianum
  • G. denudatum
  • G. dubniorum
  • G. erinaceum
  • G. erolesii
  • G. eurypleurum
  • G. eytianum
  • G. fischeri
  • G. frankianum
  • G. gaponii
  • G. gibbosum
  • G. horstii
  • G. hybopleurum
  • G. hyptiacanthum
  • G. intertextum
  • G. itatiquense
  • G. jochumii
  • G. kieslingii
  • G. kroenleinii
  • G. kuehhasii


Here are our cultivation tips:

  • Choose a bright position, as long as sheltered from direct sunlight. If necessary, shelter the plant with a shade cloth to avoid stem burns
  • Keep your Gymnocalycium a few degrees above O°C.
  • Water every 3-4 days in Spring and Summer, reducing the frequency in autumn and suspending completely the irrigation in Winter.
  • Choose a very draining substrate, with sand, gravel and peat. A standard substrate for cacti is the best choose.
  • Fertilize once a month during the vegetative period, being careful not to exceed with the fertilizer.
  • Repotting necessities are different depending on the species.
  • Gymnocalycium are generally propagated by seed. You can also take off their suckers and use them as cuttings.

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