Gymnocalycium mihanovichii var. filadelfiense
Gymnocalycium mihanovichii is native to Argentina Northeast and Paraguay where the plant grows under bushes in shady areas and in sandy or rocky soils.
Gymnocalycium mihanovichii is a dwarf perennial cactus belonging to the Cactaceae botanical family. The plant has branches from the base and can reach up to 4 cm in height and 6 cm in diameter. The stem is globose to ball-shaped, apically depressed, ranging from dark green to reddish to deep purple, arranged in 8 well marked ribs made of tubercles with horizontal grooves. The areoles are small, woolly, whitish to greyish and bear the spines. The 5-7 radial spines are thin, curved against the plants, short, pale brown tinged with black at the base. The central spines are generally absent. Blooming occurs from the late spring to the early summer and the blossoms least for a few days. The flowers are small, funnel-shaped, silky and are greenish white to pale pink; the stamens are yellow and the calyx is greenish. The fruits are oblong and green in color. Gymnocalycium mihanovichii var. friedrichii forms pink to purple flowers and the stem is arranged in ribs divided by narrow furrows.
This is a slow growing plant, easy to cultivate. The plant needs a full light sun exposure but is recommended to avoid direct sun-light in the hottest periods. The plant does not like temperatures below 7°C so it needs to be placed indoors in the coldest periods. The soil should be mixed with pumice, clay and loam to allow the drainage and prevent the root rot, the plant is prone to it indeed. Using a perforating pot, you can drain excess water. Watering is very important for this species and should be done well: during the vegetative period you can water the plant (every 7 days), checking that the soil is completely dry before watering again; in winter you should stop the watering to allow the plant to enter dormancy. About fertilization, for this plant is sufficient to fertilize moderately during the growing season with the specific fertilizers for succulents and stop fertilizing during the winter. You should repot the plant every 2 years in a pot 2 cm wider. Repotting should be done early in the growing season with fresh new potting soil. Be careful to red spiders and mealy bugs.
Propagation can be done by cutting or by seed. By cutting you can make the cut during the spring and then let the cutting 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. 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 soil 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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