Gymnocalycium saglionis


Echinocactus saglionis
Brachycalycium tilcarense
Echinocactus hybogonus
Gymnocalycium saglionis var. australe
Gymnocalycium saglionis f. columnare
Gymnocalycium saglionis var. jujuyense
Gymnocalycium saglionis var. minus
Gymnocalycium saglionis f. splendens
Gymnocalycium saglionis subsp. tilcarense


Gymnocalycium saglionis is a distinctive cactus species originating from South America, particularly Argentina. This resilient succulent thrives in arid regions, often found in rocky, well-draining soils. Its native habitat encompasses a range of environments, from dry plains to rocky hillsides, where it has evolved to withstand harsh conditions and adapt to various altitudes. Gymnocalycium saglionis has also been observed growing in the shelter of larger plants, utilizing their shade for protection against intense sunlight.


The unique charm of Gymnocalycium saglionis lies in its compact, spherical form and vibrant colors. Typically small in size, this plant, belonging to the Cactaceae botanical family, reaches diameters of around 10 to 15 cm. The body of the cactus features distinctive ribs, usually around 10 to 15, adorned with small, woolly areoles from which spines emerge. The spines are variable in length and can be straight or slightly curved. What sets Gymnocalycium saglionis apart is its lack of chlorophyll, resulting in a greenish to reddish or even purplish appearance, depending on the specific cultivar. This striking coloration, coupled with the cactus’s compact and globular shape, makes it a popular choice among collectors and enthusiasts. During the flowering season, which typically occurs in late spring or early summer, the cactus produces stunning, funnel-shaped flowers that vary in color from pale pink to magenta, adding a burst of color to its spartan appearance


The plant has a slow growth rate but it easy to cultivate. The plant needs a full light sun exposure but is recommended to avoid direct sun-light in the hottest periods. The minimum temperatures that the plant can withstand are 7 °C, below this temperature it begins to suffer 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 can be done regularly in Spring and Summer: 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. 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. Be careful to red spiders and mealy bugs.


Propagation of Gymnocalycium saglionis can be achieved through several methods, with seeds being the most common. Harvest the seeds from mature, healthy plants and sow them in a well-draining cactus mix. Keep the soil consistently moist until germination occurs, which may take several weeks. Once the seedlings are large enough to handle, they can be transplanted into individual pots. Another method of propagation involves separating offsets or “pups” that naturally develop around the base of mature plants. Carefully remove these offsets and allow them to dry before planting them in their own containers with suitable cactus soil. Gymnocalycium saglionis is known for its relatively slow growth, so patience is key during the propagation process.


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. Beyond its ornamental value, Gymnocalycium saglionis possesses several intriguing features. The common name “Easter Lily Cactus” is derived from its beautiful, lily-like flowers that often bloom around the Easter season. In addition to its aesthetic appeal, Gymnocalycium saglionis is known for its relatively long lifespan, with some individuals living for several decades under proper care.

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