G. spegazzini is native to Argentina Northwest and Bolivia where the plant can grow on sandy, gravelly and rocky soils and can spread up to 3600 m of altitude.
G. spegazzini is a beautiful cactus belonging to the Cactaceae botanical family. The plant is small in size and can reach up to 6 cm in height and 18 cm in diameter. The stem is round, ball-shaped, dark green in color, arranged in 10-33 ribs. The ribs are made of tubercles in each one there is an areola. The areoles are elongate yellowish greyish and bear 5-7 flattened, yellowish radial spines. Blooming occurs from the late spring to the early summer and blossom least for twelve days. The flowers are large, funnel-shaped, whitish outside and white with pinkish stripes inside. The fruit is green covered with bluish pruina.
This is a slow growing plant, easy to cultivate. The best sun-exposure is in bright place 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 perfect soil is a well-drained soil that let the water to drain away and avoid root rot. To achieve this feature, you can mix the pumice soil, clay and soil. Remember to use a perforating pot to 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. If you want a faster and lush growth you can fertilize the plant once a month during the growing season with the specific fertilizers for succulents; stop fertilizing throughout 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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