Hildewintera colademononis is native to Bolivia where the plant grows hanging from steep rock faces protruding above the surrounding jungle and can spread up to 1500 m of altitude.
Hildewintera colademononis is a decumbent cactus belonging to the Cactaceae botanical family. The plant has an erect habit at first and then become pendent. The cactus branches heavily from the base and ca reach up to 2,5 m in length. The branches are cylindrical, bright green in color, arranged in 14-20 ribs and they are completely concealed by the spines. The areoles are small white and woolly and bear the spines. The bristle-like spines are 4-8, curved downward and short, the hair-like spines are 20-50 and can be up to 8 cm long. Blooming occurs from the spring to the summer and blossom are carried on the branches. The flowers are fleshy, bright red to magenta, funnel-shaped, large, up to 6 cm long very showy and they can last several days. The fruits are spherical containing black seeds. The plant is perfect for the hanging pot for its falling branches and can’t missed in your collection or in your garden to give beauty and color to the home.
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 8°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. Remember to use a perforating pot to 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. 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. 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 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°.
Hildewintera takes its name from the sister of Friedrich Ritter, the first discoverer of this and many other genera of cacti, whose name was Hildegarda Winter! The common name “monkey’s tail” refers to the appearance of the hairy stems. Hildewintera is actually the name given to cacti resulting from the hybridisation of Cleistocactus winterii. So Hildewintera is not a regular genus, but a group of hybrids of just one species. That’s why the name Hildewintera is therefore not correct according to the most recent botanical classifications – which place these cacti in the broader genus Cleistocactus.
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