Lobivia chrysochete var. hystrix
Lobivia chrysochete var. markusii
Lobivia chrysochete var. subtilis
Lobivia chrysochete var. tenuispina
Lobivia chrysochete is native to Argentina Northwest and Bolivia where the plant grows in high altitude grasslands and can spread up to 4700 m of altitude.
Lobivia chrysochete is a small and beautiful cactus belonging to the Cactaceae botanical family. The cactus has a solitary habit and can reach up to 15 cm in height and 25 cm in diameter. The stem is flattened globose to globular shape, pale green in color, arranged in 20 ribs separated by deep grooves. The ribs are covered with small, whitihs and woolly areoles bearing the spines. The 3-5 central spines are 6-8 cm long, thin, pointing outwards and yellowish to brownish. The 20-30 radial spines are similar to the central ones but shorter. Blooming occurs from the spring to the summer and the buds are borne at the base of the ribs. The flowers are the most fascinating feature of the plant, they are funnel-shaped, very showy, glossy orange to dull red, with a narrow and whitish throat. The stigmas are magenta and the anthers are whitish and located in the center of the throat. The flowers last for four days and the blooming is diurnal and favoured by periods of cold during vegetative rest. The cactus is very similar to the Echinopsis genus but it slightly differs for the diurnal flowering and for the size and the shape of the flowers.
This is a fast growing plant, easy to cultivate. The plant needs a bright exposure, indirect sun-light, this will help development of flower buds. Long exposure to direct sun-light can cause burns and burnt spots. The plant does not like temperatures below 5°C so it needs to be placed indoors in the coldest periods. Too low temperatures can cause the stem or leaves to break due to water freezing inside the tissues. Temperatures between 10 and 15 °C allow the plants to enter vegetative rest which is essential for the flowering of the following year. Plants should not be placed inside the house where average temperatures of 20 degrees prevent vegetative rest. The soil should be a well-draining and porous soil, so you can use a standard cactus soil or a mix of fertile soil and sand. The pumice should always be placed on the bottom of the pot. Remember to use a perforating pot to drain excess water. Watering can be done regularly during the vegetative period. During the vegetative period you can water the plant every 5 days with half a glass of water, checking that the soil is completely dry before watering again; in winter you should stop the watering to allow the plant to enter dormancy. Decrease the amount of water if the plant is kept indoors or if the pot is smaller than 12 cm. The plant must be fed with a high potassium fertilizer in the summer. You can dilute the fertilizer twice a month in the irrigation water. 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; it is usually done every 3-4 years. Be careful to red spiders and mealy bugs.
Propagation is usually done by seed. By seed it is very simple to propagate the plant, it is enough to sow the seed in a sandy loam and keep it with a high level of humidity and at temperature of 21 C°. The seeds will germinate in spring in 2 weeks; when the plant will be rooted don’t exposed them to direct sunlight.
The name of this genus was obtained by anagramming the word Bolivia, the state from which most of this species comes from. Today it is considered part of the vast Echinopsis genus.
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