Echinopsis pentlandii var. albiflora
Echinopsis pentlandii subsp. hardeniana
Echinopsis pentlandii subsp. larae
Echinopsis pentlandii var. longispina
Echinopsis pentlandii var. maximiliana
Echinopsis pentlandii var. ochroleuca
Echinopsis pentlandii var. tuberculata
Echinopsis pentlandii var. vitellina
Lobivia pentlandii f. hardeniana
Lobivia pentlandii var. larae
Lobivia pentlandii is native to an area extending in Bolivia Peru. Its habitat are the great Andean plateaus, at altitudes of 3500 to 4200 meters above the sea level, where this species grows in rocky slopes, ridges and outcrops of different mineral composition, ranging from granite to sandstone, to conglomerate. Though its extremely severe native habitat, this species is rather common in cultivation. Nevertheless, it is listed in the appendix 2 of the CITES convention. CITES (shorter name for the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora, also known as the Washington Convention) is a multilateral treaty to protect endangered species of plants and animals. The Appendix II, in particular, lists “all species which although not necessarily now threatened with extinction may become so unless trade in specimens of such species is subject to strict regulation”.
Lobivia pentlandii is one of the most common speecies of its genus in cultivation. Many cacti lovers have had it as one of their first acquisitions: it is in fact very easy to grow but very rewarding at the same time, having a fast growth rate and flowering at an early age, with very colorful and decorative blooms. It is a dwarf cactus, with a single stem at the beginning, that starts branch from the very base to form small clusters. Its stem is thick, taller than broad, 20-35 centimeters depending on the individual. Lobivia pentlandii is in fact a rather variable species: it has many different forms that have earned it a confusing range of synonyms and different names. The stem is divided into 12 to 15 ribs, crenate (that, in botany, means “with a rounded, scalloped edge”) and strewn with short spines, arranged in bunches on the upper part of the ribs. The areoles (which are the typical buds of the Cactaceae family, that differentiate the spines), are instead white, around 0.5 centimeters broad, and felted. Spines, instead are variable depending on the individual, usually all radial, of different thickness and colours, ranging from white, thin ones to brown, tough, thicker and hooked others depending on the clone. In Spring, this species show its gorgeous blooming: diurnal, funnel-shaped, 5 centimeters broad flowers sprout at the top of the stem. They are variable in colour: from pink, to reddish brown or yellow or purplish, depending on the individual, with a paler center and a greenish tube, 1 centimeter in diameter. Blossomings last about three days, but many flowers are produced during the season. Another remarkable feature of this species are also the roots: propund taproots that allow them to exploit as more as possible the soil water and survive in its extremely tough native habitat.
Lobivia pentlandii is not difficult to grow.
Here below are some tips:
Lobivia requires full sun. If grown outdoors, provide it with a spot exposed to direct sunlight or either with some afternoon shade. Indoors, instead, it will need plenty of direct light.
It is quite frost hardy, if it stays completely dry in Winter. It survives down to -5ºC or even -10ºC if it stays extremely dry. In cultivation conditions, however, we advise to avoid temperatures colder than 0ºCol and dry place, always getting plenty of light. It should never go down, however, at temperatures below 10 ° C.
Water regularly during the flowering period, waiting for the soil to dry up completely before each irrigation. During the winter, suspend completely any watering.
Though Lobivias are usually easy to grow, this species is particularly sensitive to rot, and will need a very well-drained substrate. Choose a standard soil for cacti and add some acidic material, if you can: some peat will do good.
Fertilize just once during the growth season with a product specific for cacti, diluting it in water at half the dose recommended on the label.
Repot once a year to provide fresh soil and stop watering for a week after the repotting. Choose deep, large pots to host its big root systems.
Propagation can be carried out through seeds and cuttings, to be taken off during the summer. Also, lateral suckers can be easily used as cuttings through simply placing them directly into the growing substrate.
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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