Maihueniopsis glomerata


Cactus horizontalis
Cactus ovatus
Maihueniopsis ovallei
Opuntia andicola var. major
Opuntia chilensis
Opuntia gilliesii
Opuntia glomerata
Opuntia ovallei
Opuntia ovata
Opuntia platyacantha var. gracilior
Opuntia russellii
Opuntia wetmorei
Tephrocactus glomeratus
Tephrocactus neoglomeratus
Tephrocactus russellii
Tephrocactus atacamensis var. chilensis
Tephrocactus chilensis


Maihueniopsis glomerata thrives in arid, rocky environments, predominantly found in the high-altitude regions of Argentina and Chile. It has adapted to survive in extreme conditions, including intense sunlight, scarce water, and poor soil quality. Its natural habitat is characterized by significant temperature fluctuations, ranging from very hot days to freezing nights.


Maihueniopsis glomerata, a member of the Cactaceae family, is a unique and intriguing species native to South America. This plant typically exhibits a compact, globular to slightly elongated form, growing predominantly in clusters. These clusters can sometimes cover extensive areas, forming impressive mats on the ground. The plant’s surface is characteristically covered with areoles, from which emerge small, sharp spines. These spines are a defining feature of Maihueniopsis glomerata, serving multiple functions: they act as a deterrent to herbivores, minimize water loss by reducing airflow close to the cactus surface, and provide some shade to the plant, reducing the impact of the intense sun. The coloration of Maihueniopsis glomerata ranges from green to a blue-green hue, often with a slightly glaucous appearance. This coloration helps in reflecting sunlight and reducing water loss, which is critical for survival in its native arid conditions. The plant produces small, yet vibrant, yellow flowers that contrast beautifully with its greenish body. These flowers generally bloom in the summer months, depending on the specific climate conditions of the area. The flowers are bell-shaped and can attract a variety of pollinators, playing a crucial role in the plant’s reproductive cycle. Following pollination, the plant produces small fruits that are generally dry and contain tiny seeds. Due to its unique appearance and low maintenance requirements, it has become a popular choice for rock gardens and as a houseplant in colder climates.


The plant has a slow growth rate but it easy to cultivate. The best sun-exposure is in bright place 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 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. Using a perforating pot, you can 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. 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. 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. While generally resilient, this cactus can be susceptible to pests like mealybugs and fungal diseases if overwatered.


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°.


In its native habitat, Maihueniopsis glomerata plays a crucial role in the ecosystem. It provides shelter and food for various insects and small animals. The plant is also an integral part of the soil stabilization process in these arid regions, helping to prevent soil erosion.

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