Mammillaria boolii is native to Sonora and Mexico where the plant rows on rocky soils and can spread up to 300 m of altitude.
Mammillaria boolii is a small perennial cactus belonging to the Cactaceae botanical family. The cactus has a forming clumps habit and can reach up to 8 cm in height and 5 cm in diameter. The stem is globose to spherical, grey-green in color, made of prominent, depressed conical tubercles. At the top of the tubercles are located the areoles. The areoles are small, white, scarcely woolly and bear the spines. The spines are long, thin, straight, needle-like, whitish to yellowish in color. Blooming occurs from the early spring to the late summer and the blossoms are borne at the apex of the stem in a ring, forming a crown of flowers. The flowers are funnel-shaped, pinkish with white stripes and yellow stamens at the center of the tube. The fruits are globose, red containing brownish seeds.
This is a slow growing plant, quite difficult 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 5°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°.
The name of the genus come from the Latin word ‘Mammilla’ that means ‘teat’ or ‘nipple’ and refers to the numerous, nipple-shaped tubercles of their stem, that are the distinctive feature of this genus.
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