Mammillaria deherdtiana


Mammillaria deherdtiana subsp. deherdtiana


Mammillaria deherdtiana is native to South-western Mexico, in particular to Oaxaca, in a region between Nejaba, Juquila, Mixes. Its habitat is very peculiar: this cacti grows, in fact, on moss, humid patches on big rocks, directly exposed to sunlight. This species is often associated with other succulents such as Agave lophanta and Tillansia pueblensis.


Mammillaria deherdtiana is a dwarf globose plant with a solitary growth habit, consisting usually in a single, almost spherical stem that doesn’t exceed 5 centimeters in height and 5 in width. Like all Mammillarias, the stems of M. deherdtiana is furrowed with tubercles. In this species in particular, the tubercles are conical and elongated, around 2 centimeters long, and they are arranged in a spiral-like structure on the stem. Inside the tubercles, as in many species of Mammillaria, a kind of sap is produced: in M. deherdtiana it is very watery and translucent. At the top of every tubercle there is an areole. The areoles are the typical buds of cacti: from them, the spines sprout. In M. deherdtiana, the areoles have a very peculiar, elongated shape: they are, in fact, obovate, longer than wide, and they are covered in a white felt. From each areole, 21 to 42 spines grow: 20 or more are arranged radially, are needle-like, yellow but turning white as they age and slightly curved outwards; and 1 to 6 are the central spines, which are instead fine, erect, brown to red or yellow, up to 8 millimeters in length. Central spine might be sometimes absent. Flowers, very fleshy and decorative, form an apical crown on the stem and are funnel-shaped, as in all Mammillarias. The flower tubes are very slender, reaching two centimeters in length, and they then divide into many, lanceolate, pink to lilac-colored, numerous petals depending on the species. Also the central part of the flower, filled with very numerous and crowded yellow stamens, is very beautiful and, in its natural habitat, attract numerous impollinators. The gorgeous flowers, along with its small dimension and its tiny, globose stems, make this plant very sought after by succulent collectors.


M. deherdtiana a rare species either in nature and in cultivation. It’s usually difficult to grow on its own roots because is very prone to root rot and very slow growing. Often, this plant is found grafted on more tough species. Grafted individuals are further more tough and easy to cultivate. Here below are our cultivation tips:

M. deherdtiana needs plenty of light: if you place it indoors, choose a spot exposed to direct sunlight. Under an insufficient amount of light, it can take unnatural forms or can experiment growth problems.
Mammillaria deherdtiana enjoys warm climates: keep it at temperatures above 5ºC. However, in theory, if its substrate is kept completely dry, it can resist to temperatures down to -5ºC. By the way, to stay safe, we advice to put it indoors during the cold season or to shelter it, especially providing protection from Winter rains.
Provide this plant with a good ventilation: place it exposed to air drafts.
Water moderately during the growth season and be extremely careful, as this plant is very sensitive to root rot. To reduce the risk of rotting, wait always
In Winter, keep its substrate completely dry.
Mammillaria deherdtiana requires a very well-draining substrate, but with an organic part more abundant than usual. A standard mix for cacti will do good, with some sphagnum or crushed pine bark.
During the summer, fertilize once with a product specific for cacti, rich in potassium and poor in nitrogen. Use a shallow pot to host its fibrous roots
Mammillaria deherdtiana stays small and doesn’t need to be repotted frequently. 


Propagation can be carried out either through sowing and cuttings. Seeds must be placed on the surface of a sandy and humid soil at about 20 ° C. Some species produce lateral suckers that can be cut and used as good cuttings. It is the case of M. deherdtiana it will form dense clumps in a very few years and it can be propagated very easily through cuttings. When your M. deherdtiana gets old and you see it’s sufficiently clustered, you can start to take off cuttings in spring and summer by cutting off the stem with a sharp knife. Put the cut branch in a warm place for around a week to let the wound dry up and then plant it in a pot filled with some cactus potting mix. It’s important to create a superficial layer of coarse grit and to lie the cutting on it: it prevents the wound to become too wet. If you choose sowing as a method of propagation, remember that seeds usually germinate in 8-13 days at temperatures of 21-27ºC. They should be placed in a light substrate and maintained slightly moist and covered with a glass until they germinate.


This genus owes this name to the tubercles of the stems, which look like nipple. The word “Mammillaria”, in facts, refers to the latin word “mammilla”, meaning “nipple”.

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