Mammillaria densispina

Synonyms:

Cactus densispinus
Krainzia densispina
Leptocladia densispina
Neomammillaria densispina

Habitat:

Mammillaria densispina is native to Mexico, in particular, it is widespread in San Luis Potosi, Guanajuato, Jalisco, Aguascalientes, Durango, Queretaro, and Zacatecas, where it grows at high altitudes (from 1700 to 3000 meters above the sea level), in oak foresta on volcanic soils, in rocky soils, along with many other succulent and cacti species.

Description:

Mammillaria densispina is a solitary, tiny cacti, densely covered in spines. It has usually a single stem and doesn’t cluster, nor branch, unlike other Mammillarias. Its globose stem reach a maximum diameter of 10 centimeters and a height of 12 centimeters. It’s dark green, however the dense layer of spines make it almost invisible. Like every Mammillaria, M. densispina has numerous conical tubercles. At the top of each one, from a woolly, fluffy areole, a bunch of white spines grow. The areole is the typical bud of cacti: it usually shows itself as a white, woolly button, from which the spines sprout. In M. densispina, spines are arranged in 20 to 25 radial ones, usually white, yellow, or pale brownish, very slender, almost needle-like, around 1 centimeters long, and in 5-6 central ones, straight, yellow pointed in brown, bulbous at the base. Flowers are funnel-shaped, yellow, orange or purple, up to 20 millimeters long and growing solitary at the top of the stems. They finally end up to form elongated, greenish pink fruits.

Cultivation:

M. densispina is not so difficult to grow. Here below are our cultivation tips:

M. densispina needs plenty of light: if you place it indoors, choose a spot exposed to direct sunlight. If, instead, you choose to place it outside, provide some shade, at least during the hottest hours of summer days. Don’t move it too harshly from shade to full sun: it may remain sunburnt.
Mammillaria densispina needs a rest period exposed to cold temperatures, to carry out a healthy blooming. If its substrate is kept completely dry, it resists 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. Also, it requires strong light and a good airflows; a good idea could be to place it exposed to air drafts.
Water moderately from spring to autumn and regularly in summer. Also during the hottest period of the year, however, wait always for the soil to dry up completely before each watering, as this plant is subsceptible to rot. During the winter, suspend completely any irrigation.
Mammillaria densispina requires a very well-draining substrate, with an abundant mineral part. A standard mix for cacti will do good. Some perlite or pumice could be either added.
During the summer, fertilize once with a product specific for cacti, rich in potassium and poor in nitrogen.
Mammillaria densispina, unlike other Mammillarias, is slow-growing: you can also repot once every two years. Use the smallest diameter pot that can host the plant. 

Propagation:

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. decipiens it will form dense clumps in a very few years and it can be propagated very easily through cuttings. When your M. decipiens 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.

Curiosity:

The genus Mammillaria takes this name from the nipple-like tubercles present on the stems of any plant of this genus.

Official Web Site:
www.giromagi.com

Italian Blog:
www.giromagicactus.com

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