Mammillaria gracilis cv. Arizona Snow


Cactus gracilis
Cactus pulchellus
Cactus regius
Cactus vetulus
Chilita fragilis
Chilita vetula
Escobariopsis gracilis
Escobariopsis vetula
Mammillaria gracilis var. fragilis
Mammillaria gracilis var. pulchella
Mammillaria vetula
Mammillaria grandiflora
Mammillaria kuentziana
Mammillaria pulchella
Mammillaria regia
Mammillaria vetula subsp. gracilis
Neomammillaria fragilis
Neomammillaria vetula


Mammillaria gracilis is native to Mexico Gulf and Mexico Northeast. Mammillaria gracilis cv. Arizona Snow has garden origin.


Mammillaria gracilis cv. Arizona Snow is a small cactus belonging to the Cactaceae botanical family. The cv. Arizona Snow is quite similar to the cv. Oruga. The cactus has a branched habit and can reach up to 8 cm in height and 3 cm in diameter. The stem is globose to cylindrical, dark green in color, made of prominent, nipple-shaped tubercles. The plant offsets abundantly from sides and this give it a snowball appearance. At the top of the tubercles are located the areoles. The areoles are white, large and woolly and bear the spines. The spines are short, thick and numerous and cover almost the entire surface of the plant. Blooming occurs from the early spring to the late summer and blossom are borne at the apex of the stem. The flowering is not abundant and the flower are arranged in a circle at the apex of the stem, forming a crown of flowers. The flowers are bell-shaped, creamy yellow to pinkish with a brownish mid stripe on the numerous petals. This cactus is very different from Mammillaria gracilis for the shape, size and for the number and arrangement of the spines.


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 5° 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. 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. The species name “gracilis”, probably refers instead to the thimble-shaped stems of this cacti that tend to detach easily and put roots in spring and Summer, to reproduce the species. The cultivar name refers to the spines which resemble tiny snowballs.

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