Mammillaria gracilis cv. oruga


No synonyms are recorded for this species name.


M. gracilis cv. oruga is a nursery-produced cultivar and doesn’t exist in nature. However, M. gracilis, in general, comes from Eastern Mexico, in particular from Hidalgo and Queretaro, where it grows on arid plains in sandy soils, under taller shrubs or exposed to direct sunlight, at variable altitudes.


Mammillaria gracilis cv. oruga is a beautiful cultivar of M. gracilis, very different from the regular M. gracilis: though it forms a cluster of stems very similar to the one of the standard M. gracilis, the single stems are very different. They colour, fisrt of all, is much darker, very different from the bright green of M. gracilis. The tubercles, moreover, are much more elongated, prominent and nipple-shaped, and are arranged in lines on the stems, unlike the ones of the regular form that are organized in spirals and are more rounded, less prominent. The most striking difference, however, lies in the spines: the cv. Oruga, in fact, doesn’t have spines. At the top of the tubercles, instead, soft, fluffy, white hairs grow, giving the impression of woolly buttons. Some tubercles have also spared white spines.
Flowers are solitary and appear at the top of the stems in late Spring or Summer. They have numerous, elongated petals, are pinkish-white or creamy, and bloom during the day.


M. gracilis cv. oruga is not so difficult to grow. Here below are our cultivation tips:

Put it in a bright spot, exposed to direct sunlight, with the possible exception of the hottest hours of Summer days (however it will tolerate either intense sunlight and partial shade).
It can stand frosts (down to -4ÂșC), if its substrate is maintained completely dry during the Winter. However, to stay safe, it’s better to keep it indoors.
Water sparingly during Spring and Summer, always waiting for the soil to dry up completely before each watering. In Winter, waterings should be completely suspended, to avoid root rotting.
Choose a very well-draining substrate, with a abundant mineral part. A standard soil for cacti will do good, even better if further enriched with inert materials such as pumice, sand or lapilli.
This cacti, unlike other Mammillarias, is slow-growing. Once estabilished, it will stay in its same soil and pot for years. While still growing however, we suggest to repot it every year in order to make it reach its optimal dimension.
It doesn’t need frequent fertilizations, it is sufficient to dilute the fertilizer with watering once a year.


The propagation of this cacti can be carried out either by cutting or by seeds. Cutting is further more used as a reproduction method. The thible-shaped stem are easy detachable and, often, in fact, in Spring and Summer, some of them detach on their own and put roots.


Mammillaria is one of the largest species of cactacea and groups many species. Their name, “Mammillaria”, comes from the Latin word “Mammilla”, meaning “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.

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