Mammillaria laui


Escobariopsis laui subs. dasyacantha
Mammillaria laui f. dasyacantha
Mammillaria subducta var. dasyacantha


Mammillaria laui is native to Mexico, in particular it is widespread in a area between Ciudad Victoria and Jaumave, Tamaulipas. Its habitat ranges from 800 to 1400 meters above the sea level, where it grows among the rocks, sometimes under other bushes or succulent trees.


Mammillaria laui is a low-growing cacti that forms a cluster of globose or oblong stems, that don’t exceed a height of 6 centimeters and a width of 4.5 centimeters. Like in every Mammillaria, the stem of M. laui is furrowed by numerous, oblong tubercles that earned the genus its name, being similar to many nipples. In the case of M. laui, the tubercles are cylindrical and almost naked or either slightly woolly. From the tubercles, the spines sprout. They are arranged, as usual in Mammillarias, in many white radial spines (up to 60 or more), lined in many layers and more similar to hairs, rather than to thorns, up to 9 millimeters in length; and about 12 central spines, more yellowish and long (up to 10 millimeters in length), that point outwards. The little flowers (1,5 centimeters long and 1 centimeter wide), sprout at the top of the stems, forming a crown-like structure. They range from pink to orange in colour, and give birth to cylindrical or club-shaped fruits, that becomw pale pink or either whitish and host small, black seeds.


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

If you place your M. laui 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 laui is quite cold resistant. 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, to reach a minimum temperature of 5ºC. Also, it requires strong light and a good airflow in Winter; 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 laui requires a very well-draining substrate, with an abundant mineral part and a little organic matter. 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 laui needs to be repotted every 2-3 years. Use the smallest diameter pot that can host the plant and, if possible, choose a porpus pot to enhance drainage (for example, a clay pot).


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. laui it will form dense clumps in a very few years and it can be propagated very easily through cuttings. When your M. laui gets old and you see it’s clustered, you can start to take off cuttings in spring and summer by cutting off the stem with a sharp knife. Remember that clusters put root if exposed at a temperature of 20ºC. 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.


The genus Mammillaria takes this name from the nipple-like tubercles present on the stems of any plant of thiis genus. The hooks of this cacti were used as fish hooks by local population!

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