Mammillaria microhelia


Krainzia microhelia
Leptocladia microhelia
Leptocladia microheliopsis
Leptocladodia microhelia
Leptocladodia microhelia f. microheliopsis
Leptocladodia microheliopsis
Mammillaria droegeana
Mammillaria microhelia var. microheliopsis
Mammillaria microheliopsis
Mammillaria rhodantha var. droegeana
Neomammillaria microhelia
Neomammillaria microhelia var. microheliopsis


Mammillaria microhelia is native to Mexico Northeast where the plant grows on rocky soils and deciduous oak forest and can spread up to 2600 m of altitude.


Mammillaria microhelia is a perennial cactus belonging to the Cactaceae botanical family. The cactus has both solitary or forming clumps habit and can reach up to 15 cm in height and 6 cm in diameter. The stem is columnar to cylindrical, dark green in color, made of prominent, conical tubercles arranged in 8-13 spirals. At the top of the tubercles are located the areoles. The areoles are small, white and woolly and bear the spines. The 1-4 central spine are stout, straight, needle-like, 1 cm long and reddish to brownish in color. The 30-50 radial spines are up to 5 mm long, thin, radiating and yellowish to golden in color. Blooming occurs from the early spring to the late summer and blossom are borne at the apex of the stem in a ring, forming a crown of flowers. The flowers are bell-shaped, pale pink to magenta or sometimes yellowish-green with yellow stamens at the center of the tube and pointed petals. The fruits are club-shaped, green to pink in color containing brown seeds.


This is a slow growing plant, easy to cultivate. The plant needs a full light sun exposure but is recommended to avoid direct sun-light in the hottest periods. The plant does not like temperatures below 5°C so it needs to be placed indoors in the coldest periods. The soil should be mixed with pumice, clay and loam to allow the drainage and prevent the root rot, the plant is prone to it indeed. Remember to use a perforating pot to drain excess water. Watering can be done regularly in Spring and Summer: 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. If you want a faster and lush growth you can fertilize the plant once a month during the growing season with the specific fertilizers for succulents; stop fertilizing throughout the winter. If the pot starts to be too small for the plant you can repot the plant 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 specific epithet “microhelia” comes from the Greek and means “small sun” and refers to the arrangement of the spines that resemble the sun’s rays.

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