Mammillaria pringlei f. crestata


Cactus pringlei
Mammillaria rhodantha subsp. pringlei
Neomammillaria pringlei
Mammillaria parensis
Mammillaria pringlei var. columnaris
Mammillaria pringlei var. longicentra


Mammillaria pringlei f. crestata, like its non-crested counterpart, is native to Mexico. It typically thrives in arid and semi-arid environments, often found in rocky or sandy soils. This habitat is characterized by limited water, intense sunlight, and a distinct diurnal temperature variation. The crested form arises due to a mutation and is highly prized in cultivation for its unique appearance.


Mammillaria pringlei f. crestata is a fascinating and visually striking form within the genus Mammillaria, belonging to the Cactaceae family. Unlike the typical columnar growth of Mammillaria pringlei, the crested form develops in a wavy, fan-shaped pattern. This unusual growth is due to a mutation in the apical meristem of the plant, causing it to grow laterally rather than vertically. The crest can vary in width and shape, often forming intricate, undulating patterns. The plant is characterized by dense, spirally arranged tubercles, which are nipple-like projections from which spines emerge. In the crested form, these tubercles are more compacted and can create a stunning textural effect. The spines are typically white or yellowish, with some central spines being slightly longer and more pronounced. Mammillaria pringlei f. crestata rarely flowers, a common trait among crested cacti. When it does bloom, the flowers are small, funnel-shaped, and can range in color from pale pink to deep carmine. These blooms usually appear in a ring near the top of the crest during the spring and early summer. The crested form, due to its irregular growth, can vary significantly in size, but it generally remains compact, making it an ideal specimen for container cultivation.


Cultivating Mammillaria pringlei f. crestata requires a bit more attention compared to standard cacti due to its unique growth form. It prefers bright light but should be protected from intense midday sun, which can cause scorching. A location with morning sun and afternoon shade is ideal. This cactus needs a well-draining soil mix, typical for cacti, composed of a blend of potting soil, coarse sand, and perlite or pumice. Good drainage is crucial to avoid root rot. Watering should be regular during the growing season (spring and summer), allowing the soil to dry out completely between waterings. In winter, reduce watering significantly to prevent rot in cooler temperatures. Mammillaria pringlei f. crestata is not frost-tolerant and should be kept at temperatures above 5°C. In colder climates, it is best grown indoors or in a greenhouse during the winter months. Fertilization can be done during the growing season with a diluted, low-nitrogen cactus fertilizer. This should be applied once a month to support healthy growth without encouraging rapid, uncontrolled growth that could distort the crest. Due to its slow growth and unique form, repotting is only necessary every few years. When repotting, handle the plant with care to avoid damaging the delicate crest.


Propagation of Mammillaria pringlei f. crestata is primarily done through offsets, as crested forms rarely produce viable seeds. Offsets can sometimes form at the base or along the sides of the crest. These can be carefully removed and allowed to dry for a few days to form a callous over the cut surface. They can then be planted in a well-draining cactus mix. Since the crested form is a mutation, not all offsets will necessarily exhibit the crested characteristic. Propagation success can vary, and patience is often required.


The crested form of Mammillaria pringlei is a result of a rare mutation, making each plant unique. These mutations cause the cactus to grow in fascinating, unpredictable patterns, which are highly prized by collectors. The cresting can sometimes lead to unusual and striking formations, making each specimen a one-of-a-kind natural sculpture.

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