Mammillaria pseudoperbella is officially a synonym of the name “Mammillaria perbella”. However, as several nurseries still sell this species with its name “pseudoperbella”. It’s actually very difficult to distinguish the two plants, and this is only a formal, taxonomic division. The species named as “M. pseudoperbella” is also called “M. perbella lanata” and should have white flowers with a central, pink stripe, blooming in April-May, while the actual “M. perbella” has pink, almost lilac-coloured flowers that appear later, during the Summer. Also, the spines are different: in M. pseudoperbella the radial spines are softer and more numerous (20-30 each areole) and there’s some white, woolly hair between the tubercles; while, in M. perbella, thorns are fewer and more stout and there’s no (or little) wool.
Mammillaria pseudoperbella is native to central Mexico, where it’s widely widespread: it can be found in an area going from the state of Querétaro to the one of Oaxaca to the Pacific coast. This plant grows among the rocks in crevices of limestone slopes, filled with humus soil, at altitudes between 1450 to 2850 meters above the sea level.
M. pseudoperbella is a little, solitary cacti, reaching a maximum height of 20 centimeters and a maximum diameter of 8 centimeters. It rarely branches, always following a dichotomous pattern. The stem is globose at the beginning and becomes cylindrical as the plant ages, with its tip wider than the base and with a central, slightly pronounced depression. As in all Mammillarias, the stem is furrowed with numerous tubercles which, in this species in particular, are small (less than 1 centimeter long and 2 millimeters in width) and slightly conical. From the point of these tubercles, the spines grow arranged in 20 – 30 radial ones, white and very short (1-3 millimeters), pointing laterally and forming a star-like pattern, at the center of which 1-2 thorns, more yellowish and thick, grow, pointing outwards from the stem. This spines arrangement results in a white net of spines, intricate and attractive, that adds a remarkable decorative potential to this Mammillaria.
Flowers, as in all Mammillaria, are very attractive. They are solitary, and sprout at the top of the stem in a circular, crown-like structure, that adds further decorative potential to the species. When they wither, they give birth to pinkish-red fruits, club-shaped and also very decorative, similar to small chilli peppers and hosting brown, little seeds, 1 millimeters wide.
M. pseudoperbella easy to cultivate but you’ll need some patience, as it is rather slow-growing. Here below are our cultivation tips:
M. pseudoperbella needs plenty of sunlight and can grow in a fully exposed positions.
Mammillaria pseudoperbella can resist to extremely cold temperatures if its substrate stays completely dry (down to -12ºC!). However, to stay safe, we suggest to keep it at temperatures above at least 5ºC, and to keep it away from Winter rains.
Provide this plant with a good ventilation: place it exposed to air drafts. During the rest period it shouldn’t be exposed to atmospheric humidity.
Water moderately during the growth season and be extremely careful, as this plant is very sensitive to root rot. To reduce the risk of rotting, wait always for the soil to dry up completely before every irrigation. In Winter, keep its substrate completely dry.
Mammillaria pseudoperbella requires a very well-draining substrate, without any peat or humus: a standard cactus mix will do good, even better if the mineral part is enhanced.
During the summer, fertilize once with a product specific for cacti, rich in potassium and phosphorus and poor in nitrogen. Nitrogen makes the stem of these plants too watery and fragile and enhances the risk of rotting.
M. pseudoperbella is rather slow-growing. However, frequent repottings protect the base of the stem from lignification, to which this species has a particular tendency. Lignification is not a big problem in itself, but can worsen the aesthetic appearance of the plant.
Propagation can be carried out only through sowing. Seeds must be placed on the surface of a sandy and humid soil at about 20 ° C. 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. Don’t expose young plants to too intense sunlight.
Sometimes, old plants branching dichotomously form distinct joints that, in theory, could be detatched and used as cuttings. By the way, we advise not to do so, as the detaching of the branch can be fatal to the mother plant.
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