Matucana polzii


Matucana aurantiaca subsp. polzii


Matucana polzii is native to Peru where the plant can spread up to 2300 m of altitude.


Matucana polzii is a small cactus belonging to the Cactaceae botanical. The plant has a clustering habit and can reach up to 5 cm in height and 10 cm in diameter. The plant offsets strongly and can from a cushion up to 40 cm in diameter with hundreds of heads. The stem is spherical, grass-green in color, arranged in 9-16 ribs with transverse grooves. The areoles are small, oval, woolly with white greyish hairs. The 1-3 central spines are straight, flexible, whitish to brownish-yellow with dark tips. The 6-12 radial spines are similar to the central ones but mostly yellowish-white. Matucana is not a very flowering plant but when occurs the blossoms are borne at the apex of the stem. The flowers are showy, beautiful, funnel-shaped, dark carmine red to range in color, up to 7 cm tall and 5 cm in diameter. The fruits are oval, purplish-brown.


This is a slow growing plant, easy to cultivate. The plant needs a bright exposure, indirect sun-light, this will help development of flower buds. Long exposure to direct sun-light can cause burns and burnt spots. The minimum temperatures that the plant can withstand are 7° C, below this temperature it begins to suffer and going down further it no longer survives. Too low temperatures can cause the stem or leaves to break due to water freezing inside the tissues. Temperatures between 10 and 15 °C allow the plants to enter vegetative rest which is essential for the flowering of the following year. Plants should not be placed inside the house where average temperatures of 20 degrees prevent vegetative rest. The soil should be a well-draining and porous soil, so you can use a standard cactus soil or a mix of fertile soil and sand. The pumice should always be placed on the bottom of the pot. Remember to use a perforating pot to drain excess water. Watering can be done regularly during the vegetative period. Irrigation is proportional to the size of the pot, the position and the season. In Spring and Autumn the plant can be watered with a glass of water every 7-10 days; in summer it can be watered every 3-5 days. Decrease the amount of water if the plant is kept indoors or if the pot is smaller than 12 cm. About fertilization, for this plant is sufficient to fertilize moderately during the growing season with the specific fertilizers for succulents and stop fertilizing during 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; it is usually done every 3-4 years. Be careful to red spiders and mealy bugs.


Propagation can be done by cutting or by seed. By cutting you can use the offsets during the spring. Cut an offset and then let it 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. It is advisable to use rooting hormone at the base of the cut to energize root development. 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 and keep it with a high level of humidity and at temperature of 14 C°.


It takes its name from the city of Matucana, Peru, in the area where they developed and then spread throughout South America. This species was given this name by Frank Polz (fl. 1986), German cactus and succulent plant enthusiast in München.

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