Mediolobivia pygmaea


Aylostera pygmaea
Echinopsis pygmaea
Lobivia pygmaea
Rebutia pygmaea


Mediolobivia pygmaea is native to Argentina and Bolivia, where it can be found at high altitudes: from 2950 to 4300 meters above the sea level. This plant grows on rocky outcrops in grasslands of the Puna region, in a very arid climate area, where it hardly ever rains.


Mediolobivia pygmaea is a small, clumping cacti, extremely variable in appearance, so that it has been given several name and the species classification is still uncertain. It barely rises above ground level, with its stems up to 4 centimeters tall, spherical or slightly cylindrical in shape. The colour of the stem is usually dark green, with purple tinges. Like in any cacti, is it divided into many ribs, about 10, spirally-arranged, with slightly pronounced tubercles. On eache tubercle lies an areole. Areola are the typical bud of the Cactaceae family, that possue the capacity to form spines. In Mediolobivia pygmaea, the areoles are oval, brown to white, felted. Spines growing on each areole are divided into radial ones, pointing in all directions, and central ones, pointing outwards. The radial spines are up to 11 in number, very thin, short (2 millimeters long), brown to white. There is usually just one or none central spine, which is yellowish and up to 2 millimeters long. In late Spring, blossoming starts, from the basal part of the stem going upwards. The colour of the flowers is very variable, as it is the general aspect of this species: from pink, to salmon-orange, to even red. They are funnel-shaped, with a narrow calyx tube, scaled, hairy, very elegant. After withering, flowers turn into spherical to bell-shaped fruits.


Mediolobivia pygmaea is not difficult to grow. Here below are our tips:

Mediolobivia pygmaea enjoys filtered light, in bright spot, though it tolerates weel also direct exposures to intense sunlight. If you place it indoors, a direct exposure is the ideal option. If it stays outdoors, instead, filtered light will do better.
It’s a frost-resistant species: it appreciates a cold winter rest, with temperatures down to -12ºC for short periods. To stay safe, however, we advice to place it indoors during the winter, to avoid the risk of frost damages and rot due to the frequently humid conditions of Winters of temperate climates.
Water regularly in Summer, around once a week, waiting always for the soil to dry up completely before each irrigation. Keep dry in Winter.
Choose a very well-draining soil: a standard cactus mix, slightly acid if possible.
Once a year, provide the plant with a fertilizer specific for cacti, high in Potassium and Phosphorus and poor in Nitrogen.
It is a slow-growing species that tends to stay dwarf, so it won’t require frequent repottings. It will fit in a small pot: repotting once every 1-2 years, just to provide it with fresh soil, will be sufficient. We advise to use porous pots to enhance drainage: clay pots are better than plastic ones.
In cultivation, this plant seems to cluster more and to have a healthier growth attitude than in habitat.


The propagation of Mediolobivia pygmaea is carried out mainly through the division of its offsets in early Spring. After you detach a branch, allow it to dry out in the air for a couple of weeks until a callous is formed on the ope wound, and then lay it on the substrate, partially inserting the base of the stem into it. Keep it upright.
Sowing is also possible: lay down the seeds in Spring in a fine, sandy substrate and put a glass or plastic cover to maintain them at a temperature of 22 to 28ºC. They will take around 7-14 days to germinate.


The genus Mediolobivia is considered by some to be a synonym of Rebutia. However, on the market, many species of Rebutia are still found labeled as “Mediolobivia”.

Official Web Site:

Italian Blog:

Read our advice

Recent Posts

Start typing and press Enter to search