Echinocactus acutissimus var. cristatus
Echinocactus exsculptus var. cristatus
Echinocactus exsculptus var. elatior
Echinocactus exsculptus var. foveolatus
Echinocactus exsculptus var. fulvispinus
Echinocactus exsculptus var. tenuispinus
Echinocactus exsculptus var. thrincogonus
Echinocactus thrincogonus var. elatior
Eriosyce subgibbosa var. castanea
Eriosyce subgibbosa var. litoralis
Neoporteria subgibbosa is native to South America: in particular, it is endemic to a coastal area in Chile, where it grow at elevation up to 300 meters above the sea level in coastal cliffs, hanging from rocks in low, arid scrubs, where the climate is similar to the Mediterrean one. Though it is endemic of that location – which means that it can be found exclusively there – its population is abundant and not threatened apart from by illegal collection and urbanization in tourism areas. This phenomenon, however, don’t have a severe impact on the population of this species.
Neoporteria subgibbosa is a solitary or few-branched cacti, very variable in nature: there are already four recognized subspecies and a lot of synonyms for its latin name. It’s equipped with a solitary stem, globose at the beginning and more elongated – almost cylindrical – as the plant ages. At maturity, it reaches a height of 90 centimeters and a width of 10. Its stem is furrowed into 11 to 22 ribs, irregular and notched with rounded lumps like nipples. The areoles, which are the typical buds of cacti, from which the thorns usually grow, are large and woolly in this species. Spines, instead, are numerous and dense, erect like needles, potentially hurtful if you hit them, and variously coloured: from yellow to grey to almost black. As in many kinds of cacti, they are arranged in groups made of numeous radial spines surrounding a few, central ones. Spines growing on the apical part of the stem are longer than the ones growing laterally. Flowers sprout from early Winter to spring from the top of the stem. Along with its rarity, they are one of the reasons why N. subgibbosa is so sought after by succulent collectors. They have numerous, crowded bright pink petals and a yellow, flashy central part. Fruits, instead, are ovoid, reddish-green, slightly woolly.
Neoporteria subgibbosa is very tough and easy to grow, however very slow-growing.
Here below are our tips of cultivation:
Neoporterias usually shouldn’t be placed under direct sunlight. By the way, N. subgibbosa requires a little more light than its relatives Neoporterias: place it in a bright spot, exposed to filtered light.
In theory, N. subgibbosa can stand temperatures down to a few degrees below 0, if its substrate stays completely dry. Keep the plant above 6-8 °C. In winter, repair it appropriately or shelter it inside. Be careful to protect the plant from moisture.
It’s very important to provide your N. subgibbosa with a good ventilation, especially in winter, as this plant doesn’t bear stagnant air.
Water abundantly but unfrequently in Spring and Summer (around once a week), always making sure that the soil dries up completely before watering again. Suspend any irrigation in winter, unless the plant will face root rot.
Choose a sandy and well-drained soil. A standard substrate for cactaceae will do good, especially if you addsome sand.
Fertilize once a year with a product poor in Nitrogen and rich in Phosphorus.
Being small cacti, they rarely need to be repotted.
Propagation of Neoporterias is usually carried out through sowing. Often, plantlets are also grafted onto more resistant cacti, because non-grafted plant are extremely prone to root rot. Seed should be sown in Spring in a light, areated compost at temperatures of 22-24ºC. While sowing, press lightly the seeds on the substrate without burying them; then cover them with a plastic, transparent sheet to obtain a greenhouse-like effect that serves to maintain the seeds moist and warm until they germinate. Put them in a shaded spot. When the germination starts, gradually remove the plastic sheet while the plantlets develop, always avoiding to expose them to direct light until they are fully developed. Seeds usually take around 10 days to germinate, but they may take longer with lower temperatures. Until the germination occurs, it’s important to maintain the pot always moist, though without exagerating by saturating it too much. Cuttings aren’t usually an option, as this species doesn’t produce suckers.
The genus name “Neoporteria” comes from Carlos E. Porter, a Chilean entomologist. It is not considered an autonomous genus: it was first considered to be part of the Echinocactus, and is now included in the Eriosyce genus.
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