Notocactus leninghausii is native to Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil where the plant grows in hilly grassland and on walls between cracks in the rocks and occurs at high altitude, up to 1300 m above sea levels.
Notocactus leninghausii is one of the most appreciated cactus for its colours and for its flowers. The plant has a solitary habit when young and branches from the base in age. The sizes are quite large but it is always possible to cultivate inside: the stem can reach up to 1 m in height and 12 cm in diameter. The stem is thick, cylindrical, bright green, formed by about 30 slightly spiralled ribs. Along the ribs are inserted white and woolly areoles. The areoles are the typical buds of the Cactaceae from which originate branches, spines and flowers. The spines are harmless, bristle-like and golden and for this reason the plant resemble Echinocactus Grusonii. Blooming occurs during the spring only in individual that reach at least 20 cm in height and 5 years old but the splendid flowering will make up for the wait. The blossoms are borne at the crown of the stem. The flowers are large up to 6 cm in diameter, showy, funnel-shaped, with petals ranging from creamy white to bright lemon yellow and white to yellow stamens. This wonderful cactus, shining with a unique reflection in the petals, is perfect to give to beauty and color to your office and home.
This is a fast growing plant, easy to cultivate. For this succulent the best exposure is direct sunlight, so you can place it outdoors but be careful in the hottest days. Long exposure to direct sun-light can cause burns and burnt spots. The succulent can tolerate temperatures to 45° C, and short periods of frost, but prolonged cold will damage or kill the plant. 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 best draining soil for this genus is made up of 40% fertile loam, 40% pumice and 20% coarse 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. In Spring and Autumn, the plant can be watered with half a glass of water every week; in summer it can be watered with two glasses of water a week; in winter stop the watering to allow the plant to enter dormancy. 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 summer with the specific fertilizers for cacti 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 2-3 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°.
Its name reflects its geographical area of distribution, that is further south than the one of many other cacti, which usually come from central part of the Americas. In fact, the Greek word ‘nòtos’ means southern.
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