Strombocactus disciformis is native to Mexico Northeast where the plant grows on limestone cliffs and slopes.
Strombocactus disciformis is a rare endangered cactus belonging to the Cactaceae botanical family. The plant has a solitary habit and can reach up to 20 cm in height and 10 cm in diameter. The stem is spherical, made of rhomboid and1 truncate tubercles spirally arranged. The epidermis is glaucous-green to pale green and the spines are inserted at the center of the tubercles. The 4-5 spines are erect, pale grey at the base and dark grey at the tip and are caducous and in age fall at the stem base. The roots are turnip-shape. Blooming occurs from the spring to the summer and the blossoms are borne at the apex of the stem. It takes 10 years for the plant to reach maturity. The flowers are funnel-shaped, creamy yellow with yellow stamens and sometimes with darker spots in the throat.
This is a slow growing plant, quite difficult to cultivate. The plant needs a full light sun exposure but is recommended to avoid direct sun-light during the summer. Long exposure to direct sun-light can cause burns and burnt spots. The minimum temperatures that the plant can withstand are 6-8° C, below this temperature it begins to suffer and going down further it no longer survives. The plant prefers temperatures between 20 and 30 °C. Too low temperatures can cause the stem or leaves to break due to water freezing inside the tissues. 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 alwa1ys 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. The plant must be fed with a high potassium fertilizer in the summer. You can dilute the fertilizer twice a month in the irrigation water. 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 is usually done by seed. Propagation by seed is quite difficult for this species because it is very slow and the seedlings can take up to 2 years to reach the diameter of 1 mm. Sow the seeds in a sandy loam and keep them in warm, humid conditions.
The name Strombocactus comes from the Greek “Strombos” that stands for pine cone, or top, and refers to the shape of the plant.
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