Family: Cactaceae
Habitat: Mexico, especially on the cliffs near the sea
Cultivation: Not particularly difficult, even if they are very slow growth cactus. Choose, a position in full sun, pots that can well fit the robust roots, and water regularly, but parsimony.
Curiosity: The name Strombocactus comes from the Greek “Strombos” that stands for pine cone, or top, and refers to the shape of the plant.


The Strombocactus genus includes very few species that grow on the headlands and cliffs of Mexico, in small areas close to the sea but with elevated altitudes: between 1,000 and 1,600 meters. They are spherical cactus growing isolated, small (up to 20 cm S. disciformis, just over 25 cm S. corregidorae). The stem is green-blue divided by spiral ribs. It has a number of tubercles (not very pronounced) in the center of which there are the areole with generally clear thorns. Remember, in fact, a small pine cone. On the top of the stem is a crown that is covered with white fluff, especially in the older plants; it is on it that the flowers are born. The flowers are funnel-shaped, cream-colored or rosé, sometimes with blanks on the top of the petals. It has sturdy roots, suitable to cling to the almost vertical walls on which they generally live.


Traditionally, only one species of Strombocactus, S. disciformis, was recognized in two different subspecies:

  • S. disciformis disciformis
  • S. disciformis esperanzae (improperly called S. pulcherrimus)

A new species was proposed in 2010, which is distinguished mainly by the larger dimensions of the stem and the thorns:

  • S. corregidorae

This distinction is not yet universally accepted.


Strombocactus is slow growing plants and never reach, however, large in size. Often, to support growth, the plant is grafted onto other types of cactacea.


  • EXPOSURE: Exposure in the sunshine helps to grow healthy and in a compact form.
  • TEMPERATURE: The ideal temperature is around 21-27 ° C. In winter temperatures of up to 6-8 ° C are recommended, though exceptionally an adult plant may survive even at short frosts.
  • WATERING: Water moderately and regularly, once every 3-4 days depending on the weather. As with other cactacees, check that the soil is completely dry before the next watering. Suspend the watering when the temperature drops below 15 ° C.
  • SOIL: It has to be very drained and rich in minerals. You can use a standard ground for cactacea, better if diluted with some fine gravel extra.
  • FERTILIZATION: Given its scarcity of nutrients, just fertilize with a cactus specific product at the beginning of spring.
  • REPOTTING: With slow growth, you do not need to repot often. Choose pots that can easily hold the long root .
  • REPRODUCTION: Perhaps the reason why Strombocactus is rare on the market is its slowness in reproduction, rather than a presumed cultivation difficulty. The plant is reproduced exclusively by seed but the time is really long: for the first 4 years at least, the plant will be tiny (less than 2 cm in diameter, a few millimeters for the first two years!) and very delicate. Bloom will only be seen around the tenth year of age.

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