Sulcorebutia heliosa


Aylostera condorensis
Aylostera heliosa
Aylostera heliosa subsp. cajasensis
Aylostera heliosa subsp. condorensis
Rebutia heliosa var. cajasensis
Rebutia heliosa var. condorensis


Sulcorebutia heliosa is native to Bolivia where the plant grows on arid mountain areas and can spread up to 3000 m of altitude.


Sulcorebutia heliosa is small succulent belonging to the Cactaceae botanical family. The plant forms a clustering mound of tiny heads and can reach up to 3 cm in height and 2 cm in diameter. The stem is short, globular to oval, with the apex depressed and dark green in color. The areoles are small, brownish to greyish, very numerous and cover all the surface of the plant. The spines are inserted on the areoles and the central spines are absent and the 24-26 radial spines are short, spreading laterally, silvery-white in color. The roots are big, fleshy, conical and taproot. Blooming occurs in early summer and blossom are borne near the apex of the stem. This plant blooms once it reaches 2 or 3 years of age. The flowers are funnel-shaped, covered outside and inside with greyish woolly and they are made of many petals. The flowers can take on bright yellow to bright red colors but rarely the flowers are white; the stamens are yellow and are located at the center of the flower. The flowering lasts for 3-4 days. The small purple to magenta fruits contains tiny black seeds.


This is a slow growing plant, easy to cultivate. The plant needs a full light sun exposure but is recommended to avoid direct sun-light in the hottest periods. The plant does not like temperatures below 0°C so it needs to be placed indoors in the coldest periods. The soil should be mixed with pumice, clay and loam to allow the drainage and prevent the root rot, the plant is prone to it indeed. Using a perforating pot, you can drain excess water. Watering is very important for this species and should be done well: during the vegetative period you can water the plant (every 7 days), checking that the soil is completely dry before watering again; in winter you should stop the watering to allow the plant to enter dormancy. About fertilization, for this plant is sufficient to fertilize moderately during the growing season with the specific fertilizers for succulents and stop fertilizing during the winter. You should repot the plant every 2 years in a pot 2 cm wider. Repotting should be done early in the growing season with fresh new potting soil. Be careful to red spiders and mealy bugs.


Propagation can be done by cutting or by seed. By cutting you can make the cut during the spring and then let the cutting 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. 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 soil and keep it with a high level of humidity and at temperature of 14 C°.


Sulcorebutia, along with other types of cactaceae, has recently been aggregated into the Rebutia genus. The genus was named after Pierre Rebut (1828–1902), a French cactus nurseryman. The specific epithet “heliosa” comes from the Greek and means sun and refers to the arrangement of the spines that resemble the sun’s rays.

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