Cultivation: Uebelmannia are not easy to cultivate. Unlike other cactaceae, in fact, they are tropical plants and need humidity in the air, so in summer they must be steamed regularly, but at the same time they fear root rot.
Curiosity: This genus classified only in the ’60s and owes its name to Werner Uebelmann, a Swiss entrepreneur and nurseryman who financed some researches for the discovery and the classification of these cacti.
The genus Uebelmannia includes some globular, cacti native to Brazil. These plants grow among the rocks or in rocks crevices in humid, tropical habitats or drier savannas depending on the species. Many Uebelmannias are threatened with extinction due to habitat fragmentation, overcollection and fires.
They are solitary plants, which can reach even large sizes (up to 80 cm in height).
They have a dark green stem, sometimes with purplish hints, subdivided into rather pronounced ribs. The areoles are lined along the ribs and usually very close to each other, showing a rather evident light-colored down. The overall effect, especially evident in U. pectinifera, is that of a continuous woolly stripe.
Always from the single areoles sprout the spines. They are generally dark in color, of medium length and very strong.
The flowers are diurnal and grow in small groups on the top of the plant. They are small in size, yellow or yellow-green and funnel-shaped.
In the wild, this genus is extremely rare; some species are considered nearly extinct.
VARIETY AND TYPES
The classification of Uebelmannia into a separate genus is recent and far from complete. There are many doubts about its interpretation, but here below are a few accepted species:
- U. Buiningi
- U. flavispina
- U. flavispina f. cristata
- U. gummifera
- U. meninensis
- U. meninensis f. rubra cristata
- U. pectinifera
- U. pectinifera f. variegata
- U. pectinifera subsp. horrida
- U. pectinifera var. multicostata
- U. pectinifera var. pseudopectinifera
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TIPS FOR GROWING
Uebelmannia are not easy to grow. Unlike other cacti, in fact, they are tropical plants and they need a certain humidity in the air, so in summer they must be steamed regularly, but at the same time they fear root rot. They are often grafted onto more robust species.
Here are our cultivation tips:
- Choose a very bright location as long as it’s sheltered from direct sunlight, especially during the hottest hours of summer.
- Uebelmannias don’t tolerate cold temperatures. Keep them at a temperature above 10ºC.
- Water every 3-4 days in spring and summer, decreasing the frequency in autumn to suspend completely in winter. During spring and summer add frequent misting to the irrigation water to maintain a sufficiently humid microclimate.
- Choose well-draining substrate, slightly calcareous, rich in minerals and enriched with a little humus.
- Fertilize once a year, at the beginning of the growing season.
- Choose large and deep pots, to contain the roots, which are strong and deep, and repot once every two years
They reproduce exclusively by seed. Germinating seeds can also be tricky. Plants, however, are often grafted to make them easier to grow, particularly through the winter. If possible, using a rootstock hardier than Uebelmannia is the ideal.