Yavia cryptocarpa f. crestata
Yavia cryptocarpa is native to Argentina Northwest and Bolivia where the plant grows only in a very small area in the province of Jujui and can spread up to 3700 m of altitude. This plant grows on rocky soils and on semi-desertic slopes. The crested form is a natural mutation that occurred in the Y. cryptocarpa population and that was selected and propagated vegetatively.
Yavia cryptocarpa f. crestata is a very sought after cactus belonging to the Cactaceae botanical family. The plant has small sizes and has an underground habit. The plant, during drought periods, tends to shrink up to the level of the soil in order to be able to keep the humidity; on the contrary, in cultivation with an adequate humidity, it shows a more elongated shape. The stem is fan shaped, variously convoluted, flattened on top and centrally depressed. The areoles are arranged along in lines and are white and hairy. The spines are very small and inconspicuous. The roots are large, tuberous and taproots. Blooming occurs from the late spring to the early summer and the blossoms are borne at the apex of the stem. The flowers are small but showy, funnel-shaped, bright pink in color. The fruits ripe in the deep center of the plant and are protect by the dense hairs. During the drought periods the plant shrink up and the seeds are spread out.
The plant has a slow growth rate but it easy 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 succulent can tolerate temperatures to 45° C, and short periods of frost up to -10° C, 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 perfect soil is a well-drained soil that let the water to drain away and avoid root rot. To achieve this feature, you can mix the pumice, clay and loam. 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. During the vegetative period you can water the plant every 7 days with half a glass of water, checking that the soil is completely dry before watering again; in winter you should 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. The plant is used to growing in poor soils, for this reason it does not need abundant fertilization, it is sufficient to fertilize once in spring and once in summer. 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.
The easiest and fast method of propagation is to use cuttings or by grafting. 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 grafting make the cut as close to the growing tip as possible, then chose a stock with a diameter similar to that of the scion. After the cut, wash away the latex until it no longer remains. Bring the scion closer to the stock and held together with elastic bands. The plants should be left in an airy and shady place for 7-10 days before the bands are removed.
Yavia cryptocarpa is among the rarest cacti in the world! It is part of a monospecific genus, Yavia, whose only species is Yavia cryptocarpa.
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