Epithelantha – Growing Sheet

Genus Epithelantha
Family Cactaceae
Habitat United States, Southern and Northern Mexico
Cultivation The  Epithelantha is a little more demanding compared  to other cacti; however, it is not particularly difficult to treat if you follow a few recommendations:  give water sparingly, ensure a bright exposure, fertilize once a month.
Curiosity This gender is formed by a single species: l ‘Epithelantha micromeris, of which there are, however, several variations. It grows by forming a single globular stem, but in nature it is easy to find in small groups either because it tends to generate pollens easily , or because the seeds, falling near the mother plant, give birth to small colonies (they are self-fertile).
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L’Epithelantha: Key Features


Imagine small balls, almost perfect, green but covered with white thorns so that it seems clear when it is seen from a distance, and in summer on the top it shows a tiny red fruit: for sure the Epithelantha has got what to be loved!

It is in fact a dwarf cactus of globular or ovoid shape, that only rarely becomes cylindrical with age, with a height that usually varies from 1 to 5 cm, and only exceptionally arrives at 10cm. The surface, in itself very compact (without ribs), is completely covered with whitish thorns that arise from aureoles arranged geometrically .

The flowers are pink, very small and inconspicuous; they are still valuable because of their delicacy. What is surprising is the fruit, which ripens in the summer, it has the form of a pod and as we said is fire-red
Overall, the small Epithelantha boasts of a great interest not only for who loves the succulents, but also for the curious botanist or for those who seek a decorative small plant.

Varieties e Types

There is only one species that is part of the genre Epithelantha, namely Epithelantha micromeris. In the past it was considered a mammillaria, but later its peculiarities have suggested a separate classification in a genre all its own.

Even if we have one species, we list some subspecies and in particular:

Epithelantha micromeris subsp. bokei

E. micromeris subsp. greggii

E. micromeris subsp. pachyrhiza

E. micromeris subsp. pickisoniae

E. micromeris subsp. polycephala

E. micromeris subsp. rufispina

E. micromeris subsp. unguispina

Tips for Growing

The Epithelantha is a little more demanding than other cacti; however, it is not particularly difficult to cure. Here are our recommendations:

  • The required exposure is in a bright area, in full sun (but avoid leaving it under the direct light during the hottest hours of the day) or half sun.
  • It asks a warm temperature above 25-30 ° C, while in winter it is recommended  to accept as a minimum  8 ° C. We advise you not to risk with lower temperatures though, with fully dried soil, it might surprise you and survive to short frosts.
  • In the summer it needs cacti standard watering: once every 7-10 days  in the period of maximum heat. However, be always  careful not to leave it in a wet soil, which would rot the roots.
  • A special soil for cacti is suitable for its cultivation. You can fertilize once a month.
  • Plant growth is slow and you will not need to repot it before some years. The plant remains always small.

The Epithelantha micromeris usually reproduces  by seed. The single plant is self-fertile, so you can replant the same seeds produced by the same plant.

In addition to this, also the production of pollens is rather frequent and as you know if you follow our rubric they are great as cuttings; so in general  from a single plant you will not have trouble to get new specimens.

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