Mammillaria polythele care

Mammillaria polythele is a small cactus

Image – Wikimedia/Peter A. Mansfeld

The Mammillaria polytheles it is a cactus that can be kept in a pot throughout its life, but also in the rock garden with other succulents. It is not very difficult to maintain, although of course you have to know certain things so as not to lose it before its time.

So if you want to know how it’s watered, when it’s planted in the ground, or how to change its pot, then we’ll explain all that and more.


Origin and characteristics of Mammillaria polytheles

Mammillaria polythele is a cylindrical cactus

Image – Wikimedia/Dave Pape

The Mammillaria polytheles It is an endemic cactus of Mexico, more precisely in Hidalgo, Querétaro and Guanajuato. It has a cylindrical shape, and can reach a height of 60 centimeters and a maximum width of 15 centimeters.. Its body has very marked ribs and contains a milky sap. Over the years, it tends to grow in clumps up to 60 centimeters wide.

Spines grow from the areoles which vary in number from when the plant is young until it has finished maturing. Only two shoots at first, later becoming three or more light brown or dark reddish brown. A kind of white wool also emerges from the top of the cactus.

the flowers are roses, are 1 centimeter long and appear in spring. Once pollinated, the fruits ripen, which are red and contain dark brown seeds.

How do you take care of Mammillaria polytheles?

It is a slow-growing cactus that produces its beautiful flowers from an early age. For this reason, we want you to know how to take care of it and thus ensure that it remains in good condition:

Where to put the cactus?

The Mammillaria polytheles It is a typical Mexican desert cactus, which grows in full sun. Now well, if you buy it in a nursery where they have it protected, you will have to gradually get it used to exposure to the sun so it doesn’t burn. How is this done?

With a lot of patience and by following these steps:

  1. First week: we will leave it in a sunny place early in the morning, no more than an hour a day. Then we put it back in a protected area.
  2. Second week: it is left in the sun between an hour and a half and two hours a day. Then we protect it.
  3. Third week and following: we increase the time of exposure to the sun between 30 and 60 minutes per week.

Related article:

Sunburn on cacti and other succulents: what to do to recover them?

Start in spring or fall, since it is when the solar radiation is less intense. If this is done in the summer, even if we only expose the cactus for an hour, it will burn for sure.

What soil or substrate do you need?

The wool of Mammillaria polythele is white.

Image – Wikimedia/Dragonglow

It will depend on where we have it:

  • Flower pot: we can mix peat and perlite in equal parts, or plant it with a quality cactus substrate, such as the Flower brand obtained from here.
  • Garden: Thrives in sandy, well-drained soils. If the soil in our garden is very heavy, as clay soils tend to be, we will make a hole about 50 x 50 centimeters and fill it with cactus substrate.

When and how to water Mammillaria polytheles?

To cacti, and indeed to virtually all succulents, you should water them when the soil is completely dry. They can go for a long time without receiving a single drop of water, but on the other hand they will not tolerate having their roots waterlogged. For this reason, we advise you to water your mammillaria relatively little.

The frequency will vary depending on temperatures and precipitation, but Assuming the climate is warm and there is little or no rain, it will be watered on average twice a week during the summer, and every 15 or 20 days the rest of the year.. Anyway, I insist, you should only water when you see that the soil is dry.

If in doubt, if it is in a pot you can weigh it as soon as you water it, and again after a few days. Since dry soil weighs less than wet soil, this difference in weight will help you determine when to water again. In case you have it on the ground, introduce a thin wooden stick of about 30 or 40 centimeters, and if during the extraction it comes out with a lot of adherent soil, do not water it because that would mean that it’s still wet.

How to water? Always pour the water on the ground, and if possible at sunset when the sun no longer shines. The cactus can be wet from time to time, for example once a month, but it is important that at this time it is not exposed to the light of the royal star, otherwise it will burn.

Do you have to pay?

It is strongly recommended to pay from spring to summer. To do this, specific fertilizers or fertilizers for cacti will be used, and the instructions specified on the container will be followed in order to obtain good results (and incidentally, also to avoid burning their roots, which would happen if more than indicated). For example, you can use Flower’s liquid fertilizer, which if you are interested, just click here to buy it.

When to transplant it?

Mammillaria polythele is a cactus

Image – Wikimedia/Lover Darmanin

you have to do it in the spring, once the frosts have passed, and provided that it is well rooted in the pot. If we want to plant it in a larger container, we will do it every 3 or 4 years by following these steps:

  1. First, we will take a pot about 4 or 5 centimeters wider and higher than the one he already has.
  2. Then we will fill it with a little cactus substrate taking into account the height of the old pot to prevent the plant from being too high or too low.
  3. Then we remove the cactus from the pot and put it in the new one.
  4. Finally, we finish filling.

And if we intend to plant it in the ground, we will make a hole of about 50 x 50 centimeters, fill it with cactus substrate and introduce it there once we have removed it from the pot. Later, we put more soil to finish filling the hole, and we watered.

Is it frost resistant?

Only the weakest, down to -1ºC. If you live in an area with a colder winter, you will need to protect it indoors or in a greenhouse.

What do you think of the Mammillaria polytheles? You like?

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