|There may be 500 species of these irresistible Cacti. The common names attest to their charms: Powder Puff, Owl's Eyes, Snowball, Birthday Cake Cactus. If you get hooked, you can join a Mammillaria society. Most are small, pincushiony balls, with tubercles rather than ribs (hence the Latin name for "little nipples"), growing singly or in clusters. A few have fingerlike stems, and Mammillaria matudae forms a mound of long "snakes". The spines vary dramatically -- straight, bent or hooklike, fine or coarse, flat or jutting, hairy, woolly, or feathered. Their true glory lies in the brilliant satiny flowers. These start blooming when the plants are merely golf-ball-size, usually forming a ring around the crown. Potted plants can be brought to a place of honor at peak of bloom. Even the fruits add color. Green to coral-red, they often last long past blooming. Densely hairy or woolly species do well in bright sun. Those with more-exposed skins need partial shade. Plant in well-drained, sandy to gravely soil and water sparsely. Nutritious soil ensures strong, colorful spines and hair. They prefer winters light and dry rather than cool. Keep temperatures above 40º F with good ventilation. If too damp they can rot. Grow from sprouts or seed. Some species can be grafted.
Curly-petaled red flowers bloom at the ends of finger-like silvery gray branches. Short, rigid central spines curl into hooks.
Attributes - Mammillaria pondii
Plant Type: Succulent
Bloom Season: Early Summer through Late Summer
Flower Color: Red
Height: 8 in. to 1 ft.
Width: 1 ft.
Sunlight: Full Sun
Climate: Zones 10, 11
Notes: Thrives in Dry Climates, Hot Climates. Container Plants, Drought Tolerant, Low Maintenance, Showy Flowers.
Mammillaria compressa, Mammillaria glochidiata, Mammillaria heyderi sphaerica, Mammillaria kewensis, Mammillaria muehlenpfordtii, Mammillaria pennispinosa nazasensis, Mammillaria petterssonii, Mammillaria polythele, Mammillaria sinistrohamata, Mammillaria supertexta