Guest Author - Connie Krochmal
Easy to grow, the free flowering crown cactus makes perfect indoor plants. These are also known as pygmy cactus.
For the most part, these plants need some protection from direct sun. For best results, use a sheer curtain to filter the light. These can also be grown in indoor light gardens. In that case, keep the lights on for around 14 to 16 hours per day. Decrease during this winter by a couple hours when they arenít actively growing.
So far as temperatures are concerned, these need a warm temperature for the daytime during the spring and summer months. About 65 degrees Fahrenheit for night time is fine with up to around 85 degrees Fahrenheit during the day. For the winter time, they need somewhat cooler conditions. Around 65 degrees Fahrenheit for day time, and down to 45 to 50 degrees Fahrenheit works well during the winter months.
Because most crown cactus tend to be rather small and slow growing, they wonít need to be repotted very often. About every three to four years should be about right in most cases.
Regarding routine care, these need very good air circulation. They prefer a soil that is pretty dry. So, let the top of the potting soil become dry before you water again. During the winter months, water can be reduced until youíre using just enough to keep the plant from shriveling. Water from the bottom as these can be damaged if moisture falls on the body.
For fertilizer, uses a tomato-type formula for these tend to be high in potassium. Only use about one-fourth the strength listed on the label. Apply this about every 2Ĺ to three weeks.
For potting soil, you can use one sold for cactus. Or you can start with a peat-lite or soilless potting mix, supplementing this with one part sand or perlite to one part soilless mix.
The crown cactus is propagated from seeds and offsets as well as grafting.
The Latin name for the genus was named to honor P. Rebut, who was a well known cactus grower and French vintner who lived from 1830 to 1898.