pediocactus

Propagated Pediocactus Seeds

A name meaning, plains cactus is a strangely incoherent name for this generic of cacti, because they are alpine cacti. They are also sometimes known by the name 'Mountain Ball Cactus', but whether in a high altitude plain or growing on rocky mountain sides these are true extrema-files. The have one of the most astonishing abilities in the plant world, as one of their survival habits. The chemistry happening inside these plants when they go into their winter rest period gives them the ability to melt snow. After they are covered with snow for the winter they create an air space around themselves, and give themselves an extra layer of protection. Many species of cacti grow at high altitudes, but Pediocactus are few can survive the harsh conditions these plants endure.

Their flower colors are usually pink, but some species are white or yellow. The flowers are small but are some of the most beautiful among cactus flowers. They are unlikely to produce flowers if they are kept in warm conditions, and actually need winter to thrive.

These cacti need to be given a winter rest period where they are actually cold and dry. In habitat they can spend 4 months or more covered in snow, so this is a plant that goes into a deep winter sleep. They need a rest period in order to survive and if they are treated as if they might grow, when they need to be resting, then they will very easily die from fungal infections. The best way to keep them is outdoors where they will have the full four seasons, but they can be kept over winter in rooms like an unheated garage or cold frame. If they are being grown in a region where there is no such thing as winter, then at least the withhold all water both through mid winter and mid summer.

In the high altitude regions where Pediocactus grows the habitat is not only harsh in the winter, but dry in the summers. In these regions there may be dew or small amounts of afternoon rain, but this amount of water is almost always only enough to wet the surface of the ground. At higher altitudes the atmosphere is thiner and the sun had a tremendous heating effect on the ground. The air in these regions is dry and nights can get very cold, so the hot ground in the day time can cool down into the 40s at night. When summer time conditions become extreme Pediocacti go into another kind of rest or idling mode of dormancy.

Being extrema-files they have in impressive ability to survive, but this also makes them some of the most difficult cacti to grow in propagation. If a person wants to grow these cacti and is working with beginners knowledge it is reasonablr to expect a high mortality rate in the learning process.

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Pediocactus simpsonii var. minor
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3spine.gifPlant
Pediocactus simpsonii var. minor
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Pediocactus Photos:

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Pediocactus flowers

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Pediocactus flower buds

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Pediocactus first adult spines

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Pediocactus pastel pink

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Pediocactus bright pink

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Pediocactus winter

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Pediocactus white flower

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Pediocactus swan song bloom

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Pediocactus older plants

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Pediocactus stages of blooming

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Pediocactus adult with seedlings

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Pediocactus knowltonii

 

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