Cactus hymnocalycium (Hymnocalicyum) – one of the first spherical cacti in indoor floriculture . Representatives of the genus Gymnocalycium are diverse in size and color of flat-spherical stems, with strong curved spines and large, with characteristic tubes, white, pink or light yellow flowers that appear from areoles located closer to the top and persist for several days.
The genus name comes from the Greek words gymnos “naked” and kalyx “calyx”, since the flower tube does not have spines like cacti of other genera.
Types of cactus hymnocalycium and photo
According to various sources, the genus combines from 50 to 150 types of hymnocalycium, common in South America. The places of distribution of these cacti are characterized by a small amount of moisture, but at the same time, an abundance of various vegetation, shrubs, various grasses of the prairies and steppes. Such natural conditions explain the presence of a well-developed root system in these cacti and dislike for direct sunlight, which can cause stem burns.
In room conditions, several types of hymnocacilium are grown, among which there are both large ones, for example, humpbacked ones, and completely miniature ones (tiny gymnocalycium). Of particular interest are multi-colored chlorophyll-free forms.
Gymnocalycium humpbacked (Gymnocalycium gibbosum) is a large cactus with a bluish-green spherical stem, with age, acquiring a cylindrical shape (grows up to 50 cm tall and about 20 cm in diameter). As can be seen in the photo of the humpbacked hymnocacilium, its ribs are well defined, have a segmental structure due to transverse furrows. In the areole, one central spine and about ten shorter radial ones can be distinguished. There is a variety var. nigrum with an almost black stem and spines. Cream flowers.
Small-flowered Gymnocalycium (Gymnocalycium leptanthum) is a small (up to 7 cm in diameter) cactus with low ribs and radial spines pressed against the stem. The flowers are white with reddish petal bases.
Gymnocalycium tiny (Gymnocalycium parvulum) is the smallest species (up to 3 cm in diameter). The stem is spherical, ash-brown-green in color with low ribs and large areoles. There are no central spines, there are only slightly curved, radial ones pressed against the stem. White large (up to 6 cm long) flowers appear at the top of the stem. In our photo gallery, photos of Gymnocacilium of various varieties are widely represented.
Cactus hymnocalycium Mikhanovich and care for him
Mihanovich ‘s Gymnocalycium (Gymnocalycium mihanovichii) is a cactus with a flattened (up to 5 cm high) grayish-green stem. The ribs are wavy, unevenly convex, due to which it seems that the ribs are located both along and across. Spines are light, only radial. The flowers are mostly greenish-pink, but there are also varieties with white, pink and yellow flowers.
Chlorophyll-free forms of this species with red, pink, yellow or purple stems are very popular. They cannot live on their own, so caring for these hymnocalyciums begins with grafting on cacti of other species with green stems, from which they receive all the necessary nutrients. Unfortunately, these cute mutants have a limited lifespan.
Gymnocalycium Mikhanovich is one of the most unpretentious cacti. They easily tolerate dry room air, do not suffer from low or high temperatures, grow better with little shading than in bright sun. However, it is desirable to provide them with a winter rest period with a temperature of about +8 … + 15 ° C, bright lighting and rare watering (about once a month). In the spring, in order to avoid burns, the hymnocalyciums should be gradually accustomed to the sun.
Caring for Mikhanovich’s hymnocalycium involves moderate watering with exceptionally soft water. Top dressing is carried out in the warm season every 2-3 weeks with fertilizers for cacti. Young plants are transplanted annually in the spring, adults every 3-4 years. The need for such frequent transplants is associated not so much with the growth of the roots, but with the alkalization of the soil, which develops when watered with tap water and is very unfavorable for the root system of hymnocalycium. Therefore, when transplanting a cactus, you need to thoroughly shake off the old soil from the roots, and you can use the old container. The soil mixture should be loose, well permeable to water and air.
Globular hymnocalyciums look best in round, shallow pots. You can propagate by seeds and lateral layering (not all species form). Chlorophyll-free hymnocalyciums need to be vaccinated. The grafting rules are the same for all types of cacti: a healthy rootstock and a scion are evenly cut with a clean and sharp knife or blade, the sections are immediately tightly connected, if possible combining internal structures, and kept in a lightly pressed state, for example, with an elastic band, for one two weeks.