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Mammillaria carmenae – Carmen pincushion cactus

Mammillaria carmenae with white flowers

The Mammillaria carmenae also known as Carmen pincushion cactus is one of the hundreds of representatives of cactus, of the Genus Mammillaria. We will see here the most characteristic of this cactus.

Origin and habitat.

This cactus has a habitat of very restricted origin. It is located between Ciudad Victoria and Tamaulipas in Mexico and part of North America.

Its habitat is established between an altitude of 850 to 1,900 meters.

The extension of the habitat of this mammillaria, is less than 100 km² and was discovered by Marcelino Castañeda in 1953 near the ranch La Reja.

Therefore, it has the common name of Biznaga de Reja.

Description of the Mammillaria carmenae.

The Mammillaria carmenae, is a small solitary cactus or grouped with globose stems. The areolas that comes to have around 100 radial spines of cream color.

Mammillaria carmenae - flower
Mammillaria carmenae – flower

The stems are globose and even ovoid, about 4 to 10 cm high and about 3 to 5 cm in diameter. Does not exude any type of latex.

The tubers are conical and appear, shaggy and bristly.


The radial spines are more than 100. They are soft, thin, flexible, star-shaped, white or pale yellow or even golden, up to 5 mm long.

It does not have central thorns.


The flowers of the Mammillaria carmenae, are usually diurnal, creamy white to pink and even pale pink with central nerves dyed pink and up to about 11 mm long.

The flowering season in , is at the end of winter, blooming all at once and early spring and are very generous with their flowers.

The fruits are greenish and the seeds are black.

We should add that despite the considerable hybridization between this species, in specialized nurseries, not all pink flower plants are necessarily hybrid, since some kind of pink flower actually exists in nature.

Good lighting will keep the spinning colorful and tight, as long as the growth is not forced.

Flowering often takes place in winter, or early spring.

How to grow the Mammillaria carmenae.

This cactus is a relatively fast growing species. This can be done to easily create groups.

It is not too difficult to grow in the greenhouse, although it grows quite slowly. It is usually seen as a grafted plant, but it can also grow on its own roots.


Watering , in summer we will do it, regularly. Do not water, in excess, as they are prone to root rot.

Water in moderation, from March to October, weekly during the summer, if the weather is sunny, with a little added fertilizer.

Use a pot with good drainage and a very porous substrate or culture medium. Do not water in winter, even keep the substrate dry in winter.


As for the fertilizer , feed the Mammillaria carmenae, with a fertilizer rich in potassium, in summer.

Feeding may not be necessary at all, if the compost is fresh, then, feed in summer only if the plant has not been replanted recently.

Do not feed the plants from September, as this can cause exuberant growth, which can be fatal during the colder months.

Mammillaria carmenae - flowers
Mammillaria carmenae – flowers


As a substrate , you must use a mineral soil, well permeable and with little organic matter, that is, little peat or humus.

You can find commercial substrate preparations , which make your task easier.


This cactus, is quite resistant to frost, if it stays dry and is resistant to temperatures as low as -5 ° C.

Its ideal location is outside, in full sun or in the shade of the afternoon. Inside, you need bright light and some direct sunlight.

Easy grouping and easy flowering. Most plants will be easily compensated and groups can be produced in a few years.


It is multiplied by division or by direct sowing, always after the frost ends, or in the spring.

Grafts or cuttings.

Plants are usually grafted into columnar cactus, but it has been shown that they can produce their own roots if they are made.

The cuts will take root in a minimum temperature of 20 ° C, although better in hot climates. Healthy sprout clippings can be taken in the spring and summer.

To do this, cut the stem with a sharp and sterile razor, leave the cut in a warm and dry place for a week or weeks, depending on the thickness of the cut, until a callus forms on the wound.

Once the callus is formed, the cut can be inserted into a pot with a cactus substrate and topped with a coarse-grained surface layer.

They should be placed on the coarse sand only, this way we will avoid that the end of the cut gets too wet and allows the roots to penetrate in the rich compost that is underneath.

The cuttings must take root in 2 to 6 weeks.

Crystalline variety.

The variety cristata, is presented by the variation in the normal growth of the plant and is due to a genetic mutation.

Growth in the ridge may occur in normal plants. Sometimes it is due to variations in light intensity or damage, but generally the causes are unknown.

A crested plant may have some areas that grow normally and other parts of the crested plant, which looks like a brain, which can return to normal growth, for no apparent reason.

If you have some of the crested part left, you should eliminate the normal growth and leave behind the crested part, it will have to be done regularly.


Mammillaria bocasana

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