Opuntia subulata cristata
The Opuntia subulata cristata, also technically called Austrocylindropuntia subulata cristata form, is a cactus that impresses at first sight and that can be even confused, with the brain cactus .
Being a form of Opuntia subulata, here we will give the details of the crsitata form, which make it different and very expectacular.
The Austrocylindropuntia subulata cristata, is native to high areas of Ecuador and Peru, forming a specimen with the shape of a tree, branched over time.
It has a crest shape. The Austrocylindropuntia subulata forms cristata, creates very broad forms, like wavy fans topped with combs of long succulent leaves of emerald green, with white areolas, and few, but fierce white spines.
In the crest form, the subulata cristata, the cells at the tip of the branch where growth occurs, begin to multiply at a much faster rate and the tip of normal growth “goes crazy”, creating spirals and fantastic waves with pronounced sculpture effects.
The ridge-shaped branches slowly form very beautiful, serpentine, grooved or crowded hemispherical groups.
The plant often grows with a cylindrical, rapidly growing stem.
Crest forms generally occur when an injury to the plant occurs at a young age, this damage may be due to the insects eating the growing tip, or for many other causes, including a genetic predisposition.
In reaction to that “injury”, the cells at the tip of the branch, where growth takes place, begin to multiply at a much faster rate and the normal growth tip “goes crazy”, as we said above.
The Opuntia subulata cristata, goes better in porous substrates prepared for cactus, that is, sandy and with peat or mulch of leaves.
You need a well-drained soil mix, with small gravel added to ensure drainage.
It prefers areas with good ventilation and ventilation.
Water abundantly when the soil is dry to the touch. Do not puddle and let dry completely before re-watering.
Water regularly in summer and almost nothing in winter. During the winter months, it should be kept dry and the water restricted to just enough to prevent the stems and branches from becoming entangled.
It needs a lot of light and direct or semi-shade. It can tolerate some frost if it stays dry.
A characteristic that makes the succulents are so fascinating plants, are the innumerable ways in which they are expressed throughout the year, according to light, season, temperature, soil and hydration.
Make sure your Opuntia subulata cristata is not exposed to temperatures below -4 ° C or it could die. However, never let the night temperature fall below 5 ° C.
Consider that in this cactus, they are large plants and need a lot of space for their roots, the pot transplant must be done every two years, or when the plant has grown more than its pot.
For reproduction, it is best to prepare cuttings in summer, the cuttings will take root only in warm climates.