Botanical Name — Matucana madisoniorum
Plant Family — Cactaceae
Matucana madisoniorum is a small, globular cactus that grows natively in a tiny region of Peru. Due to collecting and grazing goats in the area, it is now highly endangered. Some specimens have long spines while others are completely naked. Naked plants are often mistaken for Lophophora williamsii, or peyote. Look out for sunbursts of flowers whenever conditions are right.
- These cacti prefer lots of filtered sun, at least 5 hours of bright light that mimics the dappled sunlight they receive on the floor of the dry forests of Peru.
- Indoors a south facing window is ideal. Outdoors seat them in a place where they will get plenty of sun exposure, but protect them from intense, peak afternoon sun.
- Matucana madisoniorum likes it hot! Above 70 ºF in the summer is preferred.
- During the winter they prefer to stay warm. Keep them above 50 ºF.
- In the summer months, water only when the soil has dried out completely. Always err on the side of underwatering. They are built to withstand drought, and overwatering is one of the quickest ways to kill them. Water even less in the winter months.
- These plants prefer a sandy, well-draining mix. Cacti or succulent potting mix is great. You can amend a regular potting soil with sand or pumice up to 50% to improve grittiness and drainage.
- Large flowers may blossom whenever conditions are right, usually in several flourishes throughout the summer.
- These plants do not require fertilizer, though it can be added to give container grown plants a boost or to supplement poor soil. Apply a water-soluble, balanced fertilizer monthly, diluted at half strength.
- Fertilize only during summer and never in the winter.
- Propagation by seed only. These solitary cacti rarely produce pups.
- Matucana madisoniorum are not prone to pests. Though not super common, they are more likely to fall victim to bacterial or fungal infections. Affected plants may need to be destroyed to prevent the spread of disease to other nearby plants.
- Root rot can also be a concern and is triggered by overwatering. Always err on the side of underwatering.
Maintenance (pruning, legginess, repotting)
- Little maintenance is required to grow these plants. They do not require frequent repotting unless they are outgrowing the planter. Repot once every two to three years to refresh the soil.
- Matucana madisoniorum are not known to be toxic to humans or pets but should not be ingested.