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Gymnocalycium is a genus of cacti known for their attractive, often colorful flowers and relatively easy care requirements. Here is a care sheet for Gymnocalycium species:


  • Requirements: Gymnocalycium cacti prefer bright, indirect light. They can tolerate some direct sunlight, especially in the morning or late afternoon, but should be protected from intense midday sun, which can cause sunburn. A location with filtered light or partial shade works well.


  • Frequency: Water Gymnocalycium cacti sparingly but thoroughly. Allow the soil to dry out completely between waterings to prevent root rot. During the growing season (spring and summer), water when the top inch (2.5 cm) of soil is dry. Reduce watering in fall and winter when the plant is dormant, watering only when the soil is completely dry.
  • Method: Water at the base of the plant, avoiding the cactus body to prevent moisture accumulation that can lead to rot.


  • Type: Use a well-draining cactus mix. A blend of regular potting soil with added perlite, pumice, or coarse sand works well to improve drainage and aeration.
  • Potting: Ensure the pot has drainage holes to prevent water from sitting at the bottom.


  • Range: Gymnocalycium cacti prefer moderate temperatures between 65-85°F (18-29°C) during the growing season. They can tolerate slightly cooler temperatures but should be protected from frost, as they are not frost-tolerant.
  • Winter Care: Keep them in a cool, dry place during the winter, ideally around 50-55°F (10-13°C), to encourage a natural dormancy period.


  • Preference: Gymnocalycium cacti prefer low to moderate humidity levels. They can tolerate the dry air typical of indoor environments and do not require high humidity.


  • Schedule: Feed Gymnocalycium cacti with a balanced, diluted cactus fertilizer once a month during the growing season (spring and summer). Avoid fertilizing during the dormant period in fall and winter.


  • Methods: Gymnocalycium can be propagated from seeds or offsets (pups) that form around the base of the plant. Offsets can be carefully removed and allowed to callus for a few days before planting in well-draining soil.


  • Needs: Minimal pruning is required. Remove any dead, damaged, or diseased parts of the cactus with clean, sharp scissors or pruning shears to maintain its health and appearance.

Pests and Problems:

  • Common Pests: Watch for common cactus pests such as mealybugs, spider mites, and scale insects. Treat infestations promptly with insecticidal soap or neem oil.
  • Disease Prevention: Ensure good air circulation around the plant to prevent fungal issues. Avoid overwatering to prevent root rot.

Potting and Repotting:

  • Repotting Schedule: Repot Gymnocalycium cacti every 2-3 years or when they outgrow their current container. Choose a pot that is slightly larger with good drainage.
  • Repotting Tips: Handle the cactus carefully to avoid damaging the roots and spines. Allow the plant to dry out for a few days after repotting before resuming regular watering.

Special Care Notes:

  • Sun Protection: Gradually acclimate the cactus to increased sunlight to prevent sunburn.
  • Dormancy: Respect the plant's natural dormancy period in winter by reducing watering and keeping it in a cooler location.

By following these care guidelines, you can help your Gymnocalycium cactus thrive and enjoy its beautiful flowers and attractive form in your collection.

Gymnocalycium sp.

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