Copiapoa humilis in 6 Inch Pot Live Cactus
Description: Copiapoa humilis is a very small, low growing cactus with roots like turnips, sometime solitary but usually clumping at the base. It's a highly variable taxon with several more or less similar forms that could be described as local varieties. In considering Copiapoa humilis species, we need to bear in mind the remarkable differences between young plants, with short, thin spination and the darker coloration of the body compared to the more robust adults with longer and sturdy, flexible spines.
Stem: Subglobular, depressed, somewhat soft, producing copious wool in the apex. 1-4 inches wide by up to 3 inches tall, and high pale olive-green to tan. Juvenile stems are darker purple-red to almost black.
Ribs: About 8-14 slightly spiraling forming distinct elevated tubercles.
Areoles: Well separated, with white wool.
Root: Large tap-root, connected to the stem by long slender neck. Seedlings naturally produce the huge tap root, starting from germination, i.e. before the plant stem becomes mature.
Spines: 10-14 greyish-white to yellowish (in youth) to black (adults).
Radial spines: About 7-13, thin, needle-like, setaceous, open wide on sides, marginal, somewhat bent, up to an inch long.
Central spine: 1 to 4, sometime absent on juvenile specimen, fairly slender, erect, straight or curved up to 1.5 inches long.
Flowers: At the apex, 1 to 1.5 inches long, corolla sulfur yellow, strongly scented. In cultivation Copiapoa humilis are able to flower from immature stems at an early age (about 2 years from germination) and set viable seed. Ovary always glabrous, with smaller scales inserted only above the peripheral ring.
Fruits: Round, naked, bright red, up to 0.3 inches long.
Cultivation and Propagation: Considering that Copiapoa humilis comes from a habitat with an extremely arid climate, they are remarkably tolerant of pot culture. These plants have thick taproots and are susceptible to over watering. They requires also an appropriate air circulation. Copiapoas are summer grower species easy to cultivate
Growth rate: It is a relatively rapidly growing and easily flowering species that will make clumps given the best conditions.
Soils: It likes very coarse mineral cactus mix soil, but can become too elongated if compost is too rich.
Repotting: Use pot with good drainage.
Watering: Water moderately from Spring to Autumn, but do not over water (Rot prone), it must be strictly kept dry throughout the winter quiescent period since it is very sensitive to any moisture excesses keep dry in winter.
Fertilization: Feed with a high potassium fertilizer in summer.
Hardiness: They need to be kept in a cool place during winter rest and are resistant to light frost if kept on the dry side prior to, and during, cold weather ( they are hardy to 24 ° F for short periods). However some warmth throughout the year will increase the grower's success (minimum 41° to 46°F during rest season).
Exposition: Requires full sun or light shade and careful watering to keep plant compact with strong colored spines. Tends to bronze in strong light, which encourages flowering and heavy spine production. Light shadow may be useful in the hottest summer days.
Uses: It is an excellent plant for container growing. It always looks good and stays small. It look fine in a cold greenhouse and frame or outdoor in a rockery.
Propagation: Seed, cutting, grafting. Seeds germinate in 7-14 days at 70-80° F in spring, remove the cover as soon the plants are well rooted (around 1-2 weeks) and keep ventilated, no full sun for young plants!