Español  English  

Consulta Plantas

Gardening and plant care since 2001

Find plants

Care of the plant Melocactus peruvianus or Turk's cap cactus.

Care of the cactus Melocactus peruvianus or Turk's cap cactus

The genus Melocactus, family Cactaceae, comprises 40 species of cacti native to Mexico, Cuba, Central and South America. Some species are: Melocactus peruvianus, Melocactus oreas, Melocactus deinacanthus, Melocactus curvispinus, Melocactus conoideus, Melocactus bahiensis, Melocactus azureus, Melocactus intortus, Melocactus matanzanus, Melocactus schatzlii.

Common names: Turk's cap cactus, Melon Cactus, Turk's Head Cactus. Scientific synonyms: Cactus townsendii, Melocactus unguispinus. This species is native to Ecuador and Peru.

They are cacti with a variable body in shape (globose, cylindrical, erect, conical) of bluish green color that reach 20 cm (7.87") in height. They have 10-15 ribs and 1 cm (0.39") areoles with curved radial spines and few or no central spines. The cephalium is small (up to 10 cm/3.93" in diameter) and white with reddish bristles. The flowers are small, tubular and red or pink in color. They do not bloom until they have reached adulthood.

These very slow-growing cacti are used in pots as houseplants, greenhouse plants, and for patios, balconies and terraces. In subtropical and tropical climates they are used in rockeries and in cactus and succulent gardens.

The Melocactus peruvianus prefers a semi-shade exposure avoiding direct sun in the central hours of the day in very hot summer climates. The winter safety temperature is 12-15 ºC (53-59 ºF).

The soil can be a commercial cactus substrate with pebbles and 20% coarse siliceous sand. They do not resist transplantation well.

In spring and summer, water frequently, waiting for the substrate to be almost dry; they do not withstand prolonged drought like other cacti. In autumn, reduce watering a lot and do not water in winter.

Fertilize once in spring with mineral fertilizer for cacti.

They do not need pruning.

They are sensitive to excess moisture.

They propagate by seeds sown in spring in a seedbed covered with glass, in sandy substrate and at 20-22 ºC (68-71 ºF).

Images of the cactus Melocactus peruvianus or Turk's cap cactus

Melocactus peruvianus
Melocactus peruvianus