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Care of the plant Melocactus intortus or Turk's Cap Cactus.

Care of the cactus Melocactus intortus or Turk's Cap Cactus

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

Common names: Turk's Cap Cactus or Melon Cactus. This species is native to the Caribbean.

They are light green cacti with a globose or cylindrical body that reach 40 cm (15.74") in height (without the cephalium). They have 14-20 very marked ribs with dark areoles that have about 5 gray radial spines and a longer central spine. The large cylindrical cephalium is white and reddish in color and produces small pink or purple flowers. The cephalium appears when the plant reaches maturity.

These hardy-growing plants are used in rockeries, in cactus and succulent gardens, and in pots for patios, decks and balconies, and in greenhouses. They are ideal for coastal gardens in subtropical climates.

The Melocactus intortus prefers a semi-shade exposure receiving direct sun in the early hours of the day or in the afternoon. It does not resist temperatures below 10 ºC (50 ºF).

The soil can be a commercial substrate for cacti with 15% coarse sand or a mixture of leaf litter and coarse siliceous sand in the same proportions. They do not resist transplanting well.

Water regularly so that the substrate never dries out completely but without flooding; in winter water once a month. They do not withstand prolonged drought.

Fertilize 2 times a year with mineral fertilizer for cacti: once in early spring and again in early summer.

Pruning is not necessary.

They are plants sensitive to excess moisture, cold and prolonged drought.

They are propagated from seeds sown in a sandy seedbed at 20 ºC (68 ºF).

Images of the cactus Melocactus intortus or Turk's Cap Cactus

Melocactus intortus
Melocactus intortus