How to Care For & Grow Uebelmannia Cacti

How to Care For & Grow Uebelmannia Cacti

ABOUT:

Uebelmannia Cacti are Tropical Cacti that are endemic to Brazil growing 650 -1,350 above sea level.

There are just 3 main species in the Uebelmannia Genus, 1, Uebelmannia pectinifera, 2, Uebelmannia gummifera , and 3, Uebelmannia buiningii, although more hybrids are slowly being introduced into the cactus market.

The most popular in cultivation is Uebelmannia pectinifera, and the rarest is Uebelmannia buiningii, U. buiningii is threatened by habitat loss in its natural environment, but is slowly becoming more poplar to grow in cultivation amongst cacti enthusiasts. 

Uebelmannia cacti have globular to cylindrical stems and have distinct ribs patterned with spines from their areoles . The colour of these cacti are bright green, green grey, or dark purple. 

They are slow growing cacti but can reach up to 3 feet over time growing from globular to more columnar.

These unique cacti were first introduced from South America in the mid 1960’s where it had a bit of a cult following.

Uebelmannia are still hard to find for sale and many that are for sale are often found grafted as they can be more difficult to grow on their own roots when young but when more mature will grow well on their own roots.

Because Uebelmannia are not the easiest to grow for beginners, its best to only grow these cacti when you are more experienced with growing cacti.

LIGHT REQUIREMENTS:

Uebelmannia like a very sunny position and a south facing position is ideal, these cacti love plenty of direct sunshine even in the Winter months.

SOIL:

These cacti need a VERY well draining soil and well aerated, I like to make my own soil mix up for these cacti that consits of 3 equal parts of loam, grit and horticultural sharp sand, they also prefer a soil pH on the lower side as high soil pH above 7.5 pH can damage their roots, however if you grow Uebelmannia that has been grafted they can take a soil that is higher in pH due to the rootstock that they have been grafted onto.

REPOTTING:

Re Pot Uebelmannia in Spring and Summer, ideally in Spring at the start of their growing season. Only re pot when the cactus has outgrown its pot and re pot into a pot only slightly larger than the last one, as too much soil around their roots can encourage root rot. When re potted leave a week to 10 days until watering again to allow the roots to settle into the new pot and soil.

WATERING:

From Spring and Summer water well allowing the soil in the pot to dry out before watering again.

In Winter these cacti do not like to be kept totally dry for very long periods and I water my Uebelmannia once every 6 weeks.

Uebelmannia like a water with a lower pH ideally around the 5.5-7 pH, because of this clean unpolluted rain water is preferred over tap water, however if your Uebelmannia is grafted it will be able to take a higher pH water.

FERTILISING:

From Spring and Summer when they are actively growing Uebelmannia like to be fertilised once a month with a good quality cactus fertiliser that is diluted to half the strength that they recommend for desert cacti. 

Do not feed during the Winter months when their growth is slowed down and they are resting.

TEMPERATURE:

Because Uebelmannia are Tropical Cacti they can not tolerate any frost and need an absolute Winter minimum temperature of 12 Celsius / 55 Fahreneheit and ideally above 12 Celsius /60 Fahreneheit.

In Summer they can take very high temperatures as long as plenty of ventilation can be provided, open windows in greenhouses and doors in polytunnels on very hot sunny days in Summer. 

FLOWERING:

Uebelmannia produce tiny yellow flowers that form a cluster from the crown of the cactus, all Uebelmannia will flower when fully mature if given plenty of sunshine and the correct growing care.

PROPAGATION:

Propagation of Uebelmannia is from seeds but growing these cacti from seed is very hard unless you are an expert in growing Uebelmannia. Most young seedlings are often grafted onto other rootstock for their survival.

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