Plant Families / Mammillaria
Arguably the most popular cactus genus in cultivation, Mammillaria is one of the largest genus of the cactus family with about 200 recognized species. They are spiny cacti with ball-shaped or columnar stems, growing either solitary or in clumps. Low-growing, rarely over around 6-8 in in height (15-20 cm), they bear nipple-like tubercles and are covered with spines in a wide range of colors. The spines can be stiff and stout, or bristle-like and hair-like. Funnel-shaped flowers are are often produced in a ring near the apex of the stem. The blossoms give way to small edible fruits, usually red, resembling little candies. Mostly endemic to Mexico, a handful of species are native to the United States, Central America and Northern South America as well as the islands of the Caribbean. Easy to grow, these miniature cacti are perfect for containers. They can be grown as houseplants, but also grow well outdoors in frost-free climates. Protect them from cold, as most are frost sensitive and only hardy to 23°F (-5°C) for brief periods.