Many animals and plants have the shape of a star in nature: starfish, sea urchins, fruits, fruits. In cacti, the shape of a stalk in the shape of a star is generally widespread.
But she received the most perfect incarnation in the myriostigma, a small-sized, but most popular genus, Astrophytum. These are excellent neighbors for “lazy gardeners” due to their unpretentiousness. In addition, a great addition to any interior.
Astrophytum myriostigma (lat.Astrophýtum myriostígma) is the most common type of spherical cacti. Translated from Greek it sounds like “multi-spotted” (stigma - spot).
This houseplant is also known as astrophytum, many-stalked, thousand-speckled, countless speckled, or speckled. For its unusual shape it has the name "bishop's miter."
- The size of the plant. Astrophytum myriostigma is a desert spherical cactus. Under natural conditions it reaches a height of 1 m and 20 cm in diameter.
- Stalk of a young shoot represents a small ball, elongating as it grows. Has ashen - green color, without thorns. Covered with specks, which in reality are tufts of villi.
- Ribs It has 5 to 6 thick ribs. There are tubercles on the edges of the ribs.
- Funnel-shaped flowers, appear at the top of the stem. Bright yellow with a reddish edging.
- Fruits and seeds. The diameter of the fruit reaches 2 cm, green color, the seeds when ripe - red - brown, covered with scales with a long pile.
Homeland astrophytum myriostigma is Mexico and the south of the United States, a hot and arid climate.
- In summer: high temperature is not a problem for the plant. It is wise to place astrophytum in the open air - a balcony, a terrace, protecting it from precipitation.
- In the fall: the flower is preparing for peace. Gradually lower the temperature.
- In winter: a sufficiently low temperature is needed. Up to ten degrees.
- In the spring: gradual increase in temperature to high summer degrees.
Watering is preferable from the pallet also taking into account the time of year:
- In summer: as the soil dries.
- In spring and fall: once or twice a month.
- In winter: watering for astrophytum is not required.
Overflow contributes to the decay of the roots and base of the stem.
Astrophytum is photophilous. He does not like the shadow. To shade it is necessary only in the heat.
The substrate for astrophytum consists of coarse sand, peat, turf and deciduous soil in equal parts. When planting a plant, a drainage layer is laid on the bottom of the pot.
They are produced from mid-spring to mid-autumn once every 3-4 weeks. Special nutrients for cacti are used as nutrients.
The capacity value is selected depending on the size of the plant. For small specimens, a pot with a diameter of 6-8 cm is usually taken. Given that the root system of the astrophytum does not grow deep, a flowerpot needs a flat one.
A transplant is performed only in urgent need, not more than once every 3 to 5 years. If necessary - more often. Astrophytums do not tolerate transplants.
The reasons for the transplant may be:
- An overgrown root system filled the entire container.
- Damage to the root system by rot or pests.
The correct astrophytum transplant is performed in the following order:
- Distribute drainage in a container with a layer of 2.5 - 3 cm.
- Fill a third of the container with a special substrate for cacti.
- Carefully pull the cactus out of the old pot and pay special attention to the root system:
- Carefully clean the roots of the soil.
- Inspect the root neck and roots for rotting and pests.
- Remove rotten roots.
- Carefully spread the roots and place in a flowerpot, gradually filling up the soil between them.
- Add soil to the root neck and place the upper drainage in a small layer.
Do not sprinkle the root neck! This will cause her rot. If the plant lost a lot of roots during transplantation, more river sand should be added to the soil.
In winter, the astrophytum has a rest period. To ensure the rest of the plant, the room should be ventilated, dry with a temperature of 5 - 10 degrees.
After the establishment of sunny weather, spraying and fractional watering at room temperature are carried out.
Propagation by seeds is carried out in early May. Astrophytum seeds are planted in shallow wide tanks.
Step-by-step landing instructions:
- Fill the container with soil mixture. The distance from the surface of the substrate to the edge of the pot should not be less than 2 cm.
- Moisten the soil with a spray bottle.
- Spread seeds on the surface of the soil. Do not sprinkle with earth!
- Put a bag of polyethylene on the pot.
- Create optimal conditions for germination:
- Humidity - 10%.
- Lighting is bright diffused.
- The optimum temperature is 25 - 32 degrees.
- Airing 2 to 3 times a day.
Step-by-step instructions for caring for seedlings:
- After the appearance of the first shoots (usually after 2-3 weeks), provide enhanced lighting. For maximum lighting, fluorescent lamps are recommended.
- Gradually remove the plastic bag. Cover only for the night.
- Watering - from the spray gun.
- Dive when the seedlings begin to interfere with each other in pots 4 - 5 cm in diameter.
The astrophytum of myriostigma blooms at the age of 3-4 years. The flowers are silky yellow, large, up to 10 cm in diameter, wide open. Located at the top of the stem. Flowering of one flower lasts only 2 to 4 days. The remaining flowers bloom on each new areola throughout the summer.
Plants that are used to surviving in nature under extreme conditions, on the windowsill become moody and demanding. Creating comfortable conditions (ideal temperature, humidity, top dressing) leads to plant growth, its accelerated development, but not flowering.
What to do if it does not bloom?
Proper care of astrophytum implies the creation of conditions of detention that are close to the usual natural habitat of the plant.
- Put astrophytum in direct sunlight. In nature, this type of cactus grows under the scorching rays of the sun.
- Do not turn!Astrophytums do not like changes in the direction of light. In order not to distort the trunk, make a turn once a year, in the fall.
- In winter, do not finish up! In the winter season, generally place them in unlit corners. Such a wintering is favorable for laying buds.
- Establish competent watering. Track the functionality of the drainage holes.
- In winter, put the plant on the balcony! At this time of year, in the habitats of astrophytum, the temperature is quite low. If you do not lower the temperature during the dormant period, then all the energy will go into growth and development, and not to bookmark the buds.
- Optimize feeding. Astrophytum in nature grows on very scarce soils. Excess fertilizer in the pot causes the plant to throw away the baby, not the flower.
Thus, by bringing the conditions of the astrophytum closer to the natural ones, it is quite possible to achieve its flowering.
Diseases and Pests
- Scabies and mealybugs. If the damage to the plant is small, wash off the pests with soapy water. Otherwise, treat with an insecticide.
- Rootworms are very difficult to notice. If the astrophytum has stopped growing and withers, and on the roots a white coating is the root mealybug. The plant requires urgent processing.
- Astrophytum star - a cactus without thorns. For its resemblance to a marine inhabitant, it is called the "sea urchin." The slowest growing species of cactus.
- Capricorn Astrophytum or Capricorn Astrophytum - has long curved thorns in the form of horns.
- The astrophytum is decorated, it is Ornatum - has eight ribs. The areoles of the ribs are decorated with white spines. In nature, it can reach a height of 2 m.
- Astrophytum coaul - densely covered with white felt dots. It blooms with bright yellow large flowers with a purplish - red core.
- Astrophytum jellyfish head - the stalk is short, resembles a cylinder. With tubercles along the entire length. Tubercles can be mistaken for leaves. Their length reaches 19 - 20 cm.
Learn more about the types of astrophytum here.
Astrophytums are a very unusual and interesting group of cacti. Growing them is not easy and troublesome. But worries “pay off” with the rare beauty of this valuable desert flower.
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Ornatum or Astrophytum decorated - species description (A. ornatum)
The first cactus described in 1827 under the name Echinocactus ornatus. Later it became known as Astrophytum ornatum (ornatum). The highest of all types.
The photograph shows a decorated astrophytum - spherical indoor plants. With growth, the cactus lengthens, maintaining a diameter of 10-12 cm. It can reach 25-30 cm in height. In the natural environment grows up to 1 meter. The stem is dark green in color, with straight or slightly curved ribs most often eight. The areoles are 2-2.5 cm away from each other and contain 5-8 pieces of thin long spines in a bundle up to 4 cm long. The ribs are covered with horizontal rows of white blotches that create patterns on the stem.
The species has one feature - it begins to bloom at the age of 6-7 years. The flowers have a pale yellow tint, up to 10 cm in diameter, bloom in early summer. The fruits are green.
Astrophytum of myriostigm called speckled (A. myriostigma)
The discoverer of the species was Galeotti, who gave it the preliminary name Cereus callicoche (callicoche is a beautiful starfish), which was later renamed Astrophytum myriostigma. Known as multi-stalked or speckled. The plant served as the basis for the description of the genus.
Thanks to this species, Charles Lömer in 1839 isolated it in a separate genus, which he called Astrophytum (from the other Greek “plant-star”), and “myriostigma” - a thousand points.
In the photo, the cactus Astrophytum myriostigma of the correct geometric shape of 5 ribs, resembling a star with rays. For its unusual shape it has the name "bishop's miter."
The most simple astrophytums in home care: decorated (ornatum) and speckled (myriostigma).
As they grow, the stems from a small star ball become cylindrical. 5-6 pronounced ribs. Silver-green color, without thorns. Covered with specks, which in reality are tufts of villi. Inflorescences are large, yellow, funnel-shaped.
This first type of astrophytum defined the name of the entire genus according to one attribute, unique to it. In the future, two more traits were determined (the shape of the seeds and the shape of the flowers) by which the plants were assigned to this genus.
Since 2002, new species have been discovered. At that time, the genus was considered to be established and no one assumed that specimens related to it could be found.
Astrophytum jellyfish head - species description (A. caput-medusae)
Discovered in 2002 by researchers Carlos G. Velasco Masias (Carlos Velazco) and Manuel Nevarez de los Reyes (Manuel Nevarez). This species was originally placed in a separate genus Digitostigma. His appearance is well described (digito stigma - speckled fingers). Some similarities with Ariocarpus agavoides and Leuchtenbergia principis are noted.
Digitostigma (Astrophytum) head of a jellyfish / Digitostigma (Astrophytum) caput-medusae ... Significantly different from known astrophytums.
A little later, the scientist David Hunt proposed to transfer the cactus to the genus Astrophytum. The name “jellyfish head” (caput-medusae) is retained. Flowers and seeds are similar to representatives of a genus already known to us.
It grows singly, rarely grows, the stem is short cylindrical. Height rarely exceeds 19 cm, width up to 5 cm. It is strewn with many bristles painted in light coffee color, sometimes with reddish hues. The tubercles of the base are slightly similar to the leaves. The root in size is approximately equal to the aerial part of the plant, in itself quite fleshy, spindle-shaped.
The upper layer of the stem is almost completely covered with grayish specks, painted in light green. Spines 1-3 mm long, slightly bent, strong. Usually there are several. Prickly-bearing areola large covered with white wool. Flowers in diameter 50 mm, located on growing tubercles.
Green fruit in the shape of an egg. Ripening, it begins to dry out and crack in the horizontal direction. Seeds are black, shiny, 3 mm in length, do not exceed 2 mm in width.
Asterias or Astrophytum stellate (A. asterias)
For its resemblance to the sea inhabitant, it is called “asterias”, “starfish”, and “sea urchin”. Slowly growing stalk, gray-green, spherical, slightly flattened, of small stature, devoid of spines, with weakly pronounced ribs, next to which there are white dots. It blooms with silky large flowers of a shade of yellow or cream with an orange-red center.
Photo: A. asterias (stellate) is somewhat difficult to care compared to others, but the most original. Served as the basis for the breeding of new varieties.
Capricorn or Capricorn Astrophytum (A. capricorne)
It has long curved spines in the form of horns, 6-8 ribs. The stalk of a young cactus is spherical, with time the shape lengthens, takes the form of a cylinder. The color is emerald, but due to the small, light hairy dots it seems whitish. The areoles at the tops of the ribs, from them grow long, branching brown spines, 5-7 pieces each. They wrap themselves around the entire stem, forming a cocoon, making it invisible in the environment.
Features of care, photos of flowers, types and varieties of indoor astrophytums - domfloris.ru.
It blooms in early summer, reaching the age of 3-4 years, if the conditions of the house and care for astrophytum are good enough. Flowers up to 10 cm in diameter, yellowish with a red-orange center, bloom at the top of the stem. It is possible to observe the opening of the buds only in the daytime.
Coaulins or astrophytum coaul (A. coahuilense)
The stem of this cactus is smooth, without thorns and pubescent areoles, but, like all species, is covered with small bright dots. The average number of grown, deep ribs is 5-6. With age, the ribs thicken and smooth out a bit. This variety is characterized by longevity - succulents can exist up to 150 years. Blooms with yellow large flowers. Usually it fades after 2-3 days, after it others dissolve. Photo: astrophytomas coaulins ... Looks like a myriostigmus.
How to care for astrophytum?
In summer, plants require as much heat and light as possible, can tolerate direct sunlight, but preferably bright diffused light. They feel comfortable in rooms where the temperature does not exceed +28 ° C.
In summer, watering is moderate; in winter, absolute dryness of the soil at a temperature of about +6 ° C. At temperatures below 12 degrees, the astrophytum plant is not able to absorb water and such watering will only bring harm.
The signal for irrigation is the loss of turgor or aggravation of the relief of the stem - carefully pour a small amount of water. It is better to carry out lower watering so that water does not fall on the stem. Do not allow excessive moisture.
It is fed once a month in the spring and summer, with fertilizers for cacti, diluted concentration, in the fall and winter without feeding.
They grow astrophytums both on their own roots, also grafting on echinopsis. Grafted on a hardy stock, it grows easily, home care for astrophytum does not require much effort.
A transplant is carried out only when the roots fill the earthen lump. They pick up a small pot slightly larger than the old one; when transshipment, they try not to clean the ground from the roots.
Astrophytums prefer nutrient land with the addition of peat soil, coarse sand, charcoal. Poor tolerance of increased calcium in the soil.The development of the root system is very slow, therefore, adult plants are enough to transplant every 3-4 years, or even less, depending on age.
Reproduction of astrophytums by seeds
The plant itself does not give children, so the cultivation of astrophytum is possible only by seeds. You should pay attention to the “mix” series, several types are offered in one bag, which will expand the collection. They germinate quickly, provided that the age of the seeds is no more than two years. The best time for the propagation of astrophytum by seeds is spring-summer, the optimum temperature is + 20 ° C.
Love the heat. In the summer, you need a temperature of 20-25 degrees. Need a temperature difference at night and day, because the plant is better placed in the warm season on the street, but be sure to protect it from precipitation. In winter they put it in a cool room (10 degrees) and systematically ventilate it.
Need low humidity, you can not spray.
How to water
In the summer, watering is done after the earthen coma is completely dry, and in the winter, when the cactus begins to dry. Even a few extra droplets can harm the plant. It is recommended to water from the pan to prevent moisture from entering the lower part of the stem, which is very sensitive. With the onset of autumn, astrophytum is watered less and less each time, and in the winter months the earth should be dry. For watering, you can use hard hard lime water.
When the period of active growth begins, the plant needs additional nutrition. To do this, use complex mineral fertilizers for cacti (1/2 part of the recommended dose). Fertilize the soil once every 4 weeks. In winter, cactus is not fertilized.
Transplantation is extremely rare, only when the roots cease to fit in the pot. During the transplant, make sure that the root neck is not deepened, otherwise it may rot. The flower pot should not be much larger than the previous one.
For the drainage layer, claydite or broken brick should be used. The top layer is recommended to be made of decorative, small stones with different colors. Thus, you can avoid contact of the plant with water.
Astrophytum stellate (Astrophytum asterias)
Grows slowly and has no thorns. Very similar to a green-gray ball. In diameter it can reach 15 centimeters. This plant is also called "cactus - sea urchin." There are 6-8 ribs, in the middle of which there are fluffy, round areoles, painted in gray-white. Flowers in diameter reach 7 centimeters and appear between July and September. They are painted yellow and have a reddish center. In spring, it does not tolerate direct rays of the sun. Cactus should be switched to summer mode gradually. So, at first they shade it, and after getting used to it, such a cactus can be safely placed in the sunniest place.
Speckled Astrophytum (Astrophytum myriostigma)
This is the most unpretentious cactus of this species. It has no thorns, and the stem is painted dark green. On it is a huge number of small felt specks painted in white. This is what makes this plant very spectacular. There are various forms, namely: flattened, round, high. The number of sufficiently large ribs is different, but most often there are five. Flowers in diameter reach 6 centimeters, and they are painted in saturated yellow color, and also sometimes there is an orange-red pharynx.
Astrophytum Capricorn (Astrophytum capricorne)
The young plant has a round shape, which eventually becomes cylindrical. In diameter, this cactus can reach 15 centimeters, and in height - 25 centimeters. Most often there are 8 ribs. On the cactus there are many long, fancifully curved spines that bear a clear resemblance to goat horns. The stem is painted in dark green color, and there are many light specks on it. The flowers are saturated yellow and have a reddish center. There are many varieties: there are no specks, it has long spines of a brownish or yellow color, and the spines can bend in the most bizarre way.
Astrophytum decorated (Astrophytum ornatum)
Caring for him is quite simple, but he grows very quickly. It has many spines. This species is considered the highest. So, in the wild, this cactus can reach 2 meters in height. In indoor conditions, it grows up to 20-30 centimeters in height, and in diameter - 10-20 centimeters. Over the entire surface it has felt strips (speckles) forming unusual patterns. Indoor flowering rarely occurs. In the wild, only old plants bloom.
Among lovers of cacti, cultivars of astrophytums are also very popular, which are artificially removed by crossing different species or by selection. Very spectacular are Japanese cultivars - onzuko. Their difference in large specks, due to which unusual patterns are formed on the surface of the astrophytum.