A head turner for its hairy surface, this succulent gets better and better with age—in certain seasons, it’ll bloom bold red flowers and also sprout new plants from its base! Here, Mitch Morgan, succulent specialist at Mission Hills Nursery, fills out our tip sheet on the quirky and effortless fuzzy cactus.
Green Thumb: Suggested
Don’t be fooled by its soft and furry appearance—this cactus will still prick you. Always wear gloves or wrap it in a T-shirt when handling and, for the easiest care, keep it outdoors. Good news for your utility bill: It needs just one watering per month.
As with most cacti, this species prefers full sun for at least six hours a day. And while it grows especially slowly, increased exposure can accelerate it. Morgan has seen well-lit fuzzy cacti grow as much as one foot per year and sprout shoots—often called “offsets” or “pups”—at their base, which you can pull out of the ground and replant.
Water sparsely (once a month will do) and widely around the base of the cactus, just enough to dampen the soil. As part of its adaptation to desert environments, the fuzzy cactus has roots that grow outward rather than deep down, so it can sip morning dew.
Putting your fuzzy cactus in a pot will constrain its ultimate size, but for the happiest plant, plop it right into any well-draining soil (you can also supplement yours with pumice or perlite). Keep it near other drought-resistant flora to define your low-watering area.
1525 Fort Stockton Drive, Mission Hills