Chin Cactus


Cactus collectors should have at least one chin cactus in their menagerie. Native to Argentina and certain other parts of SE South America, these varieties need some protection from searing sun and even do well in partial shade. They do have the same soil, water and nutrient needs of their desert cousins. All in all, a very easy plant to grow with few specialized cultivation needs.

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Gymnocalycium anisitsii cv centipede

Like most cactus, chin cacti do not have a deep root system and can thrive in a shallow dish container. They are not winter hardy and are best suited as houseplants unless you live in a hot region. A bright, but filtered, light location is best for growing chin cacti. Use well-draining, gritty cactus soil. Water when the soil dried out, usually once per week in summer. In winter, it is best to leave the plant dry. Fertilizer is not usually necessary unless the plant is struggling. Use a good cactus food at the start of the growing season that has been diluted to half strength. Cacti are one of the easiest plants to grow and rarely have problems. The most common is over watering, which can cause root rot.

Some species grow 7 inches (16 cm.) high and 12 inches (30 cm.) around, but the majority remain under 5 inches (13 cm.). This makes these diminutive cacti perfect for combination succulent dishes. The flowers are large for such small plants, around 1.5 inches (3 cm.) across and come in red, pink, white, and salmon.


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