The Ariocarpus is a cactus plant that contains several species in its genus. These cacti are commonly found in parts of the United States as well as Mexico.
You can go through this Ariocarpus care and propagation guide if you want to learn how you can grow this cactus by yourself.
Types of Ariocarpus
1,000 Types of Cacti with Pictures
How Do You Care for Ariocarpus?
Ariocarpus cacti require several optimal conditions under which they can grow healthily. Let’s take a look at some of these conditions in detail here.
This cactus needs plenty of direct sunlight to be able to grow well. Thus, you should keep it under the sun for a few hours during the day if you are growing it outdoors. If you are growing it indoors, you can locate a balcony or windowsill that receives enough sunlight.
However, you should not provide extremely intense light to this cactus either since this can cause burns and damage its growth. A good way to avoid this if you live in hot climates is by keeping it in shade during the hottest parts of the day.
The Ariocarpus can grow well in room temperatures and can also withstand lower temperatures.
You should water the Ariocarpus on a regular basis during its growing season, which is usually spring and summer. You can extend your watering routine till fall as well. Make sure you water this cactus well but make sure you do not overwater it as this could lead to root rot, as is common with several cacti.
To get a better idea about how often you should water this plant, you should test out how moist or damp the soil is. Water the plant only once the soil has become dry.
You do not need to water this cactus in winter since it becomes dormant during this season and can survive without much care.
You should use well-draining soil for this cactus. You can simply buy a cactus potting soil or soil mix from a store or nursery. Make sure that this soil is loose and coarse enough to allow the water to drain through quickly.
You can also add some perlite and sand to the soil to improve the aeration. Limestone is another element that will enrich the growth of this cactus.
You can fertilize this cactus once a month or simply whenever you water it (which will also be around once a month). You should use a fertilizer that has a good and equal balance of the necessary nutrients such as nitrogen, phosphorous and potassium.
You should also dilute this fertilizer a bit so that its strength does not overwhelm the cactus too much. Do not feed too much fertilizer to the Ariocarpus as this will do more harm than good.
You do not need to add fertilizer to the soil during winter as it does not need too much care during its dormant period.
Pests and Diseases
This cactus is prone to pests like mealybugs and scale diseases. You can try to spot them early on and use a pesticide or insecticide to get rid of them. You can also use a homemade solution using rubbing alcohol.
Commonly, overwatering and overfertilization can cause issues as well. You should also find a large enough pot for this cactus to accommodate its roots otherwise it could wither quickly.
How to Propagate Ariocarpus
You can propagate Ariocarpus using either seeds or cuttings. Go through the following points to learn about the process.
- You will need to plant the seeds or cuttings during spring so that you can give the cactus enough time to grow. Seeds will take a bit longer than cuttings.
- If you are using cuttings, you should let them become dry enough before planting them.
- Take a large enough pot or container. If it is not naturally well draining, you can use one with holes.
- Cover the pot with soil mix and then plant the seeds or cuttings into it.
- Add a bit of water and fertilizer at this point and then follow the required care conditions.
- Make sure you do not water the cactus too much at the beginning, as this could harm the growth.
- You should also gradually introduce the plant to sunlight so that it does not burn early on.
- You will need to repot the cactus within a couple of years to a larger container.
How Fast Do Ariocarpus Grow?
Ariocarpus cacti have a slow growth rate and can grow up to 20 cm tall. It can take these cacti several years to reach this height, sometimes even taking fifty years. Even if you are growing it at home, this cactus might take up to ten years to start growing flowers.
Apart from that, however, it will keep growing gradually every year. Using cuttings will make the process slightly faster as compared to seeds.
Ariocarpus Species and Varieties
Small rosette-shaped cactus with stiff, rough, dark green tubercles. It looks very little like a cactus and more like a Haworthia (or a small Agave, hence the name).
Ariocarpus agavoides subs. sanluisensis
The peculiarity of the ”sanluisensis” variety is the presence of spines in the areoles, this characteristic is sometimes found also in the plant from Tula (even if very rare), while most of the plants from San Luis Potosi are spiny. The plants from the different known populations are anyhow very similar, the only noticeable difference is the presence of spines, while flowers, tubercles and size are identical.
Ariocarpus bravoanus is a usually solitary rosette-shaped geophyte cactus with dark green verrucose tubercles.
It is particularly interesting as it represents a link between the former subgenera Ariocarpus with an undivided or fully divided areole and Roseocactus subgenus with the areolar fissure.
Ariocarpus bravoanus subs. hintonii
Ariocarpus bravoanus subs. hintonii is a solitary geophyte cactus, rosette-shaped with triangular, rough, dark green verrucose tubercles.
Ariocarpus confusus is a peculiar local form somewhat intermediate between Ariocarpus retusus and Ariocarpus trigonus. The peculiarity of Ariocarpus confusus is that it usually develops deep magenta flowers (a color not found in any other populations of A. retusus/trigonus), however white or pink flowers or variations of the two or even bicolored flowers in the same plant are not uncommon.
Ariocarpus fissuratus is a geophyte plant that produces a star-shaped rosette of fleshy, deltoid to hemispheric tubercles, which have no spines and lie almost flat on the soil surface. They are usually solitary, rarely giving rise to side shoots from old areoles, they grow extremely slowly, to 20 cm in diameter.
Ariocarpus fissuratus var. intermedius
Ariocarpus fissuratus is a variable geophyte species, the most interesting variant being the Ariocarpus lloydii. However, the range of these two forms merges, giving rise to some populations with transitional characteristics known as Ariocarpus intermedius. It is usually solitary, rarely giving rise to side shoots from old areoles, it grows extremely slowly, to 20 cm in diameter.
Ariocarpus fissuratus var. lloydii
Ariocarpus fissuratus var. lloydii is traditionally distinguished from var. fissuratus by its higher, somewhat rounded and more convex stem appearing above the ground.
Ariocarpus fissuratus cv. Godzilla
The strongly structured surface and the deep color of the plants are typical, but greener or woollier plants are in the variation range of this cultivar.
Ariocarpus fissuratus cv. Green Coral
The “Green Coral” also known as Super Godzilla (Supergodzilla) is an amazing cultivar with very rough, round & short leaves probably developed by Japanese growers from the famous Ariocarpus fissuratus cv. Godzilla. The “Green Coral” must be considered the next step of “Godzilla” with larger and longer green warts on the tubercles surface and there are several slightly different types or clones in circulation.
The strongly structured surface and the deep color of the plants are typical, but greener or more warty plants are in the variation range of this cultivar.
Ariocarpus kotschoubeyanus are very flat geophyte cacti that produce small star-shaped rosettes. They in most cases don’t reach more than only a few centimetres above the ground. Although they can form clumps, often only a small disc of tubercles can be seen flat at the soil surface, however, these plants grow a large tap root below the surface of the compost.
Ariocarpus kotschoubeyanus subs. albiflorus
Ariocarpus kotschoubeyanus subs. albiflorus is a dwarf cactus with a unique and remarkably beautiful shape. It is a small growing form of the variable Ariocarpus kotschoubeyanus and is distinguished for the white or pale pink flowers.
Ariocarpus kotschoubeyanus subs. sladkovskyi
Ariocarpus kotschoubeyanus subs. sladkovskyi differs from the other red flowering kotschoubeyanus (that have a dull and rough epidermis) for having a smoother and shiny epidermis.
Ariocarpus kotschoubeyanus var. elephantidens
The southerly form (A. kotschoubeyanus var. elephantendens) are much larger with larger, highly textured, triangulate tubercles and a deep purple flower with little or no white content.
Ariocarpus kotschoubeyanus var. macdowellii
The plants in northern populations (known as Ariocarpus kotschoubeyanus. var. macdowellii) are smaller than the type, with small beak-like tubercles and pale mauve flowers, often with a high white content in the outer petals.
Ariocarpus retusus, commonly known as the “Star Rock” is one of the largest species that distinguishes for the fat triangular tubercles forming a starry rosette. It is a widespread and extremely variable plant. Tubercle size and shape vary widely, a terminal areole is sometimes present at the tip. The vast amount of phenotypic variation in the species has led to the erection of several variants and has received numerous unnecessary names of no botanical value.
Ariocarpus retusus subs. elongatus
Ariocarpus elongatus differs from the standard Ariocarpus retusus only for its longer and thinner tubercles, all the other characteristics clearly show that they are conspecific.
Ariocarpus retusus subs. pectinatus
This plant differs from the standard Ariocarpus retusus for its short pectinated spines already present in young specimens. The spines persist with the age, but in the adult plant, they are partially covered by fur.
Ariocarpus retusus subs. scapharostroides
Ariocarpus retusus subs. scapharostroides is characterized by erect angular tubercles, superficially reminiscent of Ariocarpus scaphirostris.
Ariocarpus retusus cv. Cauliflower
Ariocarpus retusus cv. Cauliflower is an odd cultivar that has a completely or partially warty and bumpy epidermis that gives it the features of a cauliflower hence its name cv. cauliflower.
Ariocarpus retusus cv. Frumdosus
Unlike the type species, this cultivar has not convex, bulging tubers, but is flat and smooth giving them an aspect of tetrahedron.
Ariocarpus retusus cv. Maruibo
Unlike the type species that has more or less triangular tubers, Ariocarpus retusus cv. Maruibo has fat round tubercles that look like small spheres ending with large woolly areolae.
Ariocarpus retusus cv. Mituibo
Ariocarpus retusus cv. Mituibo (a.k.a. cv. Three Finger or Tresfinger) is an odd cultivar with the tip of each tubercle split into three points as three fingers, a bit like a trident with a large central section and two smaller ones on each side.
Ariocarpus retusus cv. Tama Botan
It is a cultivated selection with very wide leaflike, divergent tubercles. The tubercles are 3,5 to 5 cm wide, and are as wide as long or wider in adult specimens.
Ariocarpus retusus var. furfuraceus
Ariocarpus retusus var. furfuraceus differs from the standard Ariocarpus retusus only for its equilaterally triangular tubercles, all the other characteristics clearly show that they are conspecific.
Ariocarpus scapharostris (previously known as Ariocarpus scapharostrus) is a slow-growing grey-green, geophytic cactus rising barely above ground level.
Ariocarpus scaphirostris var. swobodae
Ariocarpus scaphirostris var. swobodae is a geographical forms of Ariocarpus scaphirostris which differs from the standard species only for its very soft tubercles, but is likely to fall within the natural variation of the species.
Ariocarpus trigonus is one of the largest species that distinguishes for the long leaf-like triangular tubercles and peculiar yellow flowers. It is quite variable in tubercle shape and size and has received numerous unnecessary names of no botanical value, representing no more than local phenotypes
Ariocarpus trigonus var. horacekii
Ariocarpus trigonus var. horacekii differs from the standard Ariocarpus trigonus only for its smaller body, all the other characteristics, namely tubercle shape and flowers color clearly show that they are conspecific.