Astrophytum caput-medusae or Digitostigma caput-medusae is a cactus species that has its origins in Mexico. This cactus tends to grow in the form of several narrow cylindrical stems, each of which contains several white lumps and some white hair.
The flowers of this cactus are yellow and white in color while the fruit is generally green. The cactus also features triangular tubercles as part of its structure.
111 Types of Astrophytum Cacti [With Pictures]
How to Care for Astrophytum caput-medusae
If you are growing Astrophytum caput-medusae at home, then there are several things you should keep in mind in terms of caring for this cactus. You can go through these care criteria below.
Astrophytum caput-medusae cacti require plenty of sunlight. Thus, if you are growing them on your own, then you should ensure that they receive several hours of direct sunlight. Around six hours of this should be sufficient.
This can be easier if you are growing them outdoors. If you are growing them indoors, you can simply place the pot on a windowsill of your house that receives sufficient sunlight.
Ideally, this cactus should be kept in warm temperatures of over 21℃, although they can withstand colder temperatures as well up to a certain extent. In winters, if weather conditions get too cold, you can move them inside and place them on a window.
These cacti are known to grow in USDA zones 8 and 9.
You should water your Astrophytum caput-medusae cactus once a month during spring and summer (the growing season), although more than that might also be necessary if you live in extremely hot climates. Make sure you thoroughly water this plant so that the soil becomes well soaked.
However, make sure that you do not overwater this cactus as this could cause water to collect in the pot. This can then lead to root rot, affecting the health of the cactus as well.
You should let the soil dry up completely before you water the cactus again. During winters, you can water the cactus less often due to its dormancy.
Further, you should ensure that the atmosphere around this cactus is not too humid.
You can buy a cactus mix for the soil of this cactus. You can also combine any potting soil with some sand. If you can find soil that also contains some peat, then this can be favorable for this cactus.
Generally, the Astrophytum caput-medusae requires well-draining soil that can get rid of the excess water in the pot. A coarse texture of the soil can help out with this.
You should fertilize this cactus regularly during its growing season. You should ideally use a stable fertilizer that has a good balance of all nutrients. Make sure that you dilute this fertilizer with some water as it can otherwise prove to be too strong for the cactus.
You do not need to fertilize the Astrophytum caput-medusae during winter since it becomes dormant during this season.
Pests and Diseases
Pests and diseases are relatively rare in these cacti, but they can sometimes still take place. Some common ones include aphids, scales, mealybugs and scabs. Too much watering can also cause root rot that can damage the growth of the cactus.
If you notice any signs of these pests and diseases, you should try to get rid of them as soon as possible. You can either opt for a store-bought solution or you can simply use a bit of rubbing alcohol on them.
How to Propagate Astrophytum caput-medusae
You can propagate Astrophytum caput-medusae by using seeds. Go through the following steps to get a better idea of the process.
- You should first source the seeds either from a local nursery or an online store. You can also directly find these seeds on dry flowers of the same plant.
- It is a good idea to place these seeds in water so that they can soak a bit.
- You can then start off with a flat tray that is filled with the soil mix. Make sure that the soil is moist enough in this case. You can also cover the tray with a sheet to keep some of this moisture and heat in.
- Soon, the seeds will start to germinate into seedlings. You can then keep increasing the amount of sunlight that they receive.
- You can now re-pot these seedlings into a bigger pot or container. Make sure that this container is well draining as well.
- Cover the pot with the soil mixture and quickly but carefully plant the seedlings in it.
- Follow the above care instructions properly.