Aztekium hintonii: The Cactus So Unique, It Almost Went Extinct

Can you imagine a cactus so rare and unusual that it narrowly escaped being wiped off the face of the Earth? Meet Aztekium hintonii, the little succulent warrior that has defied the odds of extinction. This peculiar Mexican gem is about to captivate your heart with its one-of-a-kind appearance and remarkable survival story.

aztekium hintonii

About Aztekium hintonii

Native to just a tiny area in the Mexican state of Nuevo León, Aztekium hintonii is a solitary, round cactus that grows in clumps with distinctive ridges. As it matures, its spines disappear, revealing a plump, spineless body topped with dazzling magenta-pink flowers. This living sculpture is as beautiful as it is rare.

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How to Care for Aztekium hintonii

Though sourcing this endangered plant may be challenging, those lucky enough to own one can keep it thriving with the right care. Follow these tips to unlock the secrets of cultivating the amazing Aztekium hintonii.


This sun-seeker craves bright light but protects its delicate skin from scorching rays. Place it in a spot with morning sun and afternoon shade, or use a grow light adjusted to provide moderate brightness.


Like a true desert dweller, Aztekium hintonii has specific hydration needs. During its spring and summer growing season, water thoroughly only once the soil is bone dry. Then in winter dormancy, keep it parched—not a single sip! Proper watering prevents root rot.


Recreate its natural gritty habitat with a well-draining cactus soil mix amended with sand, loam, pebbles, and stones for an airy texture. Steer clear of alkaline soils; this compact wonder prefers a neutral pH. If grafting onto another cactus, the rootstock’s soil will suffice.

aztekium hintonii


Channel the plant’s inner growth spurt once a year with a cactus-specific fertilizer at the beginning of the growing season. Then apply a diluted dose monthly until dormancy for a gentle nutrient boost aligned with its natural cycle.

Temperature and Humidity

Hailing from Mexico’s deserts, Aztekium hintonii loves warm, sunny days with low humidity. Aim to keep it between 50-90°F (10-32°C) with excellent air circulation. In winter, never let temperatures drop below 40°F (5°C).

Pests and Problems

When cared for correctly, this tough cookie sidesteps most pests and diseases. However, keep an eye out for mealybugs and spider mites, which can damage stems and roots if left unchecked. Rot is the main concern, prevented by proper watering.

aztekium hintonii


Thanks to its slow growth habit and single-clump form, the Aztekium hintonii is virtually pruning-free. Its flowers wither away naturally after blooming.

Potting and Repotting

Any well-draining container will house this compact marvel. If grafted, leave it potted with its cactus rootstock. Given its lethargic growth, repotting is seldom required.

Aztekium hintonii Propagation Methods

Multiplying this endangered jewel requires the greatest virtue a plant parent can possess—unwavering patience. Propagating Aztekium hintonii is an extremely slow yet rewarding process.

For those up for the challenge, there are two main propagation methods:

From Seed:

  1. Sow fresh seeds in a sterile germination tray and provide adequate moisture
  2. Once sprouted in 2-4 years (!), carefully transplant the delicate seedlings

From Cuttings:

  1. Take a stem cutting, allowing the wound to callose over for a few weeks
  2. Dip the calloused end in a rooting hormone and plant in well-draining soil
  3. Rooting can be erratic, so don’t lose heart if it takes many months
  4. For a higher success rate, try grafting the cutting onto an established cactus rootstock

Whichever route you choose, patience must be exercised. Maintain the proper care conditions, adjusting for the needs of delicate new growth. With meticulous monitoring, new offsets will eventually produce pups that can be separated to start new plants.

While conventional propagation is viable, the rarest forms of this species can only be preserved through laboratory seed cultivation and micropropagation. For the committed few, propagating Aztekium hintonii is the ultimate test of green-thumbed perseverance.