Coryphantha calipensis (Coryphantha pallida subs. calipensis) belongs to the Cactaceae family. It is a low-branching cactus that natively grows in the arid region of Mexico. It has a globular appearance with compact clusters. As it grows, it takes on a characteristic look with its tuberculate body, spines and yellowish-green flower.
The plant grows to a height and diameter of two inches. Its stem varies from slightly elongated to globular in shape with prominent tubercles. Its youth phase begins with radial spines, most of which protrude horizontally. As it matures, central spines come into the picture. It blooms yellowish flowers during summer.
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Coryphantha calipensis can be grown as an outdoor or indoor plant in dry climates. It is suitable for 9b to 11 hardiness zones. It has average water requirements and is drought-tolerant.
Coryphantha calipensis thrives in full sun. It will grow best if it gets a minimum of six to eight hours of full sun exposure. If you have planted it outdoors, make sure the area gets direct sunlight. If you are growing it indoors, position the container on a south-facing window for maximum direct light.
It can tolerate partial sun or moderate light. Place the plant in an area where it will get some morning light.
Coryphantha calipensis has low water requirements. It is quite forgiving, making it an ideal houseplant for those who tend to forget the watering day. Overwatering is more of an issue than underwatering with this plant.
Excess water in the soil invites pest infestations and root rot. How many times you need to water the plant will depend on where the plant has put down roots. At most, water the plant once a week. Check to see if the soil has dried before the next watering session.
The type of soil also plays a role in how often the plant needs to be watered.
Coryphantha calipensis thrives in neutral soil but tolerates a pH range between 6 to 8. It needs a free-draining, light soil mix. The best growing medium for the plant contains grit and gravel mixed with organic material. This mix ensures the roots are aerated and the soil does not hold onto excess moisture.
Cacti like Coryphantha calipensis do not require excess feeding. You can use a slow-release fertilizer once a year during the growing season. Since the plant is not a heavy feeder, you will have to dilute the commercial fertilizers before application.
Excess fertilizer makes the plant vulnerable to disease and damage. It is important to find a balanced feed to promote better health and growth.
Coryphantha calipensis has no tolerance for frost. It can grow in USDA hardiness zones 9B to 11. It can tolerate cold temperature ranges between 25 to 50°F. Zone 9 has the most favorable growing conditions for outdoor growth. It has a lengthier growing season compared to the rest of the zones.
Coryphantha calipensis is fairly resistant to diseases and pests. However, you should be on the lookout for mealybugs and nematodes. Overwatering also makes the plant vulnerable to pests and fungal diseases. It leads to the roots rotting off and can even turn the entire plant mushy.
In case the plant falls victim to an infestation of nematodes, you will have to separate the healthy roots from the infected roots and repot the plant and disinfect it in order to salvage it.
Coryphantha calipensis does not require pruning.
When planting Coryphantha calipensis, use a well-draining cactus soil incorporated with gravel and sand. Make sure the container has a drainage hole to allow the outflow of excess water.
You can use a shallow container. Try and use a container made out of a permeable material such as terracotta.
There is no need for regular repotting. You can do so every few years. It will allow the plant to get a fresh start in new soil and a bigger pot. However, it is not necessary.
Vegetative propagation is the most common method of multiplying the Coryphantha calipensis. Cut off a few inches of the plant’s stem with clean shears or scissors. Allow the cutting to dry and form callouses before replanting it.
Besides using stem cuttings, you can also grow them directly from seeds or through division.
If you want to grow Coryphantha calipensis from seeds, you will have to plant them at the end of the last frost. You can also germinate them in a suitable medium before sowing them into the soil mix.
The division method of propagation involves uprooting the plant gently and splitting an overgrown section of it down to the roots. Plant the divided sections in separate containers and allow them to establish.
The best time to plant the cactus is in the month of March, after the last frost.