The Melocactus zehntneri cactus is commonly called the Turk’s cap or melon cactus. It is mainly native to parts of Brazil, although some of its varieties can also be found in places like Mexico, Peru and the Caribbean.
Typically, this cactus tends to exhibit a singular cylindrical stem with 10-15 ribs that additionally bear multiple spines along their edges. The distinctive part of this stem is the reddish cephalium at its top. The flowers are tiny and barely visible.
35 Types of Melocactus Cacti [With Pictures]
How to Care for Melocactus zehntneri
While taking care of a Melocactus zehntneri, you need to keep factors such as light, water, temperature, fertilizers, container and more in mind. Let’s take a look at some of these in further detail.
The Melocactus zehntneri needs plenty of direct sunlight to be able to grow to its capacity. For this reason, you should grow this plant in a spot where it gets over six hours of sunlight each day. This is much easier for you if you grow it outdoors.
However, if you prefer to grow it in a pot indoors, you can simply find a spot in your house that receives direct sunlight for a long time, such as a windowsill or balcony.
They also need warm temperatures to thrive. Ideally, anything above 70℉ should create a good environment for your cactus.
As compared to most other cacti, the Melocactus zehntneri actually requires more regular watering so that they can grow healthily. This is perhaps because they originate from more tropical climates.
Therefore, you should water the Melocactus zehntneri once in a few days by checking how dry or moist the soil is. You should not wait for the soil to fully dry out; some parts of it should still be mildly moist.
At the same time, you must also ensure that you do not overwater the cactus or create waterlogging as this could make the roots rot, causing the plant to die without chances of revival.
Potting & Repotting
Melocactus zehntneri tends to prefer and thrive well in compact and confined containers, which is why you must ensure that you pack the soil around the plant tightly enough. This can work well in a small pot.
Whenever you need to repot the Melocactus zehntneri (usually right before the growing season), carefully pull out the plant from the soil, brush off and clean up the roots and place it in a new ceramic or clay pot filled with fresh soil mix.
The pot should have drainage holes or must be porous enough to ensure quick water drainage. It should be slightly bigger than the previous pot, but not too much to maintain the compactness.
Melocactus zehntneri does require a sufficient amount of fertilizer to keep it healthy and to help it grow well. For this, you can easily find the appropriate kind of fertilizer through stores. These are specifically the ones made for succulents and cacti.
Make sure that you dilute your fertilizer with water so that you can fairly balance it out to suit the plant. Keeping it as it is could prove to be extremely strong for the plant and might do more harm than good.
You should add in this fertilizer mix in spring and summer so that it can aid the growth of the cactus. You do not need to do this during winter since it usually lies dormant at this time.
How to Propagate Melocactus zehntneri
The best way to propagate the Melocactus zehntneri is by using seeds. Go through the following steps to figure out the process:
- Take a pot or container and fill it sufficiently with a good soil mix that also comprises a strong draining material such as pumice.
- Sow in the seeds and cover the pot up with plastic.
- Once the seeds germinate into seedlings, you can start placing the pot in sunlight. Start off with gradual time periods so that the seedlings can get used to it before you keep in the sun for a long time.
- Once these initial few steps are done, you can move on to regularly taking care of the plant by giving it enough sunlight and water.
How to Germinate Melocactus zehntneri Seeds
In order to germinate Melocactus zehntneri seeds, you should first keep them in warm water for a while. You can then sow them into the soil mix in the container. You should seal up the pot to ensure that they retain heat and humidity for the seeds to germinate and form roots.
Once this is done, you can remove the cover.