Notocactus (2005)

PhotoBy Don Krechel (November 2005)

The popular notocacti are considered some of the easiest-to-grow cacti. You can find them just about anywhere. Some local nurseries have them, department stores have them, hardware stores have them and Frank’s at one time had them.

There are many varieties that can grow and even flower on windowsills for years. The genus Notocactus is mostly native to the mountains of equatorial South America.

These plants vary from large single globes to those that multiply into great colonies. Notocacti also have a great diversity of spines.

They seem to grow best in humusy, nutritious, slightly acidic, porous soil. They enjoy the high summer heat and a bright, sunny location. But these cacti are mostly native to grasslands, so broken sun protection from the blazing summer sun is required, mainly by the less-spiny varieties.

In the growing season, notocacti want plenty of water and a constant low level of moisture. If they dry out too much in the summer, they tend to lose some of their roots. But they must not be watered during their colder winter dormancy period because they can rot. A bright winter is needed to set their flower buds for the upcoming spring and summer blooming seasons.

Notocacti have large diurnal flowers that open at dawn and close at dusk. Several flowers usually emerge from the crown area at a time. These can last for many days. Many notos begin flowering at just 2 years old.