Sulcorebutia (2009)

PhotoBy Nikki Murdick (October 2009)

Sulcorebutias are a large grouping of plants from South America, Bolivia to be exact. They live in the Andes Mountains at heights between 6,500 and 13,000 feet.

They are small, globular plants that can form clusters, and some have deep taproots. The areoles are vertically elongated on most within this species. The spination can be of different colors – yellow, reddish-brown or white – and there are no central spines.

Sulcorebutias are considered easy plants to grow. They prefer full sun in winter with filtered light in the summertime. They need to be well ventilated and do not like excessive heat. Their preferred temperature range during winter is from a low of 40 degrees (they do not tolerate frost) and a high of 68 degrees.

During the spring and summer (April through September), the plants need moderate watering, with no or very little water from October through March. They are more rot prone than the rebutias. As sulcorebutias are very attractive to spider mites, it was suggested that during the summer a weekly shower with the hose is advisable.

These plants bloom abundantly during spring once they reach 2 or 3 years of age. The flowers can be red, violet, yellow and sometimes (although rarely) white. The flowers appear on the sides and base of the plants and closely resemble those of rebutias.

Two good websites for identifying sulcorebutias are:

To view photos of sulcorebutias in habitat, see:

Henry Shaw Cactus Society Digest, April 2008 and July 2005
The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Cacti – Innes and Glass
500 Cacti – Preston-Mafham
Cacti and Succulents – Schuler
Cacti and Succulents: Step by Step to Growing Success – Keen