Globose or briefly columnar cacti from South America. They have green or bluish stems, with numerous ribs, from seven to twenty, depending on the species; they have round areoles, which carry numerous yellowish, brown or black thorns.
The adult specimens can reach also remarkable dimensions, with a diameter around the 20-25 cm; in summer, also the youngest plants produce numerous funnel-shaped flowers, of bright pink or white colour, which last few days, closing when the sun goes down, and tend to bloom on the areoles close to the apex of the plant. Some species are solitary, others, such as T. leucacanthus, tend to produce numerous lateral suckers and, therefore, to form thick groups.
In late summer, the adult specimens produce round red fruits containing the seeds.
Exposure: it needs very sunny locations, exposed to direct sunlight; it does not tolerate temperatures below 7-10 °C, therefore in winter it is to be sheltered in the house or in a temperate greenhouse and kept in a very luminous place. Watering: like many other cacti it does not need large quantities of water during the vegetative period, from March to October, water regularly, allowing the substratum to dry up completely between one watering and the other, and avoiding water stagnations.
From October to spring, stop watering to allow the plant to go into vegetative rest, if it is kept indoors or in a very heated place, it is best to water at least once a month. In spring and summer provide fertiliser poor in nitrogen mixed with water from watering every 15-20 days.Soil: prefers loose soils, well drained, possibly very sandy and slightly calcareous; use a substrate prepared by mixing peat, sand and volcanic lapillus in equal parts.
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It has a very good deportment….
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Multiplication: it happens by seed in spring, placing the seeds in a mixture of peat and sand which is always to be kept slightly moist until complete germination; it is advisable to supply some fungicide with the first watering of the seeds, in order to avoid the onset of diseases in the seedbed. The species which grow up can be propagated also by taking the lateral suckers emitted by the plants, placing them in a single container after having dried up, for some hours, the wound.
Parasites and diseases: the thelocactus are often affected by the floury cochineal and the red spider web; too much watering or a poorly draining substrate of cultivation can cause radical rottenness.