Ortegocactus macdougallii is a slow-growing clumping cactus that grows in a very limited area in Mexico (Oaxaca). It grows at a height of 1600-2000m on rocky limestone areas where little else survives.

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They can display either black or white spines and have yellow funnel shaped flowers.

I cultivate mine in an 85-90% mineral soil with bonsai rock chips, quartz pebbles, broken bricks and some pumice all sieved out to a size of between 2 and 6mm. To this I add 10-15% of home made compost.

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I water very sparingly through summer but also occasionally mist spray the plants.

Based on the general advice of adding limestone to the mix, I did so on a previous specimen and it promptly died. Now with any species from North America I avoid limestone like the plague. They are very sensitive to overwatering when in a less than ideal well drained soil. Also they can be susceptible to attack by mealy bugs so regular checking is essential, and treat appropriately if an outbreak is found.

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Willy Verheulpen


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