Huernia hystrix is an evergreen, prostrate to erect, low-growing, succulent, leafless, up to 3 inches perennial plant. It forms a small clump of five-angled stems, usually up to 8 cm long and around 1cm in thick.
The stems are usually pale green, occasionally glaucous and tinted dull purple, with spaced, swollen tubercles along the stem ridges that are tipped with sharp conical teeth pointing outwards. The flower are borne in groups of 2 to 5, bell-shaped, pale yellow to cream, marked with crimson to maroon spots. They grow on long, hairless stalks from the axils of tubercles in lower stem parts.
Huernias prefer bright light or partial shade. In nature, they grow underneath shrubs or other plants. Too much sun causes stems to develop protective reddish or purple pigmentation and can actually scald the stems. Too little light leads to weak, thin growth with decreased flower production.These plants grow best between 10 and 27 C. Protect them from freezing weather..
Huernias require a potting mix with excellent drainage. A succulent plant mix of 50 percent perlite, 25 percent vermicompost and 25 percent sand helps prevent rotting and overwatering. Roots experience die back in cool-season dormancy, so plants grow best in shallow containers that allow the soil to dry out quickly. Using clay pots further helps soil from staying too wet. An underlayment of coarse gravel below the soil mix also improves drainage. In climates with damp cool summers, a layer of gravel between the plant and the soil mix also helps prevent the stems from staying too moist. Outdoor plantings do well in raised beds.
Suitable for Container, Rock Garden & Xeriscaping
For watering cacti, the golden rule is to make sure the soil is completely dry before watering! This will stop the roots from rotting. It is advised to always use a pot with a drainage hole so that excess water can get drained out. If kept in a sunny area, you will need to water it once every week. If it is in a semi shaded or filtered light area, you might need to water it once in 2 weeks.
Cacti like soil that is well aerated and fast draining. You can fertilise the cactus in the summer months when it is in its growing season. During the winters it is best to cut back on any fertiliser and let the plant rest.
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