This post most likely won’t be overly exciting to anyone other than a cactus collector. Still, a true plant lover can’t but appreciate the flowers on my Geohintonia mexicana that just opened. Cactus are the butt of many jokes from a few of my close, fellow plant collector friends that never got into the ‘cactus craze.’ Their belief is that a cactus offers nothing past 364 days a year of possible injury from spines and delivers only one day a year of flowering beauty. Yes, that can certainly be true. However, the more I get into buying unique cacti for my ceramic pots which I use to help decorate my outdoor living spaces, the more I find the exceptional beauty these cacti offer every day. Not just the days in flower. I will admit, cacti are an acquired taste for most.
The first time I ever saw a Geohintonia mexicana was at a nursery, and strictly by chance it was in flower. From that moment on I knew I wanted one. Unfortunately, the plant at the nursery had an “NFS” tag on it. I wouldn’t have another opportunity to see one for over a year. During that time period I was able to research information online about Geohintonia mexicana, which only made the plant more desirable.
A while back I found a person selling a Geohintonia mexicana on one of the many Facebook plant groups I am a regular on. The Geohintonia mexicana he had for sale had a few missing areoles and some spines were knocked off. It also had some sun damaged spots. So the purchase price I paid was considerably lower than what I have read these plants being sold for in better shape. My cactus arrived in great shape after being shipped via FedEx and I have been growing it ever since in a temporary plastic pot. Fast forward to today and luckily I was outside watering to see it had flower buds forming in the morning. The flowers on Geohintonia mexicana will only open for a few short days. If I missed this sign, I never would have made it a point to go check in on the cactus later in the day and catch it in full flower.
Geohintonia mexicana is a monospecific genus with a bluish green globose body. This plant was only discovered in 1992 just outside of Nuevo León in Mexico. After many decades, Geohintonia mexicana can reach 5 inches tall and 4-5 inches in diameter. Thanks to its attractive appearance, slow growth and the fact it is not a large plant, collectors put such pressure on the plant that it was close to extinction in the wild. Luckily this cactus can be purchased from seed stock now so the demand from wild-collected plants has shrunk.
Not only is Geohintonia mexicana beautiful out of flower; in flower it is at a whole other level. There is just something about the glowing magenta colored flowers on that blueish green, distinctly ribbed globose body. The old and weathered body feels at odds with its youthful head of flowers.
The flowers on Geohintonia mexicana look very similar to another Mexican succulent I wrote about last June – Ariocarpus agavoides.
I really didn’t expect my Geohintonia mexicana to flower when it did. The timing was bad, as I had just ordered a beautiful pot for it from Pablo Gonzales with Peety Pots. Imagine how much nicer this cactus will show when it is in a custom ceramic pot like my Mammillaria voburnensis subsp. eichlamii to the left and my Euphorbia obesa ssp. symmetrica to the right. Once I have my cactus in its new pot, I will post an update.
UPDATE: August 4th, 2016
I picked up a small Geohintonia mexicana recently as I want to plant a few into a ceramic pot. This little guy surprised me with two flowers today. I had no idea this cactus flowers at such a young age.
What are you using as your soil media?
Len Geiger says
Custom mix. Mostly pumice and shredded bark and some gypsum.