The Rebutia, also called the Crown Cactus, is a cacti genus native to Bolivia and Argentina. They can usually be found growing on high elevation mountains. These plants are characterized by their globular stems, generally quite small, with large, showy flowers. The flowers can range from shades of red to white, and they typically bloom from late winter through early summer. The plants don’t have visible ribs but tubercles that are symmetrically arranged on the stems. Rebutia Cacti are prized for these brightly-colored flowers that appear quite large in relation to the body, making them popular in both the horticultural and home décor markets.
The limits of this genus are still being explored. There is significant debate on which plants are included or excluded from the genus. As a result, there is even a high chance that significant changes may occur to its characterization in the coming years.
Rebutia Main Characteristics
|Common Name||Crown Cactus|
|Native Range||Bolivia, Argentina|
|Propagation methods||by seeds, by offsets|
|Sun||Full sun to Partial shade|
These cacti are extremely easy to care for. Any beginner can pick up one of these as an introduction to cacti and succulents without fear. You’d be hard-pressed to find a more forgiving plant. So here are a few care tips if you decide that this cactus is for you.
Light and Location
Rebutia will do best in a bright, sunny spot. A South- or west-facing window is ideal. If you feel the sunlight is too harsh, consider moving them in the shade.
Rebutia only wants to be watered when the soil feels dry to the touch. Exercise caution and wait until the top 2-3 inches of soil are dry before watering. But water thoroughly, then you do. Ensure that the potting medium is fast-draining to prevent any problems with overwatering. Reduce watering in winter.
These cacti enjoy a moderate climate. They will do best in temperatures between 60-85 degrees F. Protect from extreme cold or heat.
Crown cactus does not like humidity and will show signs of distress if the humidity is too high. Aim for a relative humidity of 40-50%. Keep them in a dry environment for the best results.
Fertilize with a cactus fertilizer in the spring and summer months when the plant is actively growing. Suspend fertilizing in winter. Like many of their cousins, these plants go dormant in the winter season.
There are currently over 30 species of Rebutia, and this number is constantly under debate as new information comes to light every day. Here are some of the more popular ones.
- Rebutia arenacea
- R. canigueralii
- R. fiebrigii
- R. mentosa
- R. minuscula
- R. neocumingii
- R. pulvinosa
- R. steinbachii
Propagating Rebutia Cacti
Propagate these cacti by dividing offsets in the spring and summer months. Offsets are small plantlets that grow off the main stem of the plant. They resemble the parent plant in every way. These cacti produce these offsets readily, and there is no need to induce their production using any special methods.
You can use a knife to cut off the offset from the parent plant or twist and pull it out in one smooth motion. Depending on the species, you might need a knife. Once you have your offset separated, you will notice that the cut end has a weeping wound that’s constantly moist. If you plant this offset while the cut end is wet, there is a high chance of rot. Allow the wound to heal; it takes a few days at most. Once you’re confident it’s callused over, plant the offset in a fresh pot filled with a cactus mix. Water thoroughly and drain well. Place it somewhere sunny and wait for it to take root.
You can also propagate by seeds, but it can be a slow process. Seeds should be sown in a sandy soil mix and kept warm and moist until germination.
Potting and Repotting Rebutia
Crown Cactus is best grown in small pots. A pot about 3-4 inches in diameter is perfect for most species. When the plant gets too large for its pot, transplant it to a larger pot. Avoid overpotting as this can lead to problems with drainage and rot.
These cacti like a fast-draining potting mix; a cactus mix is a safe choice if you have no idea what to get for your plant. You can also make your own mix by combining 1 part perlite and 1 part sand. The mix needs to be fast-draining, but if there are no drainage holes for the water to flow out of, it’s all for nothing.
When potting or repotting cacti, always use a clean pot. Avoid reusing old potting mix as it can contain insects, fungus, or diseases that might harm your plant. Repot every 2-3 years or when the plant becomes root-bound. Once you have an appropriate pot, add enough mix so that the plant is sitting at the same level as it was before. Gently tamp the mix around the plant and water thoroughly. Place in somewhere warm and bright and wait for it to take root.
There is no record of Crown Cactus being toxic to humans or animals.
Common Pests and Diseases
Crown Cactus is a hardy plant and doesn’t usually suffer from pests or diseases. However, they can be attacked by mealybugs in the spring. If sapsuckers can wreak havoc if not taken care of immediately. Be vigilant and take quick action if you find any signs. Use insecticidal soap or horticultural oil if an infestation occurs.
The most common problem with Crown Cactus is overwatering. This can lead to root rot, stem rot, and fungal diseases. Remember to let the potting mix dry out after a session before watering again.
Step By Step Guide To Care For Crown Cactus (Rebutia) (Video)
How To Take Care Of A Rebutia Cactus?
Water thoroughly in the growing season but allow it to drain completely, and wait for the potting mix to drain out before watering again. Give the plant bright light throughout the year. Try to maintain average room temperatures of 65-85 degrees Fahrenheit. Use a cactus mix in a pot with drainage holes.
How Often To Water Rebutia Cactus?
In spring and summer, water the plant moderately. Don’t water again until you feel that the soil has dried out. In winter, reduce water significantly and only give small amounts of water to prevent the soil from completely drying out.
How To Pronounce Rebutia?
The correct pronunciation is ray-BOO-sha.
“Rebutia fiebrigii” by george7cal is licensed under CC BY-ND 2.0
“File:Rebutia heliosa condorensis 1.jpg” by Otakar Sida is licensed under CC BY 3.0
“Rebutia minuscula” by Dornenwolf is licensed under CC BY 2.0