Sunday, July 16, 2017

A New Cactus Joins the Group: Astrophytum ornatum

I haven't acquired any new cacti for a couple of years. I tried, several years ago, to grow the spectacular Astrophytum from seed- they didn't even germinate. They are notoriously hard to grow from seed I know, but still, I've grown Lithops from seed, so I did have some hope. Ah well.
Growing Lithops From Seed
Astrophytum are also known as Star Cacti, and they are simply gorgeous creatures. So I was thrilled to find one at, of all places, Lowes, a big box store.
Look what I found!
I like how the nursery makes a little basket pot so it's easy to transport your new cactus, injury-free. Great idea! And now, a closeup:
Astrophytum ornatum
Astrophytum ornatum is the largest of the Astrophytums (or is that Astrophyti??). It's a native of Mexico and can grow about 12 cm wide and 1 meter tall! Of course, that takes a long, long time. Yellow flowers arrive in summer. The white flecks on the stem are unique to this genus. They can tolerate high temperatures and high levels of sunlight, and are somewhat frost-tolerant. Water sparingly, as this genus is very prone to root rot. I'll be keeping mine indoors, as we get flooding rains on a frequent basis here.


  1. I would love to learn how to grow lithops from seed. How do you go about that? Is that star cactus the same as a bishops cap? I have the Bishops cap but they don't have the prickles.

  2. Yes, the Astrophytum is sometimes known as Bishop's Cap, but so are other species, which I guess is why we keep the hard-to-remember-and-pronounce Latin names! The British Cactus and Succulent Society has some good forum discussions on growing Lithops from seed, you can check them out here:
    I've successfully grown Lithops from seed, but I must say, they are the slowest growers I've ever encountered! Still, it is a lot of fun. Good luck and let me know how it goes!