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Lobivia Cactus: Great for Small Spaces

The Lobivia cactus, Lobivia arachnacantha, is native to South America. The plant is a dwarf species also referred to as the Cob cactus. There are approximately 70 species of Lobivia with most being considered a good beginner house plant. 

Lobivia arachnacantha

Lobivia Cactus Appearance

Lobivia cactus begin with a globular shape and elongate as the plant matures. Vertical ribs run down the length of the plant’s body and grow spikes from a central point The white spikes lay flat against the ribs and resemble spiders. Large blooms grow on stems, protruding out the side of Lobivia arachnacantha. The flowers are tube shaped with elongated petals. Each blooms lasts one to two days each and can be red, yellow, orange or purple.

Lobivia Cactus Light Requirements

Bright, direct sunlight is recommended for Lobivia when grown indoors. Place the plant in a south or west-facing window for optimal growth and blooming. If moved outdoors, dappled light or part shade is recommended to avoid scorching. Provide good ventilation indoors to avoid health issues.

Water Needs

Allow the Lobivia cactus’ soil to dry between waterings. Give water until the moisture runs out the pot’s drainage holes to ensure even distribution. Let the soil drain for 10 minutes, then drain excess water from the drip tray to prevent root rot. Follow this watering schedule during the spring and summer months. 

Temperature and Humidity

Temperature and Humidity
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Average household temperatures of around 70 degrees Fahrenheit ( 21 degrees Celsius) are ideal. Humidity levels of between 30 to 45 percent are also adequate. Maintain these temperature and humidity levels throughout the spring and summer months. Avoid temperatures below 50 degrees Fahrenheit ( 10 degrees Celsius) while Lobivia is in active growth and during blooming. 

Soil and Fertilizer

Grow the Lobivia cactus in a fast-draining succulent soil or your own mixture of potting soil amended with perlite and coarse sand at even proportions. Add a one-inch layer of small gravel to the bottom of the pot before filling with soil to improve drainage and protect the roots. Encourage growth and blooming by feeding the plant once every two weeks with a high-potassium fertilizer during the spring and summer. 

Lobivia Propagation

Propagate your Lobivia plant by cutting one of the offsets that cluster around the base of the mother plant. Choose an offset that is approximately one-third the size of the main cactus and remove it with a sharp and sterile knife. Set the offset aside, on a paper towel, for a few days to allow a callus to form over the cut end. Once callused, insert the cut end into a pot filled with a cactus soil mixture or your own amended soil mix. Water sparingly until roots form, then water as you would a mature plant. 

Wintering the Lobivia Cactus

Allow Lobivia arachnacantha to go dormant during the winter. This period of rest lets the plant divert energy from growth to bud formation for next season’s blooming. Withhold water from the plant during this time. Move the cactus to an area with temperatures around 45 degrees Fahrenheit ( 7 degrees Celsius) and no more than eight hours of indirect sunlight per day. Once early spring arrives, move the Lobivia cactus back to warmer temperatures and more sunlight. Slowly reintroduce regular waterings and begin fertilizer feedings to encourage blooming. 

The Lobivia cactus is low maintenance and takes up very little space in a sunny windowsill. Its showy blooms are relatively large in comparison to the plant and add a splash of color to your home. This cactus makes a great gift for houseplant lovers of all skill levels. 

Wintering the Lobivia Cactus

Lobivia Cactus FAQ

When Should I Repot My Lobivia Cactus?

Repot the cactus, in the spring, once it has outgrown its current pot. Provide fresh soil and ensure the roots are spread out evenly before covering them with soil. 

What Pests Infest a Lobivia Cactus?

The most common pests to infest cacti are mealybugs, scale, and sometimes spider mites. Small infestations are controlled by removing the insects with a cotton swab dipped in rubbing alcohol. Larger infestations require a treatment of an insecticidal soap. 

Why is My Lobivia Cactus Turning Brown?

Some surface browning of mature cacti, called corking, is a natural process of again and is not a sign of stress. If the browning is extensive and combined with a softening of the cacti in that area, it is likely a sign of rot. Rot is common in cacti that are overwatered. Reduce waterings and remove the affected area with a sharp and sterile knife until all rotting tissue is removed. 

Why is My Lobivia Cactus Turning Yellow?

Yellow cacti typically indicate the plant is receiving too much sunlight or is being watered incorrectly. If overexposure to sunlight is suspected, move the cactus to a place with filtered sunlight or fewer hours of direct sunlight per day. For watering issues, ensure you are only watering the plant when the soil dries out but do not let the plant go extended periods of time without water during the spring and summer.

How Tall Will My Lobivia Cactus Grow?

As a dwarf cactus, the Lobivia variety often grows no more than 6 inches ( 15 cm) tall.