Close this search box.

The Easy and Adorable Spiny Pincushion Cactus

The Spiny Pincushion cactus is native to the Sonoran Desert in the United States. Mammillaria spinosissima is considered easy to grow and very drought tolerant. The plant’s small size and bright flowers make it a welcome addition to any space in your home or office.

Spiny Pincushion Cactus

Spiny Pincushion Cactus Appearance

The Spiny Pincushion cactus reaches a height of 6 inches ( 15 cm) tall. The plant is ball or barrel-shaped with white spines covering the surface. The bright-pink blooms are funnel shaped and grow like a halo around the top of the cactus. Flowering season is in the spring and summer with blooming lasting approximately seven days. 

Spiny Pincushion Cactus Light Requirements

Provide approximately 4 hours of direct sunlight per day. Full morning sun, followed by indirect light for the remainder of the day works well. A south or west-facing window is ideal or the plant can be moved throughout the day if needed. 

Water Needs

Water the Spiny Pincushion cactus once per week in the spring and summer. Allow the water to drain through the pot’s holes, then discard collected water from the drip tray. Do not allow the roots to sit in water for extended periods of time as this leads to root rot. Placing a layer of fine gravel at the bottom of the pot, before filling with soil, helps drainage and protects the roots.

Temperature and Humidity

Temperature and Humidity

The Spiny Pincushion cactus tolerates a wide range of temperatures. Keep the cactus between 50 to 75 degrees Fahrenheit ( 10 to 24 degrees Celsius) for optimal growth. Average household humidity levels are sufficient but avoid placing the cactus in kitchens or bathrooms where moisture is higher.

Soil and Fertilizer

Use a well-draining, gritty soil mixture for your Pincushion cactus. A cactus soil works well or mix your own using potting soil, pumice, and coarse sand. Feed the cactus, starting in spring, once every two weeks with a liquid fertilizer. Continue feedings until early fall.

Spiny Pincushion Cactus Propagation

Propagate this Pincushion cactus by cuttings or seeds. Seeds are collected from expired blooms and surface sown onto a cactus soil mixture. Lightly cover the seeds and keep the soil moist and covered with clear plastic wrap. Place the pot in a warm location with temperatures around 70 degrees Fahrenheit ( 21 degrees Celsius). Once the seedlings are established, move each new cactus to its own pot and follow mature plant care needs.

To propagate by cuttings, select a mature offset and remove it with a sharp and sterile knife. Let the cutting rest on a piece of paper towel until it forms a callus over the cut. Plant the cutting’s calloused end into a pot filled with cactus soil. Water lightly until the plant grows roots, then follow mature plant care instructions.

Wintering the Spiny Pincushion Cactus

Wintering the Spiny Pincushion Cactus
Edith’s Houseplants

Let your Pincushion cactus go dormant during the winter to rest and encourage more blooms next season. Keep the plant in a room with temperatures between 40 and 50 degrees Fahrenheit ( 4 to 10 degrees Celsius) with limited sunlight. Withhold water during this time. Introduce once-a-week waterings in the early spring and feed the cactus once every two weeks with a fertilizer designed for cacti. 

With proper care and the inclusion of a dormant period, your Spiny Pincushion cactus will reward you with multiple blooms during the spring and summer. This adorable cactus brightens any indoor or outdoor space and is a great plant for both beginners and seasoned gardeners. 

Spiny Pincushion Cactus FAQ

What Type of Pot Should I Grow My Pincushion Cactus In?

An unglazed clay or terracotta pot with a bottom drainage hole is recommended for all cacti. The porous material allows for wicking of excess moisture, which helps with root health.

How Should I Water My Spiny Pincushion Cactus?

Water the cactus deeply once the soil has dried out to avoid overwatering. When watering, do not pour the water directly onto the plant. Instead pour it into the soil so water can be absorbed by the roots. Water sitting on cacti, combined with cool temperatures, can lead to fungus issues.

When Should I Repot My Pincushion Cactus?

Repot your cactus when roots become visible, signaling it has outgrown its current pot. Choose a new pot one size up from the old one. On average, repotting is recommended every two to four years.

Do I Water My Cactus Before I Repot It?

No, when repotting your Pincushion cactus, or any cactus, the soil should be dry to avoid root damage. Once repotted, withhold water for a few days to allow the cactus to settle into its new home.

Should I Mist My Pincushion Cactus?

No, misting your cactus does not provide enough water for the plant to thrive. Also, water on the surface of the cactus can lead to rot.