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Growing Lobivia PDF Print E-mail

Lobivia Cacti

Lobivia cacti are native to the Andes, Argentina and Bolivia in fact the name is an anagram of Bolivia which is where most of them are found. Here it grows at high altitude where the nights are cool or cold and the daytime temperatures are moderate.

Lobivia hertrichiana lauii

They tend to be fairly short growing plants with spherical or cylindrical stems which are occasionally branched. They are upright growing plants but rarely get more than 6 inches high.

This is Lobivia hertrichiana lauii

All of the Lobivia cactus have medium sized flowers which are generally yellow or red but they can be shy to flower as they require distinct resting periods to do well.

Growing Requirements


Most of the Lobivia cactus are pretty hardy plants and many can be grown as alpines in a frost free greenhouse, this is because during the winter they receive little water and temperatures can drop to below freezing but as the roots are dry then they cope very well.

In cultivation the daytime temperature should be kept below 20C and allowed to fall to 2C - 3C during the night. The best way to keep them is to grow them outside from May through September and place them in a sheltered spot where they do not get strong direct sunlight. From September through May they should be moved to a fully ventilated frost free alpine house or a cool east or west facing windowsill. Lobivia arachnacantha torrecillasensis

Pot Type

Lobivia cactus are best grown in a terracotta type pot which should have at least one drainage hole in the base and it should be unglazed. This type of pot allows good drainage and allows the compost (therefor roots) to breath. Compost

Lobivia prefer an open and very free draining compost which should consist of:

  • 1 part John Innes no. 1 compost
  • 1 part peat or coir based compost
  • 1 part sharp sand or grit
  • 1 part broken crock pieces (small)


The plants should be kept almost completely dry during the winter months, only water them to prevent the roots from completely drying out, once a month should be fine. From March onwards the plant will begin to grow and watering should be increased gradually until late May when the plant should be in full growth. As the compost is very free draining and the pot used is porous you can safely water this type of cactus at least once a week during the summer so long as the plant pot is allowed to drain and not sit in a tray of water. During hot weather you may need to water the plants once a day so long as the plant is actively growing. From late September watering should be reduced to force the plant to go in to a state of semi dormancy, by November you should be back in to the winter watering regime.


Grow Lobivia cacti in semi shade during the summer allowing only early morning sun and late afternoon sun to fall directly on the plant and prevent strong midday sun from scorching the plant. During the winter you can allow more direct light on to the plant as is is much weaker than the summer sun, keep in a west or east facing window or a south facing one if you have net curtains to protect from the harsh sun.


If the compost is fresh then feeding may not be necessary at all, if the plant hasn't been repotted recently then half strength general purpose fertilizer can be used at watering time from May onwards once a month. Do not feed the plants from September onwards as this can cause lush growth which can be fatal during the darker cold months.


Repotting should be done every other year or every three years, annual potting is not necessary. Remove the plant from its put by wrapping newspaper around the stem if it is very spiny. Carefully tap it out of the pot and remove the old compost to examine the roots, if any are damaged or showing signs of rotting they should be removed as close to the plant as possible.Re plant the cactus using the same mix of compost as it was originally in (fresh) and use a pot just slightly wider then the width of the cactus. Do not be tempted to over pot as this will cause the unused compost to go stagnant and you may loose the plant.


See propagation section for seed sowing and cuttings.

 Site by Les Pickin
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