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Growing Rebutia PDF Print E-mail

Rebutia Cacti

Rebutia cacti are native to Bolivia and Argentina where they grow mostly at altitudes of around 12,000 feet.

Rebutia are easy plants to grow and will reward you with brightly coloured flowers which are produced in shades of red, yellow and orange.

Rebutia pulvinosa

They usually flower in the spring following a winter rest. They are all small growing cacti and are ideal candidates for bowl gardens where a small scape can be created with great effect.

Most Rebutias produce vibrantly coloured flowers easily even on small plants such as this one - easily to grow and flower!

Growing Requirements


Most of the Rebutia cactus are intolerant to the cold and need a minimum winter temperature of 10C combined with a winter rest period.

In cultivation the daytime temperature should be kept at 20C to 30C during the summer months. The best way to grow them is on sunny windowsill or from June through September place them in a sheltered spot outside where they get strong sunlight. From September through June they should be moved to a fully ventilated sunny windowsill.

Pot Type

Rebutia 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.


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

  • 1 part John Innes no. 3 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.

Rebutia violaciflora carminea


Grow most species of Rebutia cacti in full sun during the summer and winter avoiding only the harshest summer sun, if kept too dark they may become overly lush and could be prone to rotting due to over watering, they will also be shy to produce flowers.


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 cool 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.


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