If pumpkins were green, smaller and had snowy outgrowths, it would be called a sand dollar cactus, a weird description but that’s how this cactus appears to me. Even after being a cactus, this plant doesn’t really have thorns. Instead they are covered with white round cotton like tiny balls. These plants are loved by succulent lovers for their unique look as well as the single flower that grows on top of the stem like it’s very own crown. The flowers come in different variants of green, red and pink. Bringing this plant home is like gracing your living space with the cactus royalty herself!
Common name: Sand Dollar Cactus / Star Cactus / Sea Urchin Cactus
Scientific name: Astrophytum asterias
Size: The spherical stem can grow about 6 cm long in height and 15 cm in diameter.
Maintenance: As mentioned earlier, these plants are like royalties. Thus, it will require a little effort and patience to keep them healthy.
Toxicity: There isn’t any proof of this plant being poisonous to humans or pets. However, the spiky exterior itself makes it dangerous to be around pets or children so keeping them to a distance will be wise.
Not letting the plant sit in water for long is the trick to keep this plant healthy. It is to be watered like you would water any other succulent. However, if you’re new to the succulent world, water only when the soil is really dry to touch.
The plant enjoys a good amount of sun, thus planting it in a place where it gets a good amount of direct sunlight and some partial light will prove to be beneficial for a healthy growth.
Any soil can work till it can drain the water well. If the soil keeps the water standing still, it will be disastrous for the plant. A soil low in nutrients isn’t a problem either.
The plant loves to grow in minimal humidity. Moisture in air can result in stunted growth of this beauty which would be a shame. Keep the plant in low humidity areas.
The plant will enjoy a good spray of an all purpose liquid fertilizer during the growth season to boost its growth and even the blooming. Do avoid giving any additional food during winters.