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Thimble cactus
Thimble cactus

Thimble Cactus

Mammillaria Gracilis Fragili

Thimble cactus is a dazzling and beautiful small cactus. It has a barrel-shaped green color body, covered with an entwining white spine. This plant grows in clumps, and it is easy to propagate.

Mammillaria is a warmer plant, so make sure that the area you live in not need be much colder. Place the plant in a container; when the climate is too colder you can bring it indoors.

The plant grows well on average to full sunlight. Plants need sunlight for at least 6 hours a day. You can observe small cream color flowers in the winter season.


Thimble cactus or “Mammillaria gracilis fragilis” Indigenous to central mexico. This cacti plant grows well in zones 9 through 11, suitable for outlook. Tolerates intense heat and drought; this is why this plant is well ideal for warmth. It would not survive when the temperature dropping below 25 F. (-4 C.)

Common Care and Propagation Information

How to water thimble cactus?

Mammillaria is a succulent plant, which is perfect for the initiators. The plant needs less maintenance and does best indoors with proper sunlight. This plant does not need regular watering. The method soak and dry is gold to use for this plant.

Make sure that the soil needs to dry completely in the space of watering. If you want to keep the plant indoor, then place it where the plant receives much sunlight, such as near south-facing windows.

Propagation is easy for this plant. It produces tiny offsets, and around the central tubercles, it gives stems in clusters and can easily remove the offsets using a sterile knife. Make them drain for several days before replanting.

Read more about succulent and cacti watering: How often water succulents

Soil and Planting

Lots of succulents and cacti lovers make mistakes when planting and choosing the soil for their plants. Although it is a most important part, people still make mistakes; all these mistakes cause your plant to die.

The best Soil for Thimble Cactus

However, the cacti plant loves drought soil, but you still need to water them; once the potting soil is thoroughly dried, only then water again. A well Drained soil is ideal for the “Mammillaria gracilis fragile” cactus plant and its care.

Buying potting mix online is also an option for you. Still, it remembers to buy a rich potting mix with proper ingredients and nutrition suitable for your plant. Soil potting mix must have 30% to 40% perlite, which provides extra water drainage.


Thimble cactus, even every cactus plant, don’t like wet soil. That is the prime cause for root rot if your plant stands in moist soil. No matter if you are an experienced plant grower, try to avoid planting in wet soil or in a pot which not have any drainage hole. Plant growers easily neglect these mistakes.

The option is to use a porous terracotta pot that has a drainage hole in the bottom. Many plant growers use this pot and love it because it breathes and further prevents soil from staying wet. It would be best to put your cacti plant in a saucer to avoid window blockage and staining.

How to grow?

Thimble grows in a warmer climate. If the weather is not friendly, then better to grow the plant indoors as a houseplant. Take a vessel, which is filled with a combination of coarse sand and regular potting mix.

You need to handle the cactus carefully because the branches of the cactus break off easily. Remember this when you want to propagate a new cactus.

Cactus grows well in standard shade to full sunlight. If you want to grow it in full sunlight, then handle it with care while moving it to a shady spot because it may burn the plant surface due to full sunlight.

In warmer months, water the plant sparingly and only if the plant appears limp, then water it, in cooler seasons between every watering, makes soil drain. When the soil is wet and soft, then the plant cactus will rot quickly; maintain the cactus once a year, in mid-spring. Use a water-soluble fertilizer, makes it half-strength.

How to propagate?

Propagation is easy with its branches. Remove the stem or offsets carefully and dry on a paper towel for a few days.

Wait up to the soft tissue like a callus form over the cut surface of the plant. By using potting soil mixture, place the new plant in a unique pot it is best to put the new plant in the not cold hardy areas Wait until new roots are a start-up to emerge and then repot the plant in a regular container

How to care?

The Thimble cactus plant genus has 300 species; everyone loves the mammillaria plants for their beneficial characteristics in cultivation and visually attractive appearance as they treats as houseplants.

These Thimble cactus are tiny in height, they grow in clumps, and they add color, fascinating look to the garden. You can see complete yellow flowers in the winter seasons, and the plant buds time is the summer months.

The Thimble cactus grows slowly, produces barrel-shaped branches in the form of clumps around the plant, and looks like a powder puff. The central part of the plant usually appears in a green or blue color.

Thimble cactus is an easy plant that grows on a window-side, which receives lots of light. The plant grows gradually in a diameter of 3” to 4” inches and 3” to 5” inches in height.

In the summer, move the thimble cactus outside for better results as they bloom in the summertime. The plant continues to live in the areas of 9 to 11 USDA hardiness. When the plant stops growing in the winter seasons, suspend water as they haze occasionally—remaining the months, water thoroughly to the plant.

When the plant starts growing, then fertilize it with water-soluble fertilizers. When the plant stops growing, suspend the feeding and water as well.

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Pradeep works as a gardener since 2015; currently, he worked as a blogger at He loves to write about succulents and many other unusual plant care and propagation tips.