Can I Plant an Old Lady Cactus in the Ground?

Can I Plant an Old Lady Cactus in the Ground?

Yes, but only in USDA zones 11-13, or you can use them in a container and move inside for fall and winter. Either way, the cactus requires well-draining soil that is on the gritty side.

Place the plant in full sun or part shade and plant it outdoors where there is some protection from the western sun, which can cause sun scorch. These cacti need four to six hours of bright light to thrive.

When planting old lady cacti in the ground, the most important consideration is the hole into which you put the plant. Minimally, the hole should be a foot deep and a foot wide. 

Scientific: Mammillaria hahniana (formerly Mammillaria microcarpa)

Common: old lady cactus, birthday cake cactus.

Family: Cactaceae

Origin: Slopes and canyons of submontane matorral and deciduous forest in the central Mexico regions of Guanajuato, Hildago, Queretaro, and San Luis Potosí.

Hardiness zones

Sunset 11-13

USDA 9 (with protection)-11

Light: Full sun to partial shade. Needs protection from landscape western sun in Phoenix (especially strong reflected western light), however, it grows best in an eastern exposure.

Soil: Must have a well-drained, sandy to gravely soil.

Watering: Rarely needs supplemental irigation, especially during winter.

What is an old lady cactus?

Mammillaria is a large genus of cacti that are primarily native to Central America. Old lady cactus care is super easy, making it a perfect plant for a novice succulent owner. With the right care and the right situation, the plant may even surprise you with its classic bright pink old lady cactus flower.

Mammillaria hahniana is a small, rounded, chubby cactus with up to 30 short white spines per areole. The whole effect is that of a small barrel cactus covered in snowy fur. These cacti are 4 inches (10 cm) tall and 8 inches (20 cm) wide.

Over time, mature cacti form small offsets, which can be separated from the parent plant and used to start new plants. In late winter and early spring, it will develop funnel-shaped bright pink flowers with bright yellow anthers that last for a while. The flowers may form a ring around the top of the plant. Rarely, small orange fruits will follow.

How Do You Plant Old Lady Cactus in the Ground?

If the plant is in a pot, remove it once you’ve dug the hole. Fill the hole with water, let it soak in, then dump it out. Now you’re ready to plant your old lady cactus.

The secret to planting succulents and cactus plants is a nice deep hole. Shallow holes mean that roots tend to get exposed and damaged when we have frosty weather. This means that your plant will probably die from cold exposure or freeze damage. You’ll want to dig a hole that’s about as deep as the root ball and 1.5 times its width. 

After you’ve dug your hole, put your plant in there! You can sprinkle granulated succulent and cactus plant food into the hole and mix it with backfill soil if needed. It’s now time to water your new plant!

Can I Leave My Old Lady Cactus Outside in Winter?

Yes, you can leave your old lady cactus outside in winter. 

How Do You Make an Old Lady Cactus Bloom?

An old lady cactus needs about 4-6 hours of direct sunlight/day. If your home is not sunny or warm enough, consider using a led grow light, especially when you want to stimulate flowering. During the summer, you can move the containers outdoors, on a sunny patio or balcony.

 If you’re planning on taking it outdoors, ensure that the plant has been thoroughly watered before moving it so that it doesn’t dry out in transit. Be sure to check your plant daily so that you can water it immediately if necessary. Through proper care and maintenance, you should see flowers starting.

Does the Old Lady Cactus Bloom?

They start flowering even when it is young and with proper care, you can enjoy their flowers for most of the year. The stem of the Old Lady Cactus has a globe shape when the plant is young. As the plant matures, the stem grows in a cylindrical shape and its color changes from light green to grey-green. If you want to grow an Old Lady Cactus, make sure it receives at least five hours of sunlight every day.

Old Lady Cactus (Mammillaria hahniana): This is a solitary cactus that is spherical, with short, dense, white hair and purplish red flowers.….HGIC

How Often Should You Water an Old Lady Cactus?

Water every week or when the soil feels dry


Anwar Hossain

My name is Anwar Hossain. I am a cactus lover, researcher, and cactus blogger.

Recent Posts