Hailing from central and northern Mexico, the plant specimen Myrtillocactus geometrizans prosper from the temperate, Mediterranean-like climate of their origin.
They are part of the cactus family that can grow up to four to five meters in height with stems that are each about six to ten centimeters in diameter. Stems are tight-knit that portray dense clusters upon its growth.
They are a blue-gray color, but the overall cacti color is a greenish white. Keep in mind that for houseplants, these plants do have areoles that are spaced about one inch apart from each other.
Areoles are like stubs, or bumps as you may call it, where the spiky spines of cacti grows. Hence, do be cautious when you take care of these kinds of plants especially in a home environment.
Though interestingly enough, Myrtillocactus geometrizans grow a blueberry-type of fruit called bilberry, that is edible.
If you were ever to think about a cool topic of conversation or have to come up with ideas for a trivia night, this would be the perfect plant to discuss about.
Plant Care Guide
This sturdy cacti species needs exceptionally well-drained soil. They do not tolerate wet to moist soil for being a drought-resistant plant. To help ensure well drainage, add some gravel into the soil mix.
Gravel is a loose mix of rock fragments that aid in water filtration. In other words, gravel helps to let water seep through without making the soil retain water that could potentially lead to the plant’s decay.
You should be going for a sandy, porous and pebbly mix that not only allows great soil drainage, but also allows for great aeration.
If you want to create your own home remedy to ensure properly drained soil, check out this page by Gardening Know How where they teach you how to make your own soil for such plants like Myrtillocactus geometrizans.
In the summer months, place Myrtillocactus geometrizans directly under the sunlight. On the contrary, in the winter months, place them in a cooler lit spot.
If you think about this placement, it is like these geometrizans species go into hibernation in the winter time, as do some animal species.
Come spring, they will be able to successfully flower having been well-rested.
Keep in mind that when these plants start young, they require some light shade before growing to a mature size where full-on sunlight is needed.
Myrtillocactus geometrizans are quite robust plants that don’t need a whole lot of watering. In the summer months, you should water these plants regularly however, let them dry out completely before their next watering.
This could be done over a span of several days. In the winter months, watering becomes less than you would imagine.
You can keep this cacti dry throughout these cooler months, however, do monitor when the stems and branches start to shrivel up. When they do, you should then water them.
For Myrtillocactus geometrizans to thrive, never let temperatures drop below -4 degrees Celcius, which translates to 24.8 degrees Fahrenheit.
Though ideally, try not to let temperatures drop below 10 degrees Celsius, which is 50 degrees Fahrenheit especially in the winter.
This would help maintain consistent temperature levels with this in mind.
If you have to go below 10 degrees Celsius, then the plant must be completely dry. It is less worrisome in the warmer months as Myrtillocactus geometrizans can survive the heat so long as proper ventilation is given.
Myrtillocactus geometrizans can withstand drought, therefore, humidity may pose a slight issue for them.
You would want to keep humidity levels at a low as to protect the stems and branches from wilting and allow for the soil to dry up before its next drink.
Because the plant is thick and fleshy, as are all cacti, they are already able to store enough water to sustain in prolonged parched conditions. Hence, a relatively ideal humidity level would be roughly 30%.
In the spring and summer months, fertilize Myrtillocactus geometrizans once every three weeks, but even once a month would be okay. While these plants are hibernating in the winter time, do not feed them at all.
As with watering the plants, over-fertilizing is more detrimental than underfertilizing. When going for a specific fertilizer, anything that has a higher phosphorus level than nitrogen level is better.
A 5-10-5 nutrient balance would be ideal. For your general knowledge, fertilizers contain nutrients like nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium. When purchasing fertilizers, you may notice a three digit number ‘#-#-#.’
This shows how many pounds of nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium there are in the mix, respectively.
To propagate Myrtillocactus geometrizans, you can either do so via seeds or stem cuttings.
Propagation generally speaking would occur during the growing season of spring and summer. If propagating through seeds, you can take the seeds from the ripe fruits of this plant, clean and dry them, and then plant them in the ground.
On the other hand, if you choose to propagate using stem cuttings, allow the cut surfaces to completely dry out, which would normally take two to three weeks, before planting them into the soil.
Propagation of Myrtillocactus geometrizans is explained in further detail below.
Myrtillocactus geometrizans are quick to grow to their mature levels being four to five meters as previously mentioned. You will know that they are quite mature when you see a dense population of closely grown stems.
In terms of how long they take to grow to maturity, you won’t need to wait too long. Growth rates are quite steady and within a few months, you can already see noticeable development.
To pot Myrtillocactus geometrizans, have a roomy pot on hand and add the soil in. It is best to make sure the pot used has holes at the bottom to guarantee well drainage of water from the soil and sufficient aeration throughout the lifecycle of the plant.
This will also help leave space for more stems to grow over time.
Propagation more in depth/different methods and step-by step
To propagate Myrtillocactus geometrizans, there are two ways to do so as briefly mentioned under the propagation section. Here, we will detail out those two methods.
First, if you want to propagate the plant using stem cuttings, use a sterile knife, or a clean pair of scissors, to remove a stem from a well-grown branch of the plant. Allow for this cut piece, also known as a callous, to completely dry before potting it into its soil.
Normally, this process would take up to three weeks, but sometimes it can be more until you see a white callous being formed at the base of the cut. It is best to propagate in the warm, growing months of the year, temperatures being about 18 degrees Celsius/65 degrees Fahrenheit, for roots to properly develop.
If you want to use seeds to propagate this plant, use a ripe fruit grown from the plant and clean and dry it. Once dried, you can plant the seeds into the soil.
This process should also be done in the warm spring and summer months. Between propagating by using stem cuttings and propagating using seeds, most experienced plant owners of this species would prefer stem cuttings.
Common Problems with Myrtillocactus Geometrizans
One common problem with Myrtillocactus geometrizans is that they might not get enough space in their pots as they grow large in size.
The stems grow in dense proximity to each other and may thus fight for space.
Therefore, it is important to monitor this plant’s growth and assess when repotting is needed. Another problem to consider before investing in this cacti plant is if you are able to provide just enough direct sunlight for its livelihood.
Myrtillocactus geometrizans will eventually require full blown sunlight post-adolescent days and sometimes, Mother Nature is out of our control.
Unless you have a resolution to this problem, especially if you are located in a place that has harsh winters, then I would reconsider whether or not you should care for this plant.
Tips to Keep Myrtillocactus Geometrizans Problem-free
To keep your Myrtillocactus geometrizans problem-free, consistent monitoring of your plant is an obvious must for any plant owner.
It would be helpful to have a log regarding when its last watering was, as well as use your touch and sight to assess if the soil is completely dry and in need of watering, or if the soil is still wet enough to wait for the next watering.
It is better to have a parched plant than a watered down plant. Additionally, it would be mindful to place this plant in the brightest spot you can find at home as this plant needs a lot of love from the mighty sun!
Frequently Asked Questions About Myrtillocactus Geometrizans
What do I do if I over-watered my myrtillocactus geometrizans?
If you do over-water your myrtillocactus geometrizans, do not water the plant as you would. Wait until the soil is just dry enough to proceed normally with your watering.
If you find that your plant is extremely over-watered to the point that it is no longer salvageable, consider repotting the plant.
What you want to look out for to prevent is if the roots are rotting because they are left in damp and poorly drained soils. If this is the case, then it leads us to our next question as the plant may need to be repotted.
How do you repot Myrtillocactus geometrizans?
Myrtillocactus geometrizans will most likely need repotting about every other year due to the rate they grow and how big and crowd-dense they become.
It is recommended to repot them during their growing period in the spring and summer months and when the plant has outgrown its current pot.
Additionally, it is better to under pot than over pot, as too much soil may impact the roots and stems from growing healthily.
You would follow the same instructions as given under the potting section to repot the plant. When repotting the plant, make sure you are using everything new, from the soil to the fertilizer.
Do I need to prune Myrtillocactus geometrizans?
No, myrtillocactus geometrizans hardly needs any pruning at all. They make easy to grow plants requiring minimal care. Though, of course, you do want to constantly ensure proper lighting and that just the right amount of water is given to avoid having to prune the plant.
Why are Myrtillocactus geometrizans called the ‘blue candle cactus?’
They are called the ‘blue candle cactus’ due to their exotic blue-green hues. They also grow the fruit bilberry, which is a form of blueberry that are edible to devour.
Now, this may lead to our next question. Is it safe to eat the bilberries grown on this cacti? Yes, it is indeed safe to eat these fruits that are grown on an otherwise ‘spiky’ plant.
Myrtillocactus geometrizans make exotic desert houseplants to give some pop to your greenery and landscape. They might not be the plant most seen around at home, but with proper care and precision, it is possible to care for this plant if you so desire to.
These candelabra-like plants are showstoppers and will add some spark to any garden or greenery. They are sturdy and if you think about this article overall, they are probably one of the few plants out there that need minimal and easy care.
There may be a common misconception regarding these plants that they would be unsafe to have in a household due to their spiky physical appearance and the size with which they grow to.
Nevertheless, any person who invests in such a plant would be assumed to be a responsible caregiver to ensure proper treatment and avoid any hazards.
What better way to grow some bilberries of your own than with Myrtillocactus geometrizans! Bon appétit!