How to Grow Discocactus – Melon Cactus

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Discocactus is a barrel-shaped cactus that grows no taller than 6 inches high. It has a wide and round body with many ribs and thick spines. Discocactus bears large whitish, funnel-shaped flowers that open at night.

Discocactus are demanding and difficult to grow. They want an airy and warm bright location. The soil must be porous and mineral-rich. They can not get cold in winter; they want temperatures between 5and 59℉ (12-15℃). A well-lighted greenhouse is one of the best places to grow Discocactus.

Discocactus flowers from a cephalium at the crown. The flowering head is composed of cottony fibers and a few bristles. Flower buds emerge in the late afternoon, open in the evening, and fade the following morning.

Discocactus is native to Brazil, Paraguay, and Bolivia.

Get to know Discocactus

  • Plant type: Cactrus, melon cactus
  • Hardiness temperature: 50℉ (10℃)
  • Shape and size: Grow to 6 inches tall; wide and round bodies
  • Flowers: Large, whitish, funnel-shaped flowers; flowers appear from cephalium; blossoms open at night
  • Bloom time: Summer
  • Common name: Discocatus, melon cactus
  • Genus name: Discocactus
  • Family name: Cactaceae
  • Origin: South America

Planting Discocactus

  • Grow Discocactus in an airy, warm location.
  • Grow Discocactus in porous soil that is mineral rich.
  • Grow Discocactus in a sunny spot.

How to water and feed Discocactus

  • Water Discocactus only with calcium-free, slightly acidic soil. Wet soil will kill Discocactus.
  • Feed Discocactus with a cactus fertilizer during the growing season.

Discocactus care

  • Discocactus need a warm, well-lighted location with rich, fast-draining soil.

Discocactus species to grow

  • Discocactus alteolens. Grows to 4 inches tall, including cephalium; large; woolly mass is dark gray, almost black but turns lighter with age; fragrant white flowers appear at dusk and are gone by morning are gone.
  • D. placentiformis. Grows to 5 inches tall has flattened, curved spines and slender and tubular pink flowers.

Written by Stephen Albert

Stephen Albert is a horticulturist, master gardener, and certified nurseryman who has taught at the University of California for more than 25 years. He holds graduate degrees from the University of California and the University of Iowa. His books include Vegetable Garden Grower’s Guide, Vegetable Garden Almanac & Planner, Tomato Grower’s Answer Book, and Kitchen Garden Grower’s Guide. His Vegetable Garden Grower’s Masterclass is available online. has more than 10 million visitors each year.

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