Rebutia Cactus Care – Tips for Growing Cactus Plants

Rebutia is one of the varieties of cacti, native to South America. There are about 100 species in its family. The Rebutia grows on a mountainous and rocky terrain also it can be found in mountainous regions in Bolivia and Argentina.

Nowadays, the genus of cactus Rebutia includes 20-30 species. All other species of cacti that used to belong to this species are now excluded.

Rebutia description

Rebutia is a small plant with a spherical stem that is covered with spines. The surface of the stem consists of low ribs that are arranged in a spiral. Flowers of cactus are funnel-shaped. A lot of small flowers appear from the lower halo during the flowering period.

Rebutia Cactus

This kind of cactus is easily grown so it can be recommended to beginning gardeners. In winter the temperature does not drop below 10-12 degrees in the natural environment habitat of Rebutia. In summer the temperature rises to 30 degrees, and it is often rains.

The cactus grows in the mountains in cracks of rocks and grooves at an altitude of 2000-2500 m. There is a high difference of the daily temperature and a lot of clean air.

Rebutia will have abundant flowering and lots of seeds if you follow all the rules of care for it.

How to care for the cactus Rebutia indoors


You need to provide a large amount of light for indoor plants. Cactus is tolerant to direct sunlight so south-east or south-west side is an ideal location for the pot. Also plants can be placed outdoor during the summer. The Rebutia can grow in glazed loggias or greenhouse during a year.

The cactus will loses its decorativeness and will not bloom if there is low lighting indoor. Additional artificial lighting is installed from the north side. Fluorescent lamps with a certain spectrum are used for artificial lighting.

There are some varieties that are adapted to grow in the shade. These species cannot be immediately placed on direct sunlight in the spring. They need to be gradually accustomed to the sun's rays. Otherwise, burns appearance on the surface.

How to Care and Grow for Rebutia


The plant prefers a hot climate with a temperature of 25-35° C in summer and you have to ensure it with a cool climate about 5-10° C in winter. In early spring, the pot with plant can be put outdoors during the daytime but it is necessary to shelter it from the rain, especially if you cannot often ventilate the room. Rebutia requires a constant flow of fresh air.

You should gradually reduce the temperature in room in the autumn because the cactus passes into a state of rest. Dry and cold climate with maximum lighting is maintained during the winter. If the temperature in the room is too high in winter, the cactus will stretch and deform without flowering and numerous lateral shoots will appear.


Cactus Rebutia grows well in a dry climate and does not need а frequent watering. You have to provide plant with watering similar to natural conditions, if you are growing a cactus indoors. In summer, you should water it abundantly when the temperature in daytime is above 18° C.

The plant is watered when the top layer of the soil is dry. The watering is gradually reduced in autumn. Rebutia is not watered during the winter. Young cacti are rarely watered in winter when their diameter does not exceed 1-2 cm. The cactus is exacting to the quality of water. The water for irrigation is used precipitated, distilled or rainy, without lime. The temperature of water for irrigation should be 20-24 degrees. You should added 2 drops of lemon juice to the water one time for several watering.


Cactus is sprayed with a sprayer in the hot and dry season. In a natural environment where the cactus grows there is a constant high humidity. Water for spraying should be of high quality.

The plant is sprayed when the sun has diminished its intensity and direct rays do not reach the surface of the cactus. Otherwise, burns will appear on the surface of the cactus.

The soil

You can use ready soil for cacti and succulents or prepare it yourself from river sand, turf and leaf earth. All components are taken in the same proportions. The basic requirement for soil is that it must pass water and air well. Substrate of dense components do not use for cacti.


Fertilizer is added once a month during a period of active growth. You have to use special fertilizers for cacti. Roots will start to rot, if there is too much nitrogen. Necessary ratio: Nitrogen 9 parts, phosphorus 18 parts, potassium 25 parts. Rebutia is not fertilized in winter.

Cactus Rebutia transplant

The time of Rebutia transplantation depends on your climatic zone. There is not accurate period for transplantation this plant. The cactus is transplanted after a period of rest when it began growth.

Young plants are transplanted once a year. Adult cactus is transplanted every 3 years or if it is necessary when roots do not fit in the pot. Watering is stopped one week before the transplant. Rebutia is transplanted from dry soil to dry soil. Watering is resumed after a week. The pot must be in the shade all the time (without direct sun rays). The varieties are transplanted after flowering if they start to bloom very early.

The composition of the soil has to include river sand, turf and leaf earth. The layer of expanded clay must be placed on the bottom of the pot as a drain.

Propagation of Cactus Rebutia

Rebutia reproduces by seeds and lateral shoots.

Propagation by seeds

This method is difficult and makes a lot of trouble. Seeds for maturation do not need cross-pollination. Seeds are harvested and stored in a dry place after ripening.

Seeds are sown in early March. Soil for sowing is used from sand and sheet earths which are taken in the same proportions. Also you have to add there 0.5 parts of charcoal. Before sown you should subject the soil with a heat treatment of steam to prevent appear of larvae and some diseases. The seeds are placed into a weak solution of potassium permanganate during 10-15 minutes before sowing.

Drainage from expanded clay is placed on the bottom of the pot. The distance between the seeds should be 2 centimeter.

The container with seeds is covered with a polyethylene film or placed in a mini greenhouse after sowing. The temperature is kept at 16-20° C and the seeds are regularly ventilated and sprayed.

Young shoots appear after a few weeks and can be transplanted into separate containers. They need to be protected from direct sun until they are 1 year old. You need to constantly provide diffused light during the first year. A year later, sprouts gradually accustom to adulthood.

The plants are watered moderately because young shoots react negatively to excess moisture.

Reproduction by children (lateral shoots)

Rebutia forms a lot of lateral shoots because it abundantly branched. The shoots grow independently as separate cacti, but they are constantly connected to the mother plant by a small isthmus. Shoots are cut from the mother plant when they increase greatly. As a rule, shoots take root from the spring to the beginning of the rest period. This is the best period for successful rooting.

The baby is dried for 24 hours and placed in a moistened and warm substrate after separation from the mother plant.

The soil is sterilized before planting of shoots. Young sprouts can be rooted into moist sand. It is recommended to buy seeds in specialized stores if you want to get an irreproachable grade of cactus.

Favorable conditions for flowering

  • A lot of light in the summer.
  • In winter, the temperature does not exceed 10 degrees.
  • The soil must be suitable and must be drained.
  • In the summer, abundant watering but not waterlogging.
  • In the autumn, a rare watering.
  • In winter, the cactus is not watered.

Pests Rebutia

The Rebutia is attacked by a mealybug, quadraspidiotus perniciosus and a spider mite. You have to treat a plant with special solutions, create a low temperature indoor and reduce watering to remove pests.

Caring Tips for Rebutia

  • The appearance of a spider mite is a frequent problem. The surface of the cactus is treated with a brush dipped with alcohol.
  • The stem is stretched - insufficient lighting and too high temperature indoor in winter.
  • Rebutia stops grow - nutrients in insufficient quantities, watering are weak in the summer or an excess of moisture in the winter.
  • The stem becomes wrinkled, the rot appears in the lower part of the plant - the main problem is the waterlogged soil.
  • Brown spots on the surface of the cactus - sunburn when plants exposed to direct sunlight.
  • Soft brown spots indicate that a stem rot. Carefully cut out the affected part and disinfect it. The reason is an improper care.

Species of Rebutia

  • Rebutia deminuta - Its height is up to 10 cm. The habitat is Argentina. The flowering period is June-July. Bright red and orange flowers (which height is 3 cm) appear during the flowering period. It prefers a lot of light. Rebutia needs low temperatures and rare watering during hibernates.

  • Rebutia fulviseta – it is a spherical plant up to 10 cm in height and 6 cm in diameter. The homeland is the mountainous part of Bolivia. It is a branchy plant which forms numerous groups. Flowers up to 2.5 cm in diameter grow near the stem.

  • Rebutia krainziana – this plant has large, funnel-shaped flowers red or white colors. Thin spines of the cactus appear from the halo.

  • Rebutia heliosa - the young plant is spherical, which stretches slightly with time. The homeland is the mountainous regions of Bolivia. The height of the cactus is up to 8 cm and diameter is 2.5 cm. Short spines are up to 1 mm long. Red flowers appear from the old halo in the summer. This cactus prefers the sunny side. It is not watered in winter.

  • Rebutia senilis. Its habitat is Argentina. The elongated green stem is 7-8 cm in diameter and 8 cm in height. There are a lot of white spines up to 3 cm long. Red flowers with white middle are 3 cm in diameter.

  • Rebutia miniscula. A light green stem has a flat form up to 5 cm in diameter. Homeland is Argentina. There are a lot of spines of white, brown and gold colors. The flowers are red 3 mm in diameter.

  • Rebutia perplexa. Spherical stem is 8-9 cm in height and 1.5 cm in diameter. It inhabits in the southern part of Bolivia. Well branched in big groups. It blooms with red flowers 4.5 cm in diameter in the summer. This cactus can grow in partial shade.

  • Rebutia pulvinosa. Spherical or cylindrical stem is 6-8 cm in height and 3 cm in diameter. The stem is dark green with numerous tubercles. A lot of flowers of red-pink color appear at the base in the summer. He needs abundant watering and bright lighting in summer. Do not water in winter.

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