Gymnocalycium Friedrichii: An Easy and Essential Care Guide

Gymnocalycium friedrichii is a South American cactus that is gaining popularity amongst succulent lovers for its appearance and use as a border plant. What makes this plant special and how do you care for it? Read this guide.

Cactus Gymnocalycium friedrichii LB 2178 variegated

What Is Gymnocalycium Friedrichii?

Gymnocalycium friedrichii is a cactus and the pink flowered form or “cultivar” of Gymnocalycium stenopleurum. Just like other Gymnocalycium stenopleurum cultivars, Gymnocalycium friedrichii is native to the south to north-western Paraguay and other nearby regions.

This cactus species is common in succulent gardens and shops. What’s so special about it?

– Uses of Gymnocalycium Friedrichii

Some reasons why Gymnocalycium friedrichii is gaining popularity amongst gardening enthusiasts are:

  • Suitable for succulent gardens: Gymnocalycium friedrichii is suitable for xeriscaping as it can withstand drought. If you want a low-maintenance beautiful garden, you should plant succulents such as Gymnocalycium friedrichii.
  • Border plant: With its long spine and appearance, Gymnocalycium friedrichii can prevent pests such as rodents and other mammals from entering your garden. It is also a deer-repellent.
  • Container succulent: You can always grow Gymnocalycium friedrichii in pots as a houseplant. They are even suitable for hanging baskets.

Identifying Gymnocalycium friedrichii is easy, right? Find out how to recognize it in the next section

– Identifying Gymnocalycium Friedrichii

Here are some features of the succulent:

  • Plant appearance: Unlike other types of succulents, Gymnocalycium friedrichii plants do not grow in clumps. They can grow up to 12 inches tall and are around 6-12 inches wide. They can be grey-green or brownish-red.
  • Stems: Their long stem can either be globose or flattened globose. The stems can be green or have a red tone. They have needle-like to awl-shaped spines that can be light or dark brown.
  • Flowers: As mentioned earlier, the flowers of Gymnocalycium friedrichii are pink. Some are light pink while others have a darker color. The flowers can be 2 to 3 inches long.
  • Fruits: Gymnocalycium friedrichii fruits are grey-green. They are usually 5 inches long and 4 inches wide.

Gymnocalycium friedrichii is a cool cactus cultivar that you should grow. How do you grow and care for it? Continue reading.

Gymnocalycium Friedrichii Care Tips: How To Properly Care For This Special Cultivar

Like other types of cactus, Gymnocalycium friedrichii is very easy to care for. If you can provide the needs of the plant (e.g. temperature, water, and suitable soil), you do not have to focus much attention on caring for Gymnocalycium friedrichii. Follow the tips below to grow and care for your Gymnocalycium friedrichii.

– Getting Your Gymnocalycium Friedrichii Seedlings

While you can start Gymnocalycium friedrichii as seeds, seedlings, and offset, the easiest way to start the plant as a beginner is by seedlings. You can buy Gymnocalycium friedrichii seedlings from garden stores and nurseries.

Gymnocalycium friedrichii is popular, so you should get the seedlings from a local succulent garden nearby. You can always get it in online shops.

– How and Where To Plant Your Gymnocalycium Friedrichii

Plant your Gymnocalycium friedrichii in a location that receives enough light and has a suitable potting mix. The suitable substrate or medium to grow Gymnocalycium friedrichii is well-drained and does not retain moisture. You can grow it in sand or other materials that drain water quickly.

When you remove the seedlings from the substrate that they come with, dust off every remaining soil away from the roots. Rinse the roots with clean water and then place the Gymnocalycium friedrichii on a surface where it can get dry in a day.

Plant your Gymnocalycium friedrichii in a suitable potting mix and water after three days of planting. In less than one month, your cactus should be well-established in that location.

– Water Requirements

How and when should you water your Gymnocalycium friedrichii? Only water your cactus when the substrate is dry. Dip your finger or a moisture reader into the substrate. If the substrate is not dry, do not water your plants.

Always remember that this cactus prefers to be thirsty than to be overwatered. You can water your cactus by soaking the entire pot in water and allowing it to drain off or by misting the plant.

As an extra tip, water your Gymnocalycium friedrichii in the morning so that the afternoon sun can help dry off excess moisture from the substrate surface.

– Light and Humidity Requirements

Gymnocalycium friedrichii plants need full sun. Grow your cacti where they can get at least six hours of direct sunlight. You can plant this succulent in the south-facing parts of your home for sufficient sunlight.

Gymnocalycium friedrichii does not like more than average humidity, so you do not have to mist it to increase the level of moisture.

– Temperature Requirements

Gymnocalycium friedrichii grows best in USDA hardiness zones 9a to 11b. Gymnocalycium friedrichii can tolerate a temperature range of 20 to 60 F (-7 to 15 C). If you do not live in zones 9a to 11b or you experience hard winter frost in your area, you should grow your Gymnocalycium friedrichii in pots so that you can take them indoors during winter.

– Nutrient Requirements

Get a cactus mix from a gardening shop for your Gymnocalycium friedrichii. Even though this cactus cultivar does not strictly need to be fertilized, you should still add nutrients to it twice monthly with a half-strength balanced fertilizer.

– Repotting

Gymnocalycium friedrichii grows slowly and usually does not grow in clumps, so you may not repot the plant. If the substrate is bad, you have to repot your Gymnocalycium friedrichii into a new pot with a suitable or amended substrate.


Propagation of Gymnocalycium Friedrichii: How To Breed Your Cactus

Unlike other types of succulents, Gymnocalycium friedrichii is not very easy to propagate. While you can graft this plant, the easiest methods to propagate Gymnocalycium friedrichii are by planting the seeds or offsets. Learn about the easy methods below:

– Propagation by Seeds

To plant the seeds of your Gymnocalycium friedrichii, you need to wait until the plant produces fruits. The fruit has to be overripe before you can collect the seeds. If you are unsure whether the fruit is ready or not, wait until it falls off from the plant (on its own). Note that it is best to plant the seeds in spring, but you can start them indoors in later winter.

It is best to plant the Gymnocalycium friedrichii seeds fresh as they have a higher rate of germination by then. You can, however, store them for future use. To plant the seeds, place them in a suitable potting mix, mist them, and cover them with a thin layer of sand.

Mist the seeds every four or five days. When they germinate, mist them every six or seven days. In about six months, the seedlings should be well-established and you can start watering them by soaking them.

To increase your chance of having as many successfully-germinated seeds as you want, plant more seeds than you actually want.

– Propagation by Offsets

After successful pollination, matured Gymnocalycium friedrichii plants may produce offsets. These little plants can grow to become mature and healthy plants with your care. To propagate your Gymnocalycium friedrichii by using the offsets, you need to collect them from the mother plant.

To collect Gymnocalycium friedrichii offsets, remove soil or potting mix away from the surface to reveal the point of attachment. Twist off the offsets and allow your young Gymnocalycium friedrichii plants to callus for a few days (maybe three or four).

Plant the Gymnocalycium friedrichii offsets in suitable potting mix or succulent soil and water them by misting occasionally. You should notice signs of growth in less than a month.

Note that you should only propagate your Gymnocalycium friedrichii by using its offsets in spring or early summer. They are mostly dormant in the fall or winter except when they are grown in the right conditions indoors.

Potential Problems To Watch Out for When Growing Gymnocalycium Friedrichii

Watch out for the following when growing Gymnocalycium friedrichii:

– Pests

Pests such as spider mites, aphids, slugs, etc. can attack your Gymnocalycium friedrichii plants. You need to repel these pests with pesticides or grow your Gymnocalycium friedrichii near plants that repel them.

– Root Rot

Root rot occurs in Gymnocalycium friedrichii when you give your plants too much water. Remember that you should only water your Gymnocalycium friedrichii after the substrate is completely dry. If the soil or potting mix is too moist, it can promote the growth of some harmful fungi and other microbes that can harm your Gymnocalycium friedrichii.

If your Gymnocalycium friedrichii has root rot, you will notice that some regions of the stem are dying (they are brown and wet). Remove the cactus from the substrate, prune off every dead root from the plant, and keep the plant outside so that it can callus in three days.

Plant the Gymnocalycium friedrichii in a suitable potting mix afterward. Do not use the previous potting mix without amending it. You can amend it by baking and by mixing it with more perlite.

– Dying Flowers

If your Gymnocalycium friedrichii plants’ flowers are dying and no fruit is produced, there is a deficiency of potassium or phosphorus. Properly fertilize your Gymnocalycium friedrichii by using a cactus mix. Also, make sure that the temperature and humidity are just right. You should also expose your plants to winds, insects, and other agents of pollination.

Gymnocalycium friedrichii plant


Gymnocalycium friedrichii is a low-maintenance plant that you should grow. Here are useful tips to remember when growing your cactus:

  • Start your Gymnocalycium friedrichii with seedlings as they are the easiest to grow and care for.
  • Gymnocalycium friedrichii needs water only when the soil is fully dry. Do not allow the soil to retain moisture.
  • If you live in a region with hard frost, you should grow your Gymnocalycium friedrichii in pots so that you can transfer them indoors in winter.
  • Your cactus needs full sun. Plant it where it can get more than six hours of sunlight daily.
  • You should repot your Gymnocalycium friedrichii when the substrate is no longer suitable for the plant.

You’d agree by now that Gymnocalycium friedrichii is easy to grow, right? Use the easy tips in this article to effortlessly grow and care for your plants.

4.9/5 - (18 votes)
Potato Garden