Melocactus Peruvianus | A Cup Cake Shaped Unusual Cactus |

Melocactus peruvianus is a globose cactus which usually forms solitary plants

You could commonly find  the Melocactus peruvianus in central America and in South America. These cacti belong to the family Notocacteae. 

Melocactus peruvianus are native plants in Peru. They also produce a cephalium which is small. Moreover, it is produced with white wool too. 

Melocactus peruvianus are flowering plants. The cephalium will consist of reddish-brown bristles.  

This article is about how you need to look after them well, their propagation methods and on the special care tips you need to practice. So, buckle up and get ready to learn about this little beauty.  

Melocactus Peruvianus

How do I identify  Melocactus peruvianus

You may identify the Melocactus peruvianus from its  globose or the cylindrical shape it has. They would grow up to 20 cm in height and 20 cm in width

The globose or the cylindrical base would be dark green. Melocactus peruvianus cactus consist of 10-15 ribs as well.

Moreover, they will have areolas which are 5 X 10 mm in size too. Those areolas would be roundish elongated and could further consist of brown felt. 

Besides, they may consist of curved radial spines too. However, they do not comprise central spines.  

Having said that, chances are that you may spot them carrying one to four central spines also. They would be 6 cm in length.

You could spot them flowering in bright red to pink. The flowers will be tubular shaped, and they will arise over the cephalium. 

Melocactus peruvianus cactus produce some fruit in red too. They will be ellipsoidal to pear shaped. Their length would be 18 mm. 

Further their diameter would be 6-7 mm. Moreover, they will consist of 60-120 seeds as well. The seeds would be ovoidal reniform. 

Their length would be 1-1mm. The diameter of the seeds would be 0.8-0.9 mm and you could spot them in dark brown to black colors.

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One look care guide

Botanical NameMelocactus peruvianus
Common NameMelon Cactus
Plant TypeCactus
Mature Size50 cm in height
Sun ExposureFull sunlight to partial shade
Soil TypeSandy well-draining
Soil pHSoil pH of 6.6 – 7.8
Bloom TimeSummer
Flower ColorBright red to pink
Hardiness ZonesUSDA hardiness zones above 4.5 °C (40 °F)
Native AreaBrazil
Average price 8 USD

How do you take care of  Melocactus peruvianus?

Light Requirement 

The optimal conditions for the vigorous growth of the Melocactus peruvianus cactus would be full sunlight to partial shade

This literally means they need to have full sunlight for six hours during the morning hours. A windowsill would work well with these plants if you grow them indoors. 

Furthermore, never expose them to intense sunlight for too long as it would scorch the Melocactus peruvianus cactus. 

Temperature and humidity.

The minimum temperature they can withstand is 13 degrees Celsius. ( 55 degrees Fahrenheit ). 

However, the optimal temperature for these plants would be 26-28 degrees Celsius ( 78 -82 degrees Celsius). The tropical temperatures would literally be beneficial for these plants.

Melocactus peruvianus cactus do not handle cold well and chances are that frost could even kill the Melocactus peruvianus cactus. 

Ensure that you are protecting the Melocactus peruvianus cactus from temperatures below 60 degrees Fahrenheit. 

On the other hand, refrain from placing them closer to cold drafts and from air conditioners as well. Melocactus peruvianus cactus are not very particular when it comes to humidity.  

Is it cold hardy?

Melocactus peruvianus cactus do not handle cold well.

USDA Hardiness Zone

Melocactus peruvianus cactus prefer to grow in USDA hardiness zones above 4.5 °C (40 °F)

Watering Requirement 

These cacti grow in drought conditions when they grow in the wild. They have typical water needs which are similar to other succulents and cacti

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Whenever you feel like their soil is dry, you may water them. To ascertain whether their soil is dry, you can simply place the finger and check the moisture in the soil if you are unsure whether the soil is dry or not. 

When watering, you should ensure that you never let their soil become bone dry. Instead water them whenever you spot their soil is dry. 

If by mistake you supply them water in excess, it will make rots in the plants.

Soil Requirement Type / pH

A sandy rocky soil mix would be optimal for the healthy growth of the Melocactus peruvianus cactus. That will provide excellent drainage  for the plants. 

If you grow them in a potting medium which is poor draining  it will lead to root rot. You will not be able to have good results of proper watering if you fail to provide  them  a well-draining soil mix.

 Hence , it is critical that you grow them in a potting medium which has an excellent draining so that they can grow to their fullest healthily.

If you grow them as potted plants, you can use a well-draining cactus potting mix. A soil ph. of 6.6-7.8 would work well with these plants. (Neutral to mildly alkaline).

Pot size Potting and Repotting

Melocactus peruvianus cactus prefer to grow little cramp in the pots. However, when selecting the right pot, you should select one which is slightly larger than the root ball

Besides, it has to have drainage  holes in the bottom too. The ideal pot material should be unglazed clay as the water evaporation would take place much faster than the rest of other materials.

When it comes to repotting, you need to do it once every three years in general. Furthermore, if they have outgrown the pot or if they have been infected with a disease you need to repot them.  

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However, make sure that you are wearing gloves to safeguard yourself from the cactus spines unless it may harm you. 

You need to wait until Spring season and then propagate the  Melocactus peruvianus cactus. Further when selecting a pot ensure that it is slightly larger than the one which you used. You can follow the general practices to repot them.

Where to Plant 

You may plant the Melocactus peruvianus cactus either indoors or outdoors.


Melocactus peruvianus cactus produce flowers in bright red to pink.

Fertilizer and time of year.

You can use a balanced cactus fertilizer or a succulent fertilizer to feed the Melocactus peruvianus cactus.

That will stimulate the growth of the Melocactus peruvianus cactus. Do not feed them in fall and in winter.


Melocactus peruvianus cactus are winter dormant plants.


Melocactus peruvianus cactus are nontoxic plants.

Common bugs and illnesses.

Melocactus peruvianus cactus may suffer from root rot mainly if you end up over watering the plants

In addition to that, it could further contribute for fungal infections and for bacterial infections as well.

Special Care tips

Melocactus peruvianus cactus require a minimal care treatment from you and as long you fulfil the necessities of them, they will grow to their best

How to propagate  Melocactus peruvianus

You may use the Melocactus peruvianus cactus seeds to propagate them.

To do it, you need to first soak the seeds in water and then plant them in a soil mix which has an excellent draining and a good aeration. 

You need to seal them so that the moisture will stay within. You need to stay patient until  they start to produce the roots. Do not provide excess water or excess fertilizer during this process.


To wind up, Melocactus peruvianus cactus will thrive well if you look after them well. So, trust the aforesaid care tips would be useful for you when growing them.

Credit to : Arte moda y plantas Liliana Muñoz
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About author

I’m Dr. Chamika, As a hobby love talking about plants and showing you that taking care of indoor plants. My website is knowledge I’ve learned over the years and continue to learn about growing succulents. If you’re a succulent lover, then you have come to the correct place.