Frailea Gracillima The affinities of the dwarf cacti in the genus Frailea have long been recognized to lie with Notocactus, from overlapping ranges in south-central S America. However, the genus is maintained in the most recent review by Andreas Hofacker, who recognizes 17 of the more than 50 species that have been described. Frailea exhibits an interesting reproductive biology: the flowers that precede the fruits are often cleistogamous, that is, they pollinate themselves without ever opening. As a result, one sees the easily crumbled, papery-skinned fruits developing without ever having witnessed an open flower. However, under the right conditions, on hot summer afternoons, one may be fortunate enough to observe broadly open flowers inviting pollinators to visit. The flowers of the form offered here are unusually pale—a delicate shade of creamy yellow. We offer plants from self-pollination of HBG 61199. The taxon is only known to occur in a limited area around Caçapava, Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil.
Light: Some Frailea Gracillima are shade-seeking in the wild, among shrubs or grasses, while others grow completely exposed. Some will therefore need a light shading from the sun in the hottest months, but to overdo this will result in loss of flowers.
Soil: The balance of the potting medium should be sufficient to allow good drainage, so that the plants do not sit in soggy soil for more than a day or two after watering.
Water: Watering in the summer months, while the plants are growing well can be frequent (weekly for small plants in small pots), but always allowing the compost nearly to dry out before rewatering. Watering in the winter months at all is unwise, and certainly not necessary. The difficult times are spring and autumn.