Mammillaria elongata ‘Cristata’ is a small cactus with an unusual shape, resembling a living sculpture.

Scientific Name

Mammillaria elongata ‘Cristata’

Accepted Scientific Name

Mammillaria elongata DC.


Mammillaria elongata f. cristata

Scientific Classification

Family: Cactaceae
Subfamily: Cactoideae
Tribe: Cacteae
Subtribe: Cactinae
Genus: Mammillaria


Mammillaria elongata ‘Cristata’ is a strange small cactus that forms a densely packed cluster of contorted green stems with wooly areoles that bear white to yellow or copper spines. Each specimen has a unique shape and often can display both mutated and normal growth.

In spring, funnel-shaped flowers typically appear only on the normal growing stems. The flowers vary from whitish to pale yellow or pinkish and may sometimes be flushed pink or have a darker midstripe.


Mammillaria elongata ‘Cristata’ is a form of Mammillaria elongata selected for its mutated growth.

Mammillaria elongata 'Cristata'
Private collection, South San Francisco, California, United States. Photo by J Devin Fox. Used with permission. All rights reserved.

How to Grow and Care for Mammillaria elongata ‘Cristata’

Light: For optimal growth of your Mammillaria elongata ‘Cristata’, ensure it is planted in an area that receives at least four hours of direct sunlight daily. If growing indoors, placing the cactus near a bright window is best to ensure it gets enough light. It is advisable to keep it on the balcony or in the garden from spring to fall for additional light.

Soil: To ensure good root aeration and drainage, use commercial cactus soil or create your own well-draining soil mix.

Temperature: Mammillaria elongata ‘Cristata’ is heat tolerant but is not a cold-hardy plant. It grows best in USDA Plant Hardiness Zones 9b to 11b, with average minimum winter temperatures ranging from 25 to 50 °F (-3.9 to 10 °C).

Watering: Water deeply from spring to fall, and wait until the soil dries out before watering again. Never let your pot sit in water, and suspend watering when the plant goes dormant in the winter.

Fertilizing: During the growing season, Mammillaria elongata ‘Cristata’ benefits from fertilization. Apply a water-soluble fertilizer for cacti and other succulents. Suspend feeding during the winter when the plant goes dormant.

Repotting: Repot the cactus every two or three years into a slightly larger pot, preferably during late winter or early spring. However, repotting can be done at any time of the year.

Propagation: Mammillaria elongata ‘Cristata’ can be easily propagated by stem cuttings taken during the growing season.

Learn more at How to Grow and Care for Mammillaria.

Toxicity of Mammillaria elongata ‘Cristata’

Mammillaria elongata ‘Cristata’ is non-toxic but has sharp spines, so keep it away from children and pets.


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