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A rounded, dusty blue stem with well-defined, triangular ridges forms the structure of Melocactus azureus, made all the more alluring by lines of wooly areoles from which clusters of very long, reddish brown spines emerge. As the plant matures, the spines and wool will form a particularly dense cluster directly atop the apex of the stem, giving this variety a particularly fearsome appearance when viewed from above – and earning this family of cacti the nickname ‘Turk’s Cap.’
In their native habitat in Brazil, Melocactus azureus can reach heights of up to 7 inches tall and 5 inches wide – a mature growth pattern that can also be achieved within our home environments, provided the plant receives sufficient levels of full sunlight. Beyond this, its requirements are quite simple – the most critical of which is to avoid overwatering by adhering to a thorough yet infrequent watering routine. Porous soil within a well-draining pot will further shield against issues with excess moisture, as will ample airflow around the stem and soil surface.
Hardy only to Zone 10, be sure to shield Melocactus azureus from freezing temperatures – and as the weather warms once again, you will be rewarded with deep pink, tubular blooms that contrast heavily with the rich blue of the stems