Rebutia Cactus Care: Growing Tips For The Crown Cactus

Rebutia fiebrigii [ray-BEW-tee-uh, fi-BREE-gil] is an interesting little flowering cactus. This South American plant belongs to the genus Rebutia.

In the wild, Rebutia cacti are found in the hills and mountains of Argentina and Bolivia

Buttery Flowered Rebutia Cactus aka Crown Cactus

It’s an ornamental plant popular for its flowers.

It produces an abundance of colorful petals covering its spherical growth.

Due to the profusion of flowers, people commonly call it orange crown cactus or flame crown.

As with most cacti, Rebutia fiebrigii doesn’t require constant care.

It grows easily if given lots of light and warm air.

Some of the popular varieties in the Rebutia species include:

  • Rebutia Heliosa var. Cajasensis
  • Rebutia Minuscula (R. senilis)
  • Rebutia Deminuta
  • Rebutia Muscula
  • Rebutia Narvaecensis
  • Rebutia Pulvinosa
  • Rebutia Albiflora
  • Rebutia Krainziana
  • Rebutia Marsoneri
  • Rebutia Flavistyla

Also lumped into the genus Rebutia cacti group are:

  • Sulcorebutia Rauschii
  • Weingartia
  • Aylostera
  • Mediolobivia

Rebutia Cactus Care

Size and Growth

The flowering rebutia fiebrigii is a small plant.

It consists of a single ball reaching about 6” inches in size.

Tubercles and silky hairs cover the ball.

Other varieties of Rebutia produce clusters of offsets near the mother plant making propagation easier.

Unfortunately, the orange crown cactus produces the single ball, which can eventually grow to cover the entire surface of the pot.

Flowering and Fragrance

The flame cactus and other members of the cactus rebutia genus bloom in the spring.

It produces orange-red flowers with round petals which cover most of the cactus plant.

The flowers don’t have a scent and some forms have short spines.

Some of the other species of rebutia cactus family produce various shades of:

  • Yellow Flowers
  • Red Flowers
  • Orange Flowers
  • Pink Flowers

To encourage a longer bloom, don’t move these succulent plants during the growing season.

Moving the plant can cause the buds to fall off.

The temperature should also be slightly cool.

Keep the plant in a room where it’s in the upper 60s most of the day.

If the temperature gets too cold or too warm, the flowers may not last as long.

Light and Temperature

The orange crown cactus needs bright light and warmth.

Many species grow in partial shade to full sun.

It’s best suited for USDA hardiness zones 9a or higher, allowing it to grow outdoors in summer temperatures of 70° degrees Fahrenheit (21° C) or warmer.

In the winter, it should never experience temperatures below 50° degrees Fahrenheit (10° C).

If the temperatures drop below 50° degrees Fahrenheit (10° C) in the winter or 70° degrees Fahrenheit (21° C) in the summer, grow it indoors at normal room temperature.

Set it near a bright, sunny window.

Watering and Feeding

Water the plant regularly during the warmer months and sparingly during the winter.

In the winter, it may only need water about once every three to four weeks.

Always allow the soil to dry between waterings.

Too much water increases the risk of fungal growth.

Feed the plant with a fertilizer for succulents and cactus once per month throughout the spring and summer.

Soil and Transplanting

Grow the plant in a cactus mix or use potting soil combined with perlite or pumice.

If the soil does not drain well, add a layer of charcoal or gravel to the bottom of the pot.

Transplant the plant if it outgrows its current pot.

As mentioned, the spherical ball may eventually grow to fill the entire pot.

This may make it difficult to water the soil.

Repot in the early spring before growth starts.

Grooming

The orange crown cactus doesn’t need grooming.

How to Propagate Orange Crown Cactus

Propagate with cuttings or seeds.

To propagate with cuttings:

  • Take cuttings during the spring or summer.
  • Allow the cuttings to dry for several days before planting.
  • Dip the dry cuttings in rooting hormone powder, as this encourages faster rooting and reduces the risk of fungal attacks.

To propagate with seed:

  • Collect the seeds from the flowers after they bloom.
  • Sow the seeds indoors just before the start of spring.
  • Scatter the seeds over sandy, porous cactus soil.
  • Add a thin layer of sand over the seeds.
  • The seedlings will need good air ventilation, but covering the plants helps lock in moisture.
  • Cover the plant with a glass or plastic cover and ensure to lift it occasionally to allow air to circulate.
  • Without proper air circulation, mildew and fungus can damage the seeds and prevent germination.
  • After the seedlings appear, prick them into larger pots.
  • Don’t cover the larger pots.
  • Place them in sunny spots inside the house and water occasionally.

Flame Crown Main Pests or Disease Problems

Rot is a common problem for Rebutia fiebrigii.

It tends to appear near the base of the plant and is more common when the winter temperature gets too high.

For minor rot, cut away the damaged parts of the plant and apply a fungicide.

If the rot becomes severe, the plant may not survive.

Propagate with cuttings before it’s too late.

If the spherical ball starts to shrivel, the soil may be too dry.

This often occurs after prolonged periods of drought.

While the orange crown cactus doesn’t need frequent watering, it still needs hydration.

Resume watering the plant to prevent damage to the roots.

Suggested Uses For Rebutia Crown Cactus

With the colorful flowers this plant produces, it makes a great addition to any cactus or succulent garden.

It makes a great houseplant.