hairy cactus species

Hairy cactus species and types can be an awesome addition to your collection of succulents or just any flowers. Although some of them are endangered, you can find different species from different sellers.

Hairy Cactus Species

Hairy cactus species or cactus with white hair include Espostoa melanostele also known as Peruvian Old Lady, Cephalocereus senilis or Old Man Cactus, Mammillaria hahniana or Old Lady Cactus, and Opuntia polyacantha or Grizzly Bear Prickly Pear.

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Cactus With White Hair

Espostoa melanostele ‘Peruvian Old Lady Cactus’

This hairy cactus species is also known as the ‘Cactus strawflower’. The cactus gets its name because it resembles an old lady which becomes even more vivid when the succulent is blooming and fruiting. Buy the

The hairy cactus is native to Peru and grows in columns which form clumps at the base. In the wild, Peruvian Old Lady can grow up to as high as 2.1m but when growing in containers it grows to about 25cm in a whole decade. The Old Lady cactus has spines that can be as long as 3.8 cm which is present even in young plants. Although the spines can cause some injury, they detach easily.

Peruvian Old lady cactus
Peruvian Old Lady Cactus

The Peruvian Old Lady cactus produces yellow flowers which open in the morning and remain open until evening. In the evening, the flowers close and remain closed throughout the night. The flowers also remain closed when it’s raining and open up when it gets dry.

The succulent produce berry-like fruits which have black seeds and are edible. It’s important to note that when growing in containers, the succulents hardly ever flower because they don’t reach maturity.

Espostoa melanostele Care

The Peruvian Old Lady thrives when planted in sunny locations. The succulent also thrives when planted in well-drained soil. It also rests during winter but doesn’t like temperatures below 12 degrees Celsius.

Although the mature plant is drought tolerant, in the summer, the plant should be watered more frequently compared to winter. It may also be fertilized depending on how it’s performing.

When the plant is initially potted, it grows fast and fills the container. The rate of growth slows down significantly and becomes only a crawl.

Mammillaria hahniana ‘Old Lady Cactus’

Mammillaria hahniana ‘Old Lay Cactus’ is native to Mexico and has spherical stems. The stems can get to about 12cm wide and the entire plant grows to about 25cm tall and 50 cm wide. Check this post on the complete growing and care guide for mammillaria hahniana.

The stems are covered in white spines which have given the succulent name of ‘Old Lady Cactus’. The succulent also produces red-purple blooms in spring and summer. The blooms can sometimes form an attractive complete ring around the apex of the stems. Buy the

Mammillaria hahniana ‘Old Lady Cactus’ Care

Mammillaria hahniana ‘Old Lady Cactus’ is a favorite because it’s easy to maintain. Fertilization during the growing season helps get outstanding results.

The Old Lady cactus should be allowed to enjoy a cooling winter period when watering is suspended. During summer resume watering, allow the soil to dry before watering again. Avoid misting the Old lady cactus, rather give it a good soak and leave it alone until the soil dries out.

The succulent hates overwatering, and should not be exposed to sitting water or prolonged dampness.

Repot the succulent when there is a need, preferably during the warm season. The succulent is sun-loving and should be positioned in a place that has bright sunlight to shade. They thrive when provided with between 4-6 hours of sunlight.

Mammillaria hahniana ‘Old Lady Cactus’ Propagation

The best way to propagate Old Lady cactus is through offsets. The plant forms many offsets at the base of the mature plant.

Remove the offsets from the base. Extra precaution should be taken because the plant’s spines can cause injuries. Wear gloves and any additional protection to avoid being stabbed.

Allow the offsets to callous over a few days. Deeping the offset in rooting hormone is optional but definitely speeds rooting.

Plant the offsets in a container or pot with fast-draining cactus growing medium. Water the offset when the soil feels dry and keep the container in a bright spot but not in direct sunlight.

The old lady cactus is not toxic. Read more on toxic succulents here.

Cephalocereus senilis ‘Old Man Cactus’

Cephalocereus senilis has long white hairs that resemble an old man’s unkempt hair. The succulent produces tall column stems in clusters that can be between 5-15 m tall. The stems don’t have any branches.

In young succulents, the coat has a striking silvery white and can grow as long as 8 inches. However, as the plant matures it loses some of its covering. The purpose of the covering is to protect the succulent from sun and frost.

The cephalocereus senilis ‘Old Man Cactus’ also has sharp yellow spines beneath the white coat. Touching the plant will result in injury.

Cephalocereus senilis ‘Old Man Cactus’ Care

The Old Man Cactus is a favorite addition to the succulent collection of many people. Preferred because of its wooly appearance and low maintenance needs.

Cephalocereus Senilis
Old Man Cactus

It thrives when grown in well-drained soil. The succulent also demands better drainage compared to most other cactus. It also does well when established in a location where it receives lots of bright sunlight which promotes the growth of its hair spines.

The Old Man Cactus takes very long to flower up to 10-20 years. When it flowers it produces blooms that can either be white, yellow, or red.

Cephalocereus senilis ‘Old Man Cactus’ Propagation

The Old Man Cactus is propagated through cuttings. The plant doesn’t produce branches so the cuttings are made from the top of the main stem. The best time to propagate is during Spring or early summer. Precaution should be taken when cutting the top of the stem because of the spines underneath the fleece.

Allow the cutting to develop a thick layer of callus by letting it stand for about two weeks. After, the cutting should be planted in a container. The soil used should be well-draining and will facilitate its developing roots.

Opuntia polyacantha ‘Grizzly Bear Prickly Pear’

 Opuntia polyacantha ‘Grizzly Bear Prickly Pear’ is also commonly referred to as Hedgehog Prickly pear, Grizzly Bear Cactus, Prickly Pear, and Mojave Pricklypear. One of the most common varieties is erinaces. The succulent has bluish-green stems that form clumps at the base. It can grow up to 4-12 inches high and 36 inches wide.

The stems are covered by thick long, gray spines that point downwards.

It also produces blooms during early spring. The bowl-shaped flowers can either be bronze, yellow, or pink in color. The flowers are produced on the previous year’s growth. When they mature, they produce spiny green fruits that are edible.

Opuntia polyacantha ‘Grizzly Bear Prickly Pear’ Care

 Opuntia polyacantha ‘Grizzly Bear Prickly Pear’ care includes planting the succulent in well-drained soil. This is one of the hairy succulent species that hates being overwatered. It is advisable to let the soil dry out before watering again. Avoid overwatering or the succulent will die.

The care of the succulent also includes removing damaged and dead stems. Pruning should be done when necessary to retain the desired shape.

The ‘Grizzly Bear Prickly Pear’ does well when grown in bright sunlight to shade.

cactus with white hair

Fertilizing the succulent is not necessary especially when the plant is growing in the ground. However, if you notice significantly poor growth you can fertilize.

Opuntia polyacantha is deer resistant.

Opuntia polyacantha ‘Grizzly Bear Prickly Pear’ Propagation

The ‘Grizzly Bear Prickly Pear’ can be propagated both through cuttings and through seeds.

Seed Propagation

It is important to note that seeds can be extremely slow to germinate. If you are an impatient person, this might not be the best option for you.

The seeds require a temperature of between 68-86 degrees to germinate. Plant your seeds indoors and plan early before the time you plant to establish the succulents.

The succulent handles transplanting well and will rarely be affected negatively.

Cutting Propagation

Cuttings grow faster especially when established in good soil.

Cut the stem at the base or individual pads. Allow them to callous for at least ten days before planting them in soil.

Just like with established plants don’t over-water. When growing the succulents in containers, provide excellent drainage. Check this post on how often to water indoor cactus.


Hairy cactus species are great succulents whether you’re a beginner or not. They also provide much interest and thrill.

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Hairy Cactus Types



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