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Mammillaria Gracilis Fragilis

by Sofia Lara
Mammillaria gracilis fragilis

Mammillaria Gracilis Fragilis is a beloved succulent plant because of its charm, appeal, and adorable appearance. As a miniature succulent, you can say it’s as “cute as a thimble” which explains its nickname of “Thimble Cactus”.

Although Thimble Cactus can adorn an outdoor garden, it’s commonly grown as a houseplant. The cactus might be small in height at only 10cm (4”) at full maturity but it grows in clusters with heads that reach a width of 5cm (2”).

The body of Mammillaria Gracilis Fragilis is cylindrical in shape and green in color. An interesting feature of the cacti succulent is that its body is covered by white spines that appear to trap the heads in a net.

During the spring and winter months, you can expect Thimble Cactus to bloom off-white to yellow-colored flowers.

Mammillaria Gracilis Fragilis is native to Central Mexico and is a member of the Cactaceae family.

General Information:

Also known as: Thimble Cactus
Plant Family: Cactaceae
Origin: Central Mexico.
Height: 10cm (4”)
Exposure: Full to partial sunlight for up to 6 hours.
Water Needs: Water the soil only when it’s 100% dry and give it a thorough soaking.
Soil Type: Fast-draining cactus mix with added ingredients to improve drainage such as perlite, pumice, gravel, or coarse sand.
Soil pH: 6.1 to 6.5.

How to Grow and Care for Mammillaria Gracilis Fragilis

  Mammillaria gracilis fragilis plant

Many horticulturists grow Mammillaria Gracilis Fragilis as part of their outdoor rock garden.

It’s also a good idea to grow Thimble Cactus in a pot so you can move it indoors if the temperature in your area falls below -1.1° C (30° F) as this is not a cold-hardy plant.

However you want to grow Mammillaria Gracilis Fragilis, you won’t have a hard time taking care of it.


Mammillaria Gracilis Fragilis needs the warm rays of the sun to bring out its full beauty.

This type of succulent prefers partial sunlight but it will also thrive under full sunlight. If your location in the garden receives full exposure to sunlight, Mammillaria Gracilis Fragilis cannot tolerate more than 4 hours.

As an indoor succulent plant, place Thimble Cactus near a window that gets 4 to 6 hours of partial sunlight per day.


Mammillaria gracilis fragilis succulent

It’s easy to water Mammillaria Gracilis Fragilis. Just remember to water the soil only when you have checked it to be 100% dry. If you water the soil while it still has moisture, the roots will be put at risk of rotting.

Insert a stick 1-2” into the topsoil and if its end feels dry, the soil is ready to receive water.

There are 2 things to remember when it comes to watering succulent plants:

  • Water the soil; not the plant.
  • Give the soil a thorough soaking.

Expect to water the soil less frequently during the winter months as the soil tends to retain moisture longer.

Pot and Soil

Choose a pot that will help the soil go dry faster. It all starts with what the pot is made of. The best type of pot is one that’s either made of terracotta or ceramic as these materials support the evaporation of moisture from the soil.

It’s also important to choose a pot that has drain holes at the bottom. Place a tray under the drain hole to catch the excess water. Always discard the water that has collected on the drain tray.

Thimble Cactus will grow best in a fresh cactus mix because this is a fast-draining type of soil. Add perlite, pumice, coarse sand, or gravel to further improve the level of drainage.

How to Propagate Mammillaria Gracilis Fragilis

If you take care of Thimble Cactus properly it will reciprocate by giving you offsets so you can propagate the species in your home or garden.

Method 1 – Offsets

Step 1: Cut the offsets from the main plant by using a sterilized knife and pair of tongs.

Step 2: Allow the offsets to dry out and develop calluses for 2 to 3 days.

Step 3: Plant the offsets on well-draining cactus soil.

Step 4: Lightly mist the soil until you see the roots come out.

Step 5: Once the roots have firmed up in the soil, only give Thimble Cactus water when the soil has completely dried out.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is Mammillaria Gracilis Fragilis Toxic to Cats and Dogs?

Mammillaria Gracilis Fragilis is not categorized as a plant that’s toxic to pets on the website of the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA).

Why Is My Mammillaria Gracilis Fragilis Dying?

If you suspect that your Mammillaria Gracilis Fragilis is close to dying, the causes might either be overwatering or pest infestation. It’s not too late to save Thimble Cactus if you follow our tips and act fast.


People love to grow succulent plants because they don’t require much care. It’s easy to dote over a lovable succulent such as Thimble Cactus but giving the plant water while the soil is still moist will only make it sick.

The roots are sensitive to moisture. If the soil remains wet for a long period, the roots will rot and develop a fungal infection.

The telltale sign is if you see black spots appear on the Mammillaria Gracilis Fragilis. Discoloration means that the infection has contaminated the plant and is working its way out.

The first thing that you have to do is to cut off all of the discolored parts and sections of Thimble Cactus with a sharpened and sterilized knife. The next step is to uproot the plant and inspect the roots. Cut off all the roots that have rotted and let the succulent dry out.

Get a new pot and fill it up with fresh cactus mix before replanting Thimble Cactus.

Pest Infestation

Spider mites, plant-scale insects, and fungus gnats love to feed off Mammillaria Gracilis Fragilis’ sap and make the succulent plant their home.

These pests can weaken Thimble Cactus and get it infected with a type of fungal disease.

It’s hard to spot these insects because they’re too small and hide within the plant. The best thing to do is to spray Mammillaria Gracilis Fragilis with an organic insecticide such as neem oil or 70% isopropyl alcohol that’s been diluted with water.

Does Mammillaria Gracilis Fragilis Produce Flowers?

Yes, Mammillaria Gracilis Fragilis produces off-white to yellow-colored flowers from the spring to winter months.

Last Updated on June 9, 2022 by Sofia Lara

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