Photo by Melody

PlantFiles: Coryphantha
Coryphantha retusa

Family: Cactaceae (kak-TAY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Coryphantha (kor-ry-FAN-tha) (Info)
Species: retusa (re-TOO-suh) (Info)

Synonym:Coryphantha retusa var. retusa
Synonym:Mammillaria cephalophora
Synonym:Echinocactus cephalophorus
Synonym:Melocactus mammillariaeformis
Synonym:Cactus cephalophorus

Cactus and Succulents

under 6 in. (15 cm)

6-9 in. (15-22 cm)
9-12 in. (22-30 cm)
12-15 in. (30-38 cm)

USDA Zone 9b: to -3.8 C (25 F)
USDA Zone 10a: to -1.1 C (30 F)
USDA Zone 10b: to 1.7 C (35 F)
USDA Zone 11: above 4.5 C (40 F)

Sun Exposure:
Full Sun
Sun to Partial Shade
Light Shade

Plant has spines or sharp edges; use extreme caution when handling

Bloom Color:
Pale Yellow
Bright Yellow

Bloom Time:
Late Summer/Early Fall


Other details:
Drought-tolerant; suitable for xeriscaping
Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater
Suitable for growing in containers

Soil pH requirements:
6.1 to 6.5 (mildly acidic)
6.6 to 7.5 (neutral)
7.6 to 7.8 (mildly alkaline)

Patent Information:

Propagation Methods:
From woody stem cuttings
Allow cut surface to callous over before planting
From seed; direct sow after last frost

Seed Collecting:
Allow unblemished fruit to ripen; clean and dry seeds
Unblemished fruit must be significantly overripe before harvesting seed; clean and dry seeds
Properly cleaned, seed can be successfully stored

Click thumbnail
to view:

By Xenomorf
Thumbnail #1 of Coryphantha retusa by Xenomorf

By Xenomorf
Thumbnail #2 of Coryphantha retusa by Xenomorf

By Xenomorf
Thumbnail #3 of Coryphantha retusa by Xenomorf

By Xenomorf
Thumbnail #4 of Coryphantha retusa by Xenomorf

By Xenomorf
Thumbnail #5 of Coryphantha retusa by Xenomorf

By CactusJordi
Thumbnail #6 of Coryphantha retusa by CactusJordi

By Xenomorf
Thumbnail #7 of Coryphantha retusa by Xenomorf


1 positive
2 neutrals
No negatives

Gardeners' Notes:

Neutral CactusJordi On Aug 19, 2008, CactusJordi from El Cajon, CA wrote:

According to literature this species is NOT offsetting and only very rarely has 1 central spine (typically none)


Positive TucsonJen On Sep 12, 2004, TucsonJen from Tucson, AZ (Zone 9a) wrote:

I just happened to be in line behind a couple who were buying one of these yesterday. It was a cluster of about 5 with the large central one in bloom. It looked great! The store employees disagreed as to whether or not it clustered frequently.

Neutral Xenomorf On Sep 12, 2004, Xenomorf from Valley of the Sun, AZ (Zone 9b) wrote:

Another synonym of Coryphantha retusa is Cactus cephalophorus.


This plant has been said to grow in the following regions:

Phoenix, Arizona

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