Weingartia lanata F. Ritter

We all like plants that are easy to grow and flower in our glasshouses and here is a good example. Plants belonging to the genus Weingartia, in the strict sense, (excluding Sulcorebutia), are rewarding to grow. Most have yellow flowers produced in large numbers and, unusually, are capable of producing several flowers from a single areole, either synchronously or over a period of time. They come from the high Andes of Bolivia and northern Argentina so are not cold sensitive in cultivation.

I have chosen Weingartia lanata because it is frequently offered for sale as seeds or seedlings and its woolly areoles make it particularly attractive. The picture shows a plant I grew from seeds collected in 1996 near to Chuqui-Chuqui, Chuquisaca, Bolivia at 1,900m. This example has remained solitary but some specimens will offset to make clusters of stems.

You can find this plant with various names such as W. pulquinensis lanata, W. longigibba, W. pilcomayensis, W. riograndensis and in the New Cactus Lexicon, all weingartias are included in the genus Rebutia. For example, W. lanata is found as Rebutia neocumingii subsp. lanata.  The genus Weingartia was named in 1937 by E Werdermann after the German cactus expert from Thuringen, Wilhelm Weingart (1856–1936).

This plant has no special cultural requirements but benefits from an acidic compost and regular watering in the growing season. A cool bright place in winter with just frost protection and little or no water will encourage good flowering in spring and summer. It is easily raised from seeds but can also be propagated by offsets which can sometimes appear on older plants.

Graham Charles

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