Bristle Brush Cactus

Bristle Brush Cactus

Rare and distinctive.

In stock (low stock)
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Cylindrical stems with a dense covering of spines beginning upright then tending to horizontal and even dropping with maturity, they can reach up to 50cm long. It produces offsets readily that will gradually grow to fill the pot.
The central and radial spines are white to cinnamon, short and dense. The magenta pink flowers form a pretty ring around the top of the stem in spring. It is relatively quick to grow and a great variety for beginners (they can fill a 25cm pot in around three years depending on conditions). They are currently around 5cm.
Mammillaria spinosissima subsp. pilcayensis is commonly known as Bristle Brush Cactus or Red Headed Irishman. It is endemic to Mexico and the spines were used as fish hooks.
What could be more dry hardy and easier to care for than the Cactus? Cactus are a top plant for all ages and a great way to encourage kids to garden. All you need to grow Cactus successfully is well drained soil, a sunny position and the restraint not to water.

SIZE (HxW): 5-50cm x 5-15cm
I SEE THE LIGHT: Choose a brightly lit position out of the hot afternoon sun (which may burn the leaves or damage the roots in the pot). Indoors, place your pot Cactus by a sunny window – you get the best colour in bright light. If you are growing yours outdoors and live in a cold area it is best bought indoors for winter.
I NEED A DRINK: Low water needs, water lightly then allow the soil to dry out before watering again. You are more likely to kill it with kindness than neglect. The more light they have the more water they can take, but it is better to err on the side of caution. They are dormant over winter so don’t need much, if any moisture in the cool (and low light) part of the year – if you water too much in winter it tends to damage/rot their roots.
I WILL SURVIVE: In pots use a well drained potting mix specially formulated for succulents and cactus to give them the drainage they need. They aren’t huge fans of humidity, so it is best to ensure they have good air flow. Keep away from cold draughts or air con/heating vents. You can remove the offsets as required, or allow them to fill the pot. Repot every three or four years to maintain vigour.
You don’t need to fertilise them very often or much, a diluted liquid cactus fertiliser in spring is all they need and they will of course forgive if you forget.

Supplied as: Pots
Size: 7.5 cm



Botantical name

Mammillaria spinosissima subsp.pilcayensis








Cool to Sub-Tropical


Australia wide

Frost hardiness

Frost Tender


Filtered Light

Supplied as



7.5 cm

Water needs