I promised I would share pictures of my Rebutia arachnacantha when it bloomed. It tried to open on Wednesday, but the overcast prevented it from opening fully. But it did open enough for me to appreciate the color. The person who gave me this cactus described it as a fiery orange, and the bloom does not disappoint.
How does such a little plant produce such a big flower? It's both ridiculous and beautiful.
Thursday brought sunny skies, and tongues of flame unfurled into full, blazing glory. Slightly more orange than the picture below looks (at least on my screen) it really is the color of yellow-orange flames. The flower is so big it's almost like a huge parasol that's meant to shade the cactus below.
This is what it looks like with just one bloom, after suffering in a dark apartment in Wisconsin all winter. Imagine what it will look like next year after spending this winter in the new greenhouse, where it will get the cool winter rest it needs to really produce a good show of flowers.
If kept dry in the winter, this little cactus is actually hardy to at least 15F, perhaps a bit lower. I think I'll stick with the greenhouse, though, for safety. It originates in the high Andes of South America. Rebutias, and the related genus Lobivia, frequently have large flowers like this one and well-grown specimens produce so many blooms you can't even see the cactus below. They also produce offsets, which you can see at the base of mine, that eventually produce mound-shaped colonies. Each little barrel is less than two inches across, so you can get a lot of little cacti in a colony less than a foot wide, and all covering themselves in huge blooms. I think I'll go ahead and dub this little bonfire my favorite plant in the garden this week, too.