Rebutia heliosa

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Scientific Name

Rebutia heliosa Rausch


Aylostera narvaecense, Rebutia narvaecensis, Rebutia perplexa

Scientific Classification

Family: Cactaceae
Subfamily: Cactoideae
Tribe: Trichocereeae
Genus: Rebutia


Rebutia heliosa is a small, slow-growing cactus with spherical to shortly cylindrical stems densely covered in brown areoles with short silvery-white spines. The stems are up to 1.2 inches (2.5 cm) in diameter and rarely grow taller than 1.4 inches (3.5 cm). Flowers are diurnal, long-lasting (about ten days), orange to orange-red, funnel-shaped, up to 2 inches (5 cm) long, up to 1.6 inches (4 cm) in diameter. Fruits are small, globose, and purple-red.


USDA hardiness zone 9a to 11b: from 20 °F (−6.7 °C) to 50 °F (+10 °C).

How to Grow and Care

If you can grow cacti and succulents successfully, you can likely grow the popular Rebutias without too much trouble. Their water and light requirements are fairly typical for many cacti species, including a cooling period in the winter to promote better blooming. Watering should be done carefully, allowing the plant to almost dry out between waterings. The cactus mustn't be exposed to prolonged dampness and sitting water. Never let your cactus sit in a dish of water. For the best viewing, instead of propagating your offsets, let the plant for a large cluster. When it blooms, this will make a stunning display. Lastly, make sure to fertilizer during the growing season for the best results.

Repot as needed, preferably during the warm season. To repot your Rebutia, make sure the soil is dry before repotting, then gently remove the pot. Knock away the old soil from the roots, making sure to remove any rotted or dead roots in the process. Treat any cuts with a fungicide. Place the plant in its new pot and backfill with potting soil, spreading the roots out as you repot. Leave the plant dry for a week or so, then begin to water lightly to reduce the risk of root rot. See more at How to Grow and Care for Rebutia.


Rebutia heliosa is native to Bolivia.

Subspecies and Hybrids

  • Rebutia heliosa subsp. cajasensis
  • Rebutia heliosa subsp. teresae
  • Rebutia 'Sunrise'


  • Back to genus Rebutia
  • Succulentopedia: Browse succulents by Scientific Name, Common Name, Genus, Family, USDA Hardiness Zone, Origin, or cacti by Genus

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Rebutia heliosa - garden

Origin and Habitat: Bolivia (Near Tarija (Jucanas) on the road to Narvaez)
Habitat: It grows in mountainous areas at an altitude around 2500 m 3000 m over sea level

Description: Rebutia heliosa (Aylostera heliosa) is a small cactus with heads densely covered covered in brown areoles with white short pectinate spines, giving it a silvery appearance. This odd cactus is unmistakable and very distinctive. It is considered by many one of the nicest species.
Habit:It is essentially a miniature plant simple at first, that readily forms a clustering mound of tiny heads.
Stem: Heads compressed spherical to shortly cylindrical 2,5 cm wide, rarely higher than 3 cm or more.
Areoles: Small, brown and narrow, elongated 1-2 mm long, less than 0,5 mm broad, forming 35-40 spirals.
Spines: 24-26 all radials, short, about 1 mm long, distinctively silvery-white, dense, spreading laterally and pectinate, covering almost completely the small stems in a spiral pattern.
Roots: Fleshy tap root.
Flower: Large, funnel-shaped, long-necked, 4 cm in diameter, 4,5-5,5 cm long, orange-red. Tube up to 3 cm long 2-3 mm across, solid for more than half its length, deep rose to orange pink. Tepals orange with lilac mid-stripe.
Phenology: It flowers profusely in spring. (Rebutias are self-fertilizing but aylosteras are not, and the latter can be fooled by introducing foreign pollen and then re-pollinating with its own pollen.)
Fruit: 4 mm in diameter, deep crimson to purple.
Seeds: Hemispheric to helmet-shaped. black, papillate.

Subspecies, varieties, forms and cultivars of plants belonging to the Rebutia heliosa group

Bibliography: Major references and further lectures
1) James Cullen, Sabina G. Knees, H. Suzanne Cubey “The European Garden Flora Flowering Plants: A Manual for the Identification of Plants Cultivated in Europe, Both Out-of-Doors and Under Glass” Cambridge University Press, 11/Aug./2011
2) David Hunt, Nigel Taylor “The New Cactus Lexicon” DH Books, 2006
3) Edward F. Anderson “The Cactus Family” Timber Press, 2001
4) Willy Cullmann Gerhard Groner Erich Gotz “The Encyclopedia of Cacti” Alpha Books 1986
5) Roger Spencer “Horticultural Flora of South-Eastern Australia: Flowering Plants” UNSW Press, 01/gen/1995

Rebutia heliosa Photo by: Andrea B.
Rebutia heliosa Photo by: Valentino Vallicelli
An ''Egyptian Locust'' looking at the blooming R. heliosa. Photo by: Cactus Art
Rebutia heliosa Photo by: Cactus Art

Growing Conditions

  • Light: Rebutia thrives in bright light and range of conditions. Many species can be grown in partial shade to full sun. However, as these are mountain species, they do not appreciate high temperatures, which should be avoided.
  • Water: Throughout the growing season (spring and summer) let the potting soil almost completely dry out between waterings, then water thoroughly. In winter, cut back watering.
  • Soil: A rich, fast-draining cactus mix is ideal.
  • Fertilizer: During the growing season, fertilize with a cacti fertilizer mix. Suspend feeding during the dormant winter period.

Watch the video: Rebutia Heliosa Cactus

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