Little mouse cactus, Rebutia muscula: plant, cultivate, multiply

Rebutia muscula or Aylostera muscle, the little mouse cactus, owes its charming name to its soft white fur. It is a miniature, proliferating, non-prickly cactus that exhibits pretty bright orange flowers, easy to grow behind a window.

Rebutia muscula or Aylostera muscula, the little mouse cactus


Scientific N. Rebutia muscula

Synonyms Rebutia friebrigii var muscula, Aylostera muscula

Origin Bolivia

Flowering may June

Flowers orange



Foliage no leaves

Height6-10cm with age

Plant and cultivate

Hardiness not hardy, 2C

Exposition partial shade very light shade

Solmineral, drainant

Acidity slightly acidic slightly alkaline

Humidity normal in summer, dry in winter

usecultivation in pot, edge of window, veranda, frost-free greenhouse, exterior in t

Plantationspring t

Multiplicationcutting, seedling

Rebutia muscula or Aylostera muscula, the little mouse cactus

Rebutia muscula, is a small globular cactus nicknamed the little mouse cactus, a name in reference to its namespecies Latin. It belongs to the family Cactaceae. It is from Bolivia in South America. This type of cactus comes from the mountain environment, present up to 2300 m altitude. It lives in riprap, cracks or even nestled in a cushion of moss. He makes a popular cultivated cactus : quite simple to maintain, which flowers easily, and for most individuals in culture, which does not sting.

In the old days, Rebutia muscula was considered a cultivar or a geographic variant of Rejection of fever, which also has different synonyms (R.densiseta, R.spinosissima, R.aureispina…); a white, fluffy form so attractive that it quickly spread in cultivation. Gradually, new botanical studies led to a status of subspecies, then it was then elevated to the rank of species. Finally, it seems that since 2015, Rebutia muscula named Aylostera muscle, Aylostera being a genre very close to Rebutia, they differ from some floral criteria such as the base of the pistil welded to the floral tube at Aylostera.

Despite everything, it is still often called Rebutia muscula.

Be careful not to confuse Rebutia muscula (muscle meaning little mouse) with Tiny rebuttal (tiny meaning tiny), another species of flowering rebutia.

Aylostera muscle is a little cactus. Young, he shows a spherical to cylindrical body, with a diameter of 3 to 5 cm: a miniature cactus. Quickly, it begins to proliferate to produce a cluster of small balls that will hardly exceed 10 cm in height.

The little mouse cactus is weakly marked by 20 to 40 very thin ribs, arranged in a spiral. The areolas carry a multitude flexible prickles, and generally not stiff enough to bite, characterized by their silky appearance and white, very covering: we hardly see the color of the epidermis of this cactus. These spines protect against the burning rays and at the same time diffuse the light towards the photosynthetic cells.

Aged 1 to 2 years, this cactus is already starting to bloom. Its flower buds are born towards the base of the small balls. The flowering time is mostly in spring or early summer, although it happens to bloom again later.

The flowers have a tubular perianth that opens into a funnel on multiple bright orange tepals. They measure about 3 cm in diameter, therefore large compared to the size of the balls, showing nicely on the white bristles.

Aylostera muscle is autogame : these self-fertile flowers turn into a small spherical fruit, barely visible, because it is stuck to the areola and lost among the prickles. This fruit contains small dark seeds.

How to cultivate Aylostera muscle ?

Aylostera muscle is easily grown on a veranda, frost-free greenhouse, or simply behind a window, because a exposition filtered sun or bright shade may suffice. However, the more light the little mouse cactus gets, the whiter it will become. If we start to see the color of the epidermis, it is because there is insufficient light. The cactus takes a less compact form and can be a little more fragile.

Aylostera muscle is cultivated in a cactus substrate, or a mixture of 1/3 garden soil / 1/3 horticultural sand, 1/3 potting soil : mixture that you can combine yourself or buy ready-made. However, if you know a vegetable garden where the soil is not too heavy, such as clay-silt loam, you can try growing it in 100% of this soil which will promote good quality spines.

Watering: Aylostera muscle is watered only from mid-April to the end of September, or, during its growing season, at the rate of a very copious watering which completely wets the soil of the pot (but the excess of which flows freely and does not remain in a flowerpot), each time that his land is considered to be completely dry.

Watering is preferably done on the edge of the pot to avoid wetting its dense spines. Xerophyte, it supports completely to stay dry during forgetfulness or an absence, but this penalizes its development.

The rest of the year should be a strictly dry resting season, without any watering and in a cool room, between 1 and 12 ° C. Completely dry, it even tolerates a few short frosts at -4 ° C. This dormancy cool and dry is essential for the cactus to do its floral induction and flower the following summer.

To feed it: this potted cactus uses up the nutrients in its soil in 1 or 2 years. To feed it then passes either by a repotting, possible between April and September, or by the contribution offertilizer balanced once a month, during watering.

How to multiply Aylostera muscle ?

Cuttings: from April to August, we can cut off the suckers. Cleanly separated from the mother plant, the rejection shows a wound that needs to air dry for a week, then this cutting is simply placed on a pot of slightly damp earth, until the roots appear.

The trickiest thing is not to crush the prickles which are the charm of this cactus.

Semis : a bit long, but fun. The seeds contained in the small spherical fruits can be either sown immediately or stored and then sown in April of next spring, which allows a longer 1st growing season for the seedlings. Newly sprouted baby cacti are tiny and grow slowly during that first year. From the second year, if they exceed 1 to 2 cm in diameter, they are sometimes already able to flower.

Species and varieties of Rebutia

About forty species

  • Rebutia heliosa, almost without prickles
  • Tiny rebuttal, very floriferous
  • notocactus reduced, small species with bright red flowers
  • Rebutia aurantiaca, with orange flowers
  • Rebutia aureiflora, with orange-yellow flowers
  • Rebutia (Sulcorebutia) rauschii, with a bluish green body
  • Rebutia torquata, with a more cylindrical body
  • Rebutia senilis, very easy to grow
Plants of the same genus

Source: Au Jardin, conseils en jardinage by

*The article has been translated based on the content of Au Jardin, conseils en jardinage by If there is any problem regarding the content, copyright, please leave a report below the article. We will try to process as quickly as possible to protect the rights of the author. Thank you very much!

*We just want readers to access information more quickly and easily with other multilingual content, instead of information only available in a certain language.

*We always respect the copyright of the content of the author and always include the original link of the source article.If the author disagrees, just leave the report below the article, the article will be edited or deleted at the request of the author. Thanks very much! Best regards!