Growing a Bishop’s Cap (Astrophytum myriostigma) is fun, easy, and a great addition to your cactus collection.
What is Bishop’s Cap Cactus?
Spineless with a globular to cylindrical stem, this cactus grows in the shape of a star. It is native to mountainous regions of northern and central Mexico, and has easily found its way across the border to gain popularity in the U.S. In Mexico, it grows in chalky soil in stony ground. It grows happily here in USDA hardiness zones 10-11 and as a container plant in lower zones.
Daisy-like flowers bloom on the mature Bishop’s Cap, yellow with a red to orange center. While each flower lasts just a couple of days, they bloom in succession and flowers may be present for an extended time. The beautiful blooms are slightly fragrant and just another good reason to grow this beautiful plant.
As the plant grows, white hairy scales appear in the form of a Bishop’s mitre, a headdress worn by the religious leader. This earns the five-pointed plant another common name – Deacon’s Hat and Monk’s Hood.
The plant normally has five protruding ribs, creating the star shape, but it can have four to eight speckled ribs. These develop as the plant matures.
Bishop’s Cap Cactus Care
If you purchase or otherwise receive the Bishop’s Cap plant at a young age, don’t expose it to full sun. It can take full sun in maturity, but usually does better in light shade. This cactus often grows well on a dappled sun windowsill but be careful if sun shines through.
Bishop’s Cap cactus info says the plant is hard to kill unless you grow it in rich soil or water too heavily. Grow Bishop’s Cap in a fast-draining gritty mix. Provide only moderate water in spring and summer and keep this cactus completely dry during fall and winter. As soon as temperatures begin to drop in autumn, withhold the water.
If you wish to fertilize the cactus, use a low-nitrogen content food only in spring and summer. Bishop’s Cap has a protective covering of chalky scales, giving it a silver tone. Be gentle with them as they won’t grow back if accidentally rubbed off.