About 200 to 300 species, Native Mexico, Southwest United States, The Caribbean, Colombia, Venezuela, Guatemala, and Honduras.
Common names are Pincushion cactus, Nipple Cactus, Fishhook, or Bird’s Nest Cactus.
These species are globose or ball-shaped which grow either solitary or in clumps. The spines variety from stiff, stout, bristle-like, hair-like, comb-like, wool and come in a wide range of colors. Flowers often form a ring around the stem, small and many colors. These cactus are the easiest plant to grow.
These Mammillaria flowers are funnel-shaped and come in a wide range of colors, from white, greenish, and yellow to pink and red, often with a dark mid-stripe. Even the spines can produce hair-like or woolly, stiff, soft, and a range of colors
The best type of plant to start with as their requirements are so minimal. Indirect sunlight, well-draining soil, heat tolerance, hate the cold, water deeply but dry out completely, only fertilize in the growing season, and re-pot every two years unless the roots or body-powered the pot.
The only thing you have to watch out for is pests and diseases. As mammillarias are disease resistant but susceptible to pests such as mealybugs and scales. But if you follow a few tricks you will find you can keep them under control. Like keeping them away from snails and ants by watering with soapy water and spreading ant granules around the pots. Doing this on a regular basis will keep them down and does not harm the plants.