Ariocarpus fissuratus (Chautle Livingrock Cactus)

Ariocarpus fissuratus

Last updated on September 3rd, 2022 at 02:52 am

Ariocarpus fissuratus, more commonly known as the chautle livingrock cactus, is a species of cactus that is native to Chihuahua and Sonora in Mexico. It has become popular in the United States as well because of its dramatic shape and because it’s one of the most diverse species within the genus Ariocarpus.

The chautle livingrock cactus is one of the more unusual species in the family of Cactaceae. This species of cactus has been around since before the Ice Age, roughly 27 million years ago.

It’s easy to tell when it’s time to water an Ariocarpus fissuratus since their leaves start curling and shriveling up slightly when they’re thirsty, but it can be difficult to tell when they have too much water because the plant can be sensitive to overwatering.

These succulents are quite unique in that the outside of the plant rarely, if ever, gets wet, meaning you won’t ever have to worry about mold or bacteria growing on your plant if you add too much water by accident.

Origin and distribution

The Ariocarpus fissuratus is a cactus that is native to Mexico. It is found in the Chihuahuan Desert and in the states of Coahuila, Nuevo León, and Tamaulipas.

This cactus is also found in the United States in the state of Texas. The Ariocarpus fissuratus grows in sandy or gravelly soils on slopes and plains. Its preferred habitat is semi-arid grasslands with scrubby vegetation.

It can be seen growing as solitary plants or clumps of up to four individual plants with large diameters. These are mostly found at an altitude between 1,200 and 2,000 meters above sea level but they can be seen at altitudes between 600 meters above sea level up to 2,300 meters above sea level.

Ariocarpus fissuratus propagation

Ariocarpus fissuratus

To propagate Ariocarpus fissuratus, first find a healthy plant that is at least a year old. Cut a stem from the plant that is about 3-4 inches long and has at least 2 nodes. Place the stem in a pot with well-draining cactus mix and put it in a bright, sunny spot.

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Water the stem lightly and wait for it to root. Once it has rooted, you can begin watering it more frequently. The chautle living rock cactus can grow up to 18 inches tall, so be sure not to place it near furniture or other items.

If you’re looking for an even faster way of propagating this plant, try rooting stems by burying them in the sand. Make sure the soil stays moist but not wet or the roots will rot!

Ariocarpus fissuratus care information

Ariocarpus fissuratus

Ariocarpus fissuratus care is quite easy, but this cactus does not like to be moved or disturbed in any way. It prefers to be planted in a pot with a well-draining mix of potting soil and sand, and it can also tolerate being planted directly into the ground.

Feeding should only be done on occasion, as too much fertilizer will result in too many flowers instead of new growth. It can handle some frost, but it will have difficulty surviving if temperatures drop below freezing for an extended period of time.

Light requirement

This cactus prefers bright, direct sunlight but can tolerate some shade. It should be placed in an area where it will receive at least four hours of sunlight per day. If the cactus does not receive enough light, it will start to stretch and become leggy.

When this happens, you should move the plant closer to a window or outside for a few hours a day. Ariocarpus fissuratus is drought tolerant once established, so it doesn’t need much water during its first year as long as you are providing plenty of light.

Soil/potting mix

A well-draining cactus mix is key for Ariocarpus fissuratus, as they are susceptible to root rot. A ratio of two parts perlite to one-part potting soil is a good starting point. You can also add a small amount of sand to the mix for extra drainage. Be sure to use pots with drainage holes to prevent soggy conditions.


These cacti are native to hot, dry climates and are very drought tolerant. They like to be kept on the drier side, so only water when the soil is completely dry. When you do water, make sure to thoroughly soak the roots and then allow the plant to drain before putting it back in its pot. It can take a long time for these plants to recover from overwatering, so always err on the side of less watering!

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Just like any other plant, Ariocarpus fissuratus need fertilizer to grow and thrive. The best way to fertilize your cactus is to use a diluted liquid fertilizer every two weeks during the growing season.

Be sure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions carefully, as too much fertilizer can burn the roots of your cactus. During the winter months, you can reduce the frequency of fertilization to once a month.

It’s also important to monitor the weather conditions in your area and adjust the frequency accordingly. If it looks like rain, then you should fertilize more often; if it doesn’t look like rain for an extended period of time, then cut back on how often you fertilize.


The temperature for this cactus should be between 68-74 degrees Fahrenheit during the day and 54-60 degrees Fahrenheit at night. If the temperature gets too cold, the cactus will start to wilt and may die. If the temperature gets too hot, the cactus will start to shrivel up and may also die.

The best way to know if your cactus is happy with its current temperature is to check the color of its leaves. If they are a healthy green, then the temperature is just right.


These cacti are native to dry, arid regions and do not tolerate humidity well. If you live in an area with high humidity, it is best to grow Ariocarpus fissuratus in a pot so that you can control the amount of moisture the roots are exposed to. If the roots are too wet, they will rot and the plant will die.

The ideal humidity range is between 40-60%.


Though they don’t require much in the way of care, ariocarpus fissuratus (chautle livingrock cactus) may benefit from the occasional pruning. This will help to encourage new growth and keep the plant looking its best.

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When pruning, be sure to use sharp, clean shears or knives. Make cuts at an angle, taking care not to damage the plant. Try to create an open V shape by cutting the top and bottom edges.

Cut out any branches that are crossing one another. Cut back on any dead or damaged foliage and take care to leave about six inches of space between your cut branch end and other branches.

After making your cut, immediately seal it with clear nail polish so as to avoid moisture from seeping into the wound, which can lead to infection.

When to repot

You’ll know it’s time to repot your Ariocarpus fissuratus when the roots start to come out of the drainage holes, or if the plant becomes top-heavy and starts to topple over. If you see either of these signs, it’s time to give your cactus a new home.

Make sure to use a pot that is about 1 inch larger in diameter than the current pot, as this species can grow quite large. Fill the bottom with rocks for drainage before adding soil and placing your living rock cactus inside.

Add more soil until it reaches halfway up the trunk of the plant and then water thoroughly so that all of the roots are wet before putting in place.

When planting on a slope, turn off any power sources such as sprinklers before proceeding so as not to create an electrical hazard.

Dormancy/Winter rest

Ariocarpus fissuratus requires a dormancy or winter rest period. This cactus is native to the Chihuahuan Desert and does best when it experiences a cool, dry winter.

During this time, the plant will stop growing and may even appear to be dead. However, with proper care, it will come back to life in the spring. To prepare for this dormant period, you can either leave your living rock cactus outside during the fall and allow it to experience temperatures of 10-20 degrees Fahrenheit.

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Alternatively, you can place your living rock cactus in an unheated room that stays below 60 degrees Fahrenheit throughout the winter months.

Flowers & fragrance

Ariocarpus fissuratus

The Ariocarpus fissuratus, or Chautle livingrock cactus, is a small, slow-growing cactus that produces small, white flowers that have a sweet fragrance. The flowers bloom in the spring and summer.

Growth rate

The growth rate of Ariocarpus fissuratus is very slow. In ideal conditions, it will take around five years for the plant to reach full maturity. However, in less than ideal conditions, the plant may only grow a few inches each year. Despite its slow growth rate, Ariocarpus fissuratus is a long-lived plant.


The Ariocarpus fissuratus, or Chautle livingrock cactus, is considered to be toxic to humans and animals if ingested. The symptoms of toxicity include vomiting, diarrhea, and abdominal pain. In severe cases, the toxicity can lead to death. If you suspect that your animal has ingested this cactus, it is important to seek professional medical help immediately.

USDA hardiness zones

Ariocarpus fissuratus thrives best in USDA hardiness zones 9-11, meaning that it is sensitive to frost. It requires well-drained soil and can be grown as a bonsai plant.

Pests and diseases

These cacti are susceptible to mealybugs, scale, and aphids. As with most cacti, over-watering is the biggest problem. These plants are also susceptible to fungal diseases if they stay too wet. Good air circulation and well-draining soil can help prevent these problems.

If these plants do get a disease or pest infestation, it’s best to treat them as soon as possible so they don’t spread. Sometimes pruning away infected parts of the plant can be effective in fighting off pests or stopping the spread of disease; however, this should only be done when necessary since it will slow down growth and may cause unnatural scars on the plant.