Copiapoa longistaminea dwells in a very restricted coastal area on very compact granitic substrates with poor drainage where very little else grows. The erosion and the scarce rains create cracks and crevices and the seeds have the opportunity to germinate. The plants grow exposed in barren land, but with protection from direct sun through coastal fog (camanchaca) and obtain water mainly from condensation of the fog, they only manage to survive in those conditions. Even though the temperatures are moderate in the summer as well, the light on sunny days is so bright and burning that most Copiapoas are covered by a white waxy surface which protects the plants from the sun and reduces the evaporation. The wax gives the plants a characteristic, whitewashed look. The waxy coating is only created if the plants are exposed to ultraviolet rays and will only be created sporadically under glass in a greenhouse
Considering that Copiapoa longistaminea comes from a habitat with an extremely arid climate, they are remarkably tolerant of pot culture. These plants have taproots and are susceptible to overwatering. They requires also an appropriate air circulation. Copiapoas are summer grower species easy to cultivate. Growth rate: This is a slow growing cactus kept for the beauty of its form that will make clumps given the best conditions. Soils: It likes very coarse mineral cactus mix soil, but can become too elongated if compost is too rich. Repotting: Use pot with good drainage. Watering: It requires light but regular waterings in summer, but let the soil mix dry between waterings, but do not overwater (Rot prone), it must be strictly kept dry throughout the winter quiescent period since it is very sensitive to any moisture excesses keep dry in winter. Fertilization: Feed with a high potassium fertilizer in summer. Hardiness: Not highly tolerant of a great deal of frost. They need to be kept in a cool place during winter rest and are resistant to light frost if kept on the dry side prior to, and during, cold weather ( they are hardy to -2 C ° C short periods). However some warmth throughout the year will increase the grower's success (minimum 5° to 10°C during rest season). Exposition: Requires full sun or light shade and careful watering to keep plant compact with strong coloured spines. Tends to bronze in strong light, which encourages flowering and heavy spine production. Light shadow my be useful in the hottest summer days.