Copiapoa humilis is a very small, low growing cactus with roots like turnips, sometimes solitary but usually clumping at the base. It is an excellent plant for container growing. It looks fine in a cold greenhouse and frame or outdoor in a rockery.
Copiapoa humilis is a highly variable taxon with several more or less similar forms that could be described as local varieties. In the wild, it can be found north of Paposo, towards Blanco Encalada south along the coast to Barquito just south of Chanaral (in the regions of Atacama and Antofagasta) Chile. It grows in patches and in crevices in the coastal deserts on the steep mountain base among fragmented stones.