Studies on the survival of species are essential to understanding their biology and to developing effective conservation and management plans. This study aimed to determine the best model to explain the survival of the species Melocactus conoideus on the basis of time, density, age structure and habitat location, as well as to describe the interactions among those factors. The study was conducted in three M. conoideus habitat patches in the municipality of Vitória da Conquista, in the state of Bahia, Brazil, only one of which was within a “conservation unit” (protected area). In each patch, we selected 120 specimens of M. conoideus, which were marked with identification plates and classified by developmental stage and density. The survival of those individuals was monitored for a period of one year. The overall survival of M. conoideus was 87.5% and was found to correlate with the month, as well as with the interaction between the factors Patch and Density. Our results show that the survival of M. conoideus individuals is related to the intrinsic characteristics of each habitat patch and suggest that more areas should be set aside for the conservation of this species.