Stenocereus thurberi (Engelm.) Buxb.
Organ Pipe Cactus, Pitayo Dulce (Spanish)
Cereus thurberi, Lemaireocereus thurberi
Stenocereus thurberi is a cactus with several narrow stems that rise vertically, growing from a single short trunk just above the ground level. These stems are about 6 inches (15 cm) thick and grow to a height of 16 feet (4.9 m). These stems rarely branch but rather grow annually from the tip of the last growth. The mature plant can reach a width of 12 feet (3.7 m). Each stem has 12 to 19 ribs that bear dark brown to black spines that turn gray as it matures. It takes 150 years to reach maturity. The older plants produce 3 inches (7.5 cm) funnel-shaped white flowers annually which are open at night and close by the morning and have a purple or pink tint to them. These usually grow during April, May, and June. The plant also produces fruit about the size of a tennis ball.
How to Grow and Care
Like most cacti, Cereus are fairly low-maintenance and hardy. Make sure they receive enough water without becoming waterlogged, especially during the summer, and fertilize them for best results. If the roots have become black or overly soft, the cactus could be experiencing root rot – cut away the affected parts and replant. Like all cacti, give them lots of direct sunlight, especially during the summer. Well-drained soil is best, and most Cereus perform well in a soil that contains some organic material. Some recommend avoiding a soil that contains sphagnum moss, though – it can make the cactus vulnerable to root rot.
It may become necessary to repot your Cereus if it outgrows its container. If so, make sure the soil is dry and then remove the pot. Knock away old soil and prune away any rotted or dead roots, then replace it in a new pot and backfill with new soil. Make sure not to overwater cacti planted in new pots, as this can lead to root rot – it should be left dry for about a week and then watered lightly… – See more at: How to Grow and Care for Cereus.
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