Prime destination for succulent lovers

Carnegiea gigantea f. cristata (Crested Saguaro)


Scientific Name

Carnegiea gigantea f. cristata

Accepted Scientific Name

Carnegiea gigantea (Engelm.) Britton & Rose

Common Names

Crested Saguaro, Crested Saguaro Cactus


Carnegiea gigantea f. cristate

Scientific Classification

Family: Cactaceae
Subfamily: Cactoideae
Tribe: Echinocereeae
Genus: Carnegiea


Carnegiea gigantea f. cristata is a Saguaro with one difference. It has a crested form usually found on the growing tip of the main arm or stem. The crested top forms when the cells in the growing stem begin to divide outward instead of upward or in a circular pattern like the non-crested plant. The result is a fan-shaped crest growing outward from the cacti. The cause has been speculated but remains unknown. One theory is that a "trigger" may initiate the process, such as a lightning strike or frost. The crest can extend up to 5 feet (1.5 m) in diameter and resembles a convoluted set of folds.

Carnegiea gigantea f. cristata (Crested Saguaro)

Photo via


USDA hardiness zone 8a to 11b: from 10 °F (−12.2 °C) to 50 °F (+10 °C).

How to Grow and Care

It is not legal to procure a Saguaro Cactus for home cultivation by digging it out of the desert. Beyond that, mature Saguaros almost always die when transplanted.

Saguaro Cactus babies grow under the protection of nurse trees. The cactus will continue to grow, and often its nurse tree will expire. It is thought the cactus may cause the nurse tree to die by competing for resources. The nurse trees provide Saguaro Cactus babies with shelter from the harsh rays of the sun and dispersing moisture from evaporation.

Saguaro Cactus needs to grow in well-drained grit and receive low levels of water, with the soil drying out completely between watering. Annually fertilizing with cactus food in spring will help the plant complete its growth cycle.  See more at How to Grow and Care for a Saguaro Cactus (Carnegiea gigantea)


Carnegiea gigantea f. cristata is a crested form of Carnegiea gigantea.


Photo Gallery

Subscribe now and be up to date with our latest news and updates.

Share this with other succulent lovers!