Carnegiea gigantea f. cristata
Accepted Scientific Name
Carnegiea gigantea (Engelm.) Britton & Rose
Crested Saguaro, Crested Saguaro Cactus
Carnegiea gigantea f. cristate
Carnegiea gigantea f. cristata is a large cactus with a fan-shaped part usually found on the tip of the main stem. The crest forms when the cells in the stem begin to divide outward instead of upward or in a circular pattern like the non-crested plant. 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.
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 water levels, with the soil drying out completely between watering. Annually fertilizing with cactus food in spring will help the plant complete its growth cycle.
This cactus is a crested form of Carnegiea gigantea.
- Back to genus Carnegiea
- Succulentopedia: Browse succulents by Scientific Name, Common Name, Genus, Family, USDA Hardiness Zone, Origin, or cacti by Genus
Click on a photo to see a larger version.