Cephalocereus senilis (Haw.) Pfeiff.
Old Man Cactus, Old Man of Mexico, Bunny Cactus, White Persian Cat Cactus
Cephalophorus senilis, Cereus senilis, Pilocereus senilis
Cephalocereus senilis is a columnar cactus with clusters of erect, usually unbranched stems with 20 to 30 ribs and a shaggy coat of long white hairs, which is the most striking feature of this species. The stems grow up to 50 feet (15 m) tall and up to 12 inches (30 cm) in diameter. Each areole bears 1 to 5 up to 2 inches (5 cm) long central spines and 20 to 30 hair-like laterals. Flowers are whitish pink and 2 inches (5 cm) long. The plant may not flower until 10 to 20 years old. Fruits are pinkish-red, covered with yellowish hair, and up to 1.2 inches (3 cm) long.
USDA hardiness zones 9b to 11b: from 25 °F (−3.9 °C) to 50 °F (+10 °C).
How to Grow and Care
Old Man Cactus is mostly grown as a houseplant and stays small and easily kept in a container for its entire lives.
Use a cactus mix or blend of sand, perlite, and topsoil for indoor cactus growing. Also, use an unglazed pot for growing Old Man Cactus. This will allow the pot to evaporate any excess moisture. This cactus likes its soil on the dry side, and overwatering is a common cause of rot and disease.
Allow the top couple inches of soil to dry out completely between waterings. Then in winter, reduce watering to once or twice during the season.
Fertilize with cactus food in early spring, and you might be rewarded with thick pink flowers. In the plant's natural habitat, it grows a pinkish-red fruit, but this is rare in captive cultivation.
This species is native to Guanajuato and Hidalgo in eastern Mexico.
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