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Cephalocereus senilis (Old Man Cactus)


Scientific Name

Cephalocereus senilis (Haw.) Pfeiff.

Common Names

Old Man Cactus, Old Man of Mexico, Bunny Cactus, White Persian Cat Cactus


Cephalophorus senilis, Cereus senilis, Pilocereus senilis

Scientific Classification

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


Cephalocereus senilis is a tall, columnar growing cactus with clusters of stems that may grow up to 50 feet (15 m) tall and up to 18 inches (45 cm) in diameter. It has 12 to 30 ribs, 1 to 5 central spines, up to 2 inches (5 cm) long and 20 to 30 hair-like laterals. The individual stems are usually unbranched. The 2 inches (5 cm) long, whitish pink flowers, followed by pinkish-red fruit, up to 1.2 inches (3 cm) long covered with yellowish hair.

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USDA hardiness zone 9b to 11b: from 25 °F (−3.9 °C) to 50 °F (+10 °C).

How to Grow and Care

Old Man Cactus are mostly grown as houseplants and stay small and easily kept in a container for their 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.

Old Man Cactus houseplants like their soil on the dry side and overwatering is a common cause of rot and disease. Allow the top couple of inches of soil dry out completely between waterings. In winter, reduce watering to once or twice during the season. Fertilize with a cactus food in early spring and you might be rewarded with thick pink flowers. In the plant's natural habitat it grows a 1 inch (2.5 cm) long fruit, but this is rare in captive cultivation… – See more at: How to Grow and Care for an Old Man Cactus (Cephalocereus senilis)


Native to Guanajuato and Hidalgo in eastern Mexico.


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