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Cereus fricii

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Scientific Name

Cereus fricii Backeb.

Synonyms

Cephalocereus fricii, Cephalocereus russelianus, Cereus russelianus, Subpilocereus fricii, Subpilocereus russelianus

Scientific Classification

Family: Cactaceae
Subfamily: Cactoideae
Tribe: Cereeae
Genus: Cereus

Origin

This species is native to the Guajira desert located in northern Venezuela and Colombia.

Description

Cereus fricii is a large, tree-like cactus with a candelabra-like crown of thick, ridged branches that bear clusters of long spines. It grows up to 26.2 feet (8 m) tall. The trunk is up to 6.6 feet (2 m) tall and up to 20 inches (50 cm) in diameter. Branches are dark green and have 4 to 6 notched ribs, large areoles covered with white wool, and three central and seven radial spines per areole. The spines start brown and change to gray over time. Flowers are cream-colored and up to 3.6 inches (9 cm) long. Fruits are pink and up to 2.4 inches (6 cm) long.

The specific epithet "fricii" honors Alberto Vojtěch Frič (1882-1944), a famous Czech botanist, ethnographer, writer, and explorer who discovered and described many species of cacti.

How to Grow and Care for Cereus fricii

Light: This cactus likes full sun. It can handle partial shade but thrives in direct sunlight during the summer. A sunny window is a good spot to grow C. fricii indoors. Rotate the pot a quarter turn every week or two to encourage balanced growth. If possible, get your cactus outdoors from spring to fall.

Soil: C. fricii does not like to have "wet feet" and needs to be grown in well-draining soil. Use commercial soil mixes for cacti or make your own mix.

Hardiness: During the active growth period, this cactus likes warm temperatures, while in winter, it likes cooler temperatures. C. fricii can withstand temperatures as low as 30 to 50 °F (-1.1 to 10 °C), USDA hardiness zones 10a to 11b.

Watering: From spring to fall, water thoroughly, but allow the soil to dry out before watering again. With the arrival of fall, gradually reduce the watering frequency. During the winter, when C. fricii is dormant, give it just enough water to prevent shrinking.

Fertilizing: During its growing season, this cactus likes regular fertilizing. A balanced, water-soluble fertilizer, diluted to 1/4 strength, can be added to the water for each watering. A 10-10-10 fertilizer is ideal. Instead of making a solution of water and fertilizer, there are also dry fertilizers. Do not fertilize during the winter.

Repotting: While C. fricii is young, it is recommended to repot each year in early spring. Once it matures, repot when your cactus is outgrowing its pot.

Propagation: Using stem cuttings is the easiest method to propagate C. fricii because seed propagation is a slow process. Planting of the cuttings is best done when the cactus is actively growing. Spring and summer is the best time to sow the seeds.

Learn more at How to Grow and Care for Cereus.

Toxicity of Cereus fricii

C. fricii is non-toxic to humans or animals.

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