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Cleistocactus smaragdiflorus


Scientific Name

Cleistocactus smaragdiflorus (F.A.C.Weber) Britton & Rose


Cereus smaragdiflorus, Cleistocactus ferrarii, Cereus baumannii var. smaragdiflorus, Cereus colubrinus var. smaragdiflorus

Scientific Classification

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


Cleistocactus smaragdiflorus is a multi-stemmed cactus densely branched at the base. It grows up to 6.6 feet (2 m) tall. The stems are usually erect, up to 3 inches (7.5 cm) in diameter, and have 12 to 16 ribs with closely set areoles and spines. Flowers are red to pinkish, tubular, up to 4 inches (10 cm) inches long, and up to 0.5 inches (1.2 cm) in diameter.

Cleistocactus smaragdiflorus

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

How to Grow and Care

Choose a location that gets full sun and has well-draining soil. During the spring and summer, water Cleistocactus when the top inch (2.5 cm) of soil dries out. During the fall, reduce watering to every five weeks if the ground dries out. In winter, keep your cactus dry, or the moist ground combined with the cool temperatures and dormancy may cause the roots to rot. Fertilize with a low-nitrogen fertilizer during the active growth period. A slow-release fertilizer applied in the spring will be sufficient for the whole year.

It is possible to propagate by cutting a small branch from a Cleistocactus and rooting it, but this inevitably leaves a disfiguring scar near the base of the main stem. If an offset is removed to be used in propagation, remember to let it dry for a week or so, letting the wound heal. Rooting usually occurs within 3 to 8 weeks. It is, therefore, best to raise Cleistocactus from seed. Be sure to get the seeds from a reputable source.

Learn more at How to Grow and Care for Cleistocactus.


Cleistocactus smaragdiflorus is native to Argentina and Bolivia.


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