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Cleistocactus strausii (Silver Torch Cactus)

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Scientific Name

Cleistocactus strausii (Heese) Backeb.

Common Names

Silver Torch, Silver Torch Cactus, Snow Pole, Wooly Torch

Synonyms

Pilocereus strausii (basionym)

Scientific Classification

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

Description

Cleistocactus strausii is a cactus with slender, erect, grey-green stems that grow up to 10 feet (3 m) tall and only about 2.5 inches (6 cm) in diameter. The stems have around 25 ribs and are densely covered with areoles. They have 4 yellow-brown, up to 2 inches (5 cm) long central spines and 20 shorter white radials. Older plants, over 18 inches (45 cm) tall, produce deep red, burgundy, flowers in late summer. The up to 3 inches (6 cm) long cylindrical flowers protrude horizontally from the columns.

Cleistocactus strausii - Silver Torch Cactus Snow Pole

Photo via wikimedia.org

Hardiness

USDA hardiness zones 9a to 11b: from 20 °F (−6.7 °C) to 50 °F (+10 °C).

How to Grow and Care

Choose a location that gets full sun and has well-draining soil. Water Cleistocactus during the spring and summer 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 Cleistocactus dry, or the moist ground combined with the cool temperatures and dormancy may cause the roots to rot. Fertilize Cleistocactus 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. See more at How to Grow and Care for Cleistocactus.

Origin

Native to high mountain regions of Bolivia and Argentina.

Links

 Photo Gallery


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