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Cleistocactus winteri (Golden Rat Tail)


Scientific Name

Cleistocactus winteri D. R. Hunt

Common Names

Golden Rat Tail


Hildewintera aureispina, Winteria aureispinar, Winterocereus aureispinus

Scientific Classification

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


Cleistocactus winteri is a branching cactus with spreading, arching, pendant, or trailing stem that can grow up to 40 inches (1 m) long and up to 1 inch (2.5 cm) wide. It has many short bristly golden spines that literally cover the surface of the stems. Flowers are vivid orange to salmon-pink, up to 2.4 inches (6 cm) long, up to 2 inches (5 cm) across and very showy. They are repetitively and freely produced on mature plants in spring and summer and can last for several days.

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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.


Endemic to Bolivia (Santa Cruz).

Subspecies, Varieties, Forms, Cultivars and Hybrids

Cleistocactus winteri subsp. colademononis


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