Cleistocactus winteri D. R. Hunt
Golden Rat Tail
Borzicactus aureispinus, Cleistocactus aureispinus, Cleistocactus winteri subsp. winteri, Hildewintera aureispina, Loxanthocereus aureispinus, Winteria aureispina, Winterocereus aureispinus
Cleistocactus winteri, also known as Borzicactus aureispinus or Hildewintera aureispina, is a much-branched cactus with long, cylindrical stems densely covered with clusters of short golden yellow to brownish spines. The stems are spreading, arching, or pendent and can grow up to 5 feet (1.5 m) long and 2.4 inches (6 cm) in diameter. The spines are up to 0.4 inches (1 cm) long. Each brown areole bears about 20 central and 30 radial spines.
The flowers are funnel-shaped, pinkish-orange, and can reach up to 2.4 inches (6 cm) in length and 2 inches (5 cm) in diameter. They are repetitively and freely produced on mature plants from spring to summer and last several days. The fruits are barrel-shaped, green to reddish-green, and up to 0.4 inches (1 cm) in length and diameter.
Cleistocactus winteri is endemic to Bolivia (Santa Cruz).
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. During the spring and summer, water Cleistocactus when the top inch (2.5 cm) of soil dries. In the fall, reduce watering to every five weeks if the soil dries out. During the 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 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 main stem's base. If an offset is removed for propagation, remember to let it dry for a week or so, allowing the wound to heal.
See more at How to Grow and Care for Cleistocactus.
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