Cleistocactus winteri D. R. Hunt
Golden Rat Tail
Hildewintera aureispina, Winteria aureispinar, Winterocereus aureispinus
This species is endemic to Bolivia (Santa Cruz).
Cleistocactus winteri is a much-branched cactus with spreading, arching, or pendent cylindrical stems densely covered with clusters of short golden yellow to brownish spines. The stems grow up to 5 feet (1.5 m) long and 2.4 inches (6 cm) in diameter. Each brown areole bears about 20 central and 30 radial spines. They are up 0.4 inches (1 cm) long. Flowers are funnel-shaped, pinkish-orange, up to 2.4 inches (6 cm) long, and up to 2 inches (5 cm) in diameter. They are repetitively and freely produced on mature plants from spring to summer and last several days. Fruits are barrel-shaped, green to reddish-green, up to 0.4 inches (1 cm) long, and nearly equal in diameter.
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 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 main stem's base. If an offset is removed to be used in 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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