Espostoa lanata (Kunth) Britton & Rose
Peruvian Old Man Cactus, Peruvian Snowball Cactus, Peruvian Old Man, Cotton Ball Cactus, New Old-man Cactus, Snowball Cactus, Snowball Old Man
Cactus lanatus, Cephalocereus dautwitzii, Cereus dautwitzii, Cereus lanatus, Cereus sericatus, Cleistocactus lanatus, Espostoa dautwitzii, Espostoa sericata, Oreocereus lanatus, Pilocereus dautwitzii, Pilocereus lanatus
Espostoa lanata is a columnar cactus with densely hairy stems that grow up to 23 feet (7 m) and up to 8 inches (20 cm) in diameter. It looks very similar to Cephalocereus senilis. The main difference is the presence of sharp spines on E. lanata. It is quite variable in size and spines, and for this reason, it has received several names. The stems have 18 to 25 ribs and branch only after several years. The ribs and the spines are mainly hidden by tissue woolly. This cactus blooms at night from a lateral cephalium after several years. Flowers are nocturnal, up to 2 inches (5 cm) in diameter, white to purple, and appear in late spring to early summer.
USDA hardiness zones 9b to 11b: from 25 °F (−3.9 °C) to 50 °F (+10 °C).
How to Grow and Care
Several species of Espostoa are especially popular in cultivation due to their fuzzy white hairy appearance. Large commercial growers typically sell the plants as up to 12 inches (30 cm) tall stems. However, being large columnar species, these plants do not grow nearly as vigorously in pots as they would in the ground. Plants tend to fill the pots, becoming pot bound quickly, and then growth slows to a crawl. These plants rarely, if ever, reach maturity, meaning they don't produce the cephalium and subsequently do not flower. On the other hand, those in warmer climates that can plant the species directly in the ground may indeed have plants that form a nice grouping of stems that will eventually flower.
Like all cacti, Espostoa requires a sunny location and well-drained soil. But in summer, it appreciates fertilizer and wetter conditions. In winter, it needs a rest, but the temperature must not drop below 54 °F (12 °C).
See more at How to Grow and care for Espostoa.
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