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How to Grow and Care for Eulychnia

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Eulychnia is a genus of candelabriform or arborescent cacti, comprising between 6 and 9 species depending on the authority. These relatively large plants which reach up to 23 feet (7 m) high can survive under very hot conditions, temperatures can reach up to 122 °F (50 °C). Furthermore, this breed of cacti can also survive in some of the driest places in the world such as the Atacama Desert, the driest desert in the world.

The stems are covered with many long spines arranged on tuberculate ribs. The floral tubes are covered in spines, wool, scales or all 3 and are round in shape and when the flower opens, resemble a ball that popped open on one side.

Eulychnia is not common in cultivation and only collectors with a specific interest in the genus seem to grow them.

Growing Conditions

Light: Eulychnia requires full sun or light shade to keep plant compact with strong colored spines. Tends to bronze in strong light, which encourages flowering and heavy spine production. Light shadow my be useful in the hottest summer days.
Water: It requires light but regular watering in summer. Let the soil dry between waterings. Keep the soil dry in winter.

Photo via infojardin.com

Temperature: Eulychnias need to be kept in a cool place during winter rest. They are resistant to light frost if kept on the dry side prior to, and during, cold weather. Eulychnias are hardy to 28 °F (-2 °C) in short periods.
Soil: Eulychnia likes very coarse mineral cactus mix soil, but can become too elongated if compost is too rich.
Fertilizer: Feed with a high potassium fertilizer in summer.

Propagation

Propagation is from seed or cuttings.

Pests and Diseases

Eulychnia may be attractive to a variety of insects, but plants in good condition should be nearly pest-free, particularly if they are grown in a mineral potting-mix, with good exposure and ventilation.

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