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Neobuxbaumia polylopha (Cone Cactus)

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Scientific Name

Neobuxbaumia polylopha (DC.) Backeb.

Common Names

Cone Cactus, Wax Cactus, Golden-spined Saguaro, Golden Saguaro

Synonyms

Cereus polylophus (basionym), Carnegiea polylopha, Cephalocereus polylophus, Pilocereus polylophus

Scientific Classification

Family: Cactaceae
Subfamily: Cactoideae
Tribe: Pachycereeae
Genus: Neobuxbaumia

Description

Neobuxbaumia polylopha is a tall cactus with solitary, columnar stem up to 50 feet (15 m) tall and up to 14 inches (35 cm) in diameter. The stem is pale green and has between 10 and 30 ribs with 4 to 8 spines arranged in a radial manner. The spines are bristle-like, yellowish turning grey as they age and up to 0.8 inch (2 cm) long. The flowers are vivid pink, dark red or magenta and bloom at night in the summer.

Photo via flickr.com

Hardiness

USDA hardiness zones 9b to 11b: from 25 °F (−3.9 °C) to 50 °F (+10 °C).

How to Grow and Care

Like most cacti, Cereus are fairly, low-maintenance and hardy. Make sure they receive enough water without becoming waterlogged, especially during the summer and fertilize them for best results. If the roots have become black or overly soft, the cactus could be experiencing root rot. Cut away the affected parts and replant. Most gardeners interested in cacti should be able to cultivate these without much problem.

It may become necessary to repot your Cereus if it outgrows its container. If so, make sure the soil is dry and then remove the pot. Knock away old soil and prune away any rotted or dead roots, then replace it in a new pot and backfill with new soil. Make sure not to overwater cacti planted in new pots, as this can lead to root rot. It should be left dry for about a week and then watered lightly.

These cacti propagate quite easily from cuttings. Simply sever a branch and replant in moist, well-drained soil.

Learn more at How to Grow and Care for Cereus.

Origin

Neobuxbaumia polylopha is found only in Mexico and is confined to a small area in the state of Guanajuato.

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