Pachycereus pringlei (S. Watson) Britton & Rose
Mexican Giant Cardon, Cardon, Elephant Cactus, False Saguaro Cactus
Pachycereus pringlei is a tall cactus with a trunk and several erect blue-green to dark green branches with 10 to 16 ribs and clusters of reddish to dark brown spines fading to grey. It is the tallest cactus in the world, with a maximum recorded height of 63 feet (19.2 m) and a stout trunk up to 3.3 feet (1 m) in diameter. In overall appearance, it resembles the related Saguaro. Each areole bears 1 to 3 central and 7 to 10 radial spines. They are needle-like and up to 1.2 inches (3 cm) long.
The large white flowers are nocturnal and appear from the areoles at the upper part of the stem in spring. They are funnel-shaped and up to 3.2 inches (8 cm) long. Fruits are spherical, up to 2.8 inches (7 cm) in diameter, covered with yellowish brown felt and bristle, and each contains about 500 tiny seeds.
USDA hardiness zones 9a to 11b: from 20 °F (−6.7 °C) to 50 °F (+10 °C).
How to Grow and Care
Like most other plants that can grow to staggering size, Pachycereus cacti grow extraordinarily slowly throughout hundreds of years. They require virtually zero assistance, provided they are raised in a desert environment.
These extraordinarily low-maintenance plants can grow untouched for decades, so there is not much you need to worry about. However, they must receive adequate sun and heat and be careful around their spines. If grown in containers, ensure they are being repotted, and their soil isn't too moist. Other than that, these plants are about as simple and hands-off as possible.
Like most cacti and succulents, these plants propagate by cuttings. Sever a branch and replant in well-drained soil. Make sure to stand the cactus up in an empty container to let its ends heal off before you replant it; this will keep its stems shaped right, and cacti with dried ends form roots more easily after planting.
See more at How to Grow and Care for Pachycereus.
Pachycereus pringlei is native to northwestern Mexico in Baja California, Baja California Sur, and Sonora.
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