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Pachycereus pringlei (Mexican Giant Cardon)


Scientific Name

Pachycereus pringlei (S. Watson) Britton & Rose

Common Names

Mexican Giant Cardon, Cardon, Elephant Cactus, False Saguaro Cactus


Cereus pringlei (basionym)

Scientific Classification

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


Pachycereus pringlei is the tallest cactus species 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, bearing several erect branches. In overall appearance, it resembles the related Saguaro. The flowers are large, nocturnal, white and appear along the ribs as opposed to only apices of the stems.

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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, over the course of hundreds of years, and require virtually zero assistance on your end provided they are raised in a desert environment.

These extraordinarily, low-maintenance plants can basically grow untouched for decades, so there is really not a lot you need to worry about. Obviously it is very important that they receive adequate sun and heat, and be careful around their spines. If grown in containers, make sure that they are being repotted and that their soil isn't too moist. Other than that, these plants are about as simple and hands-off as it gets.

Like most cacti and succulents, these plants propagate by cuttings. Sever a branch and replant in well-drained soil. Make sure as well 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 the states of Baja California, Baja California Sur, and Sonora.


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