Carnegiea gigantea, commonly known as Saguaro Cactus, sports a medium-green, furrowed trunk with gray spikes. Saguaro Cactus grows very slowly and has a mature height of up to 50 feet (15 m). These cacti make a bold statement in the landscape with their stiff arms and coarse texture. Saguaro Cactus, hardy in U.S. Department of Agriculture hardiness plant zones 9 and 10, requires full sunlight and extremely fast-draining soil. Planting a young nursery-grown specimen, 3 feet (90 cm) or less in height, is the best way to introduce one of these succulents into your yard. Raising a Saguaro Cactus is extremely easy, as they require only infrequent supplemental watering after planting.
1. Dig a hole with a shovel in the southernmost portion of your landscape for the Saguaro Cactus. Fashion the hole twice as wide and equal in depth to the plant's root ball. Remove any rocks from the hole and displaced soil.
2. Wear heavy gloves when handling the Saguaro Cactus to avoid injury. Look for markings on the pot that indicate which side of the plant was previously growing facing the south. Remove the cactus carefully from its pot.
3. Place the plant in the center of the hole, positioning its southern side facing the south exposure in your landscape. Add or remove soil from the hole's bottom to ensure that the root ball's top is level with the surrounding ground. Fill the hole with soil, tamping it down periodically around the roots. Do not plant the cactus deeper than it was previously growing.
4. Flood the area with water from a garden hose immediately after planting. Water the soil to a depth of 8 to 10 inches (20 to 25 cm). Wait for the water to drain down through the soil. Fill in any resulting depressions in the planting area with additional soil if needed.
5. Cover the Saguaro with a 50 percent shade cloth to protect its flesh from burning in the sun while the plant establishes new roots. Remove the shade cloth after one year of growth.
6. Water the Saguaro Cactus once every four weeks only if rainfall is absent during that time. Do not allow the soil to become soggy by watering too frequently, as this will cause the roots to rot. Never water the soil if it is damp to the touch.