Austrocephalocereus dybowskii, better known as Espostoopsis dybowskii is a cactus that looks like a regular cereus plant. It’s originally from Brazil and is a slow-growing plant that has fine spines and white hair.
It is also called Cephalocereus dybowskii, Cereus dybowskii and Coleocephalocereus dybowskii.
How to Care For Austrocephalocereus Dybowskii
Now, it is also a vulnerable species on the IUCN list because it’s threatened by urbanization, mining, fires and such. The plant is usually found on arid hillsides and is formed as impenetrable groves.
The plant branches right from its base and forms colonies that are about 3.9 inches thick. They have cylindrical stems, each of which divides into about 20 ribs that are all covered in white hairs. There are 2-3 yellow or brown central spines. There are a lot of them and they’re all short and radial.
Interestingly, this is a nocturnal plant and if you stick around, you will see its bell-shaped flowers blossom at night. They are beautiful, white in color and about 1.5 inches long.
If you want to see all these things, here’s how you care for the plant.
The first thing to know is about light exposure. These Austrocephalocereus dybowskii plants need full light, but it shouldn’t be too strong. They function like cacti that are native to arid places. So, don’t give them so much light that they burn.
Austrocephalocereus dybowskii plants also need a lot of water. In this context, they should be treated like tropical plants because they are. But wait for the soil to be a little dry before you give them water.
That’s because they also act like the cacti that they are. If you water them too much, the roots will rot. Their system is a bit weak, which means they can’t absorb a lot of water quickly.
Then you should look into the type of soil. These Austrocephalocereus dybowskii plants can be grown in regular cactus soil. But it should be porous. Keep an eye on the speed of their growth to make sure everything is normal.
You want these Austrocephalocereus dybowskii plants to get plenty of nutrients because that’s what helps them grow. So, you can fertilize them once you have moved them into a larger pot. That comes to a little while later in about a year or when the plant grows double its initial size.
The doubling of the growth could happen after it is repotted too. We’ll talk about that in a minute.
Austrocephalocereus dybowskii plants are cacti that grow well in warm climates. The USDA recommends growing them in zone 9a to 11b which is at about 20 degrees Fahrenheit. These plants don’t do very well in cold temperatures and if that’s the climate where you live, you want to grow them indoors.
Just make sure they are getting enough sunlight and the growth will be just fine. These plants are not always easy to grow because their ideal temperature is between 8 and 11 degrees Fahrenheit.
If you’ve done a good job, Austrocephalocereus dybowskii plants will grow almost entirely free of pests. And you can make that happen if you are growing them in a potting mix filled with minerals. You should also make sure that the plant gets plenty of ventilation.
But keep an eye out for red spiders because they do know how to find their food. There are also mealy bugs to watch out for as they can be developed aerially on the wool surface of this plant.
As a result, the plant will be disfigured and the roots will be affected too. What makes it worse is that you can’t see this disfiguration under the ground.
Austrocephalocereus dybowskii plants typically grow 2 to 4 meters from the base. If they get bigger than that, you can prune them. There’s no rule that you shouldn’t per se. But if you want to let them grow wild, it won’t get out of hand.
And finally, there’s the potting and repotting. Austrocephalocereus dybowskii plants don’t do very well with being moved from one pot to another. As mentioned before, their roots are sensitive, which is why they take longer to adapt to their new environment.
Move them into a larger pot if they’re getting too big (aka double their initial size) or after a year. Use the same well-drained soil mix that is rich in minerals as before.
Propagating Austrocephalocereus Dybowskii
This plant propagates when you use seeds even though it is slow. That’s why it is not highly recommended, but it’s doable through this method. You should get started in February or March and use porous and sandy soil.
There’s healthy germination if it happens between 64 to 71 degrees Fahrenheit. Make sure the seeds are moist until the germination starts.
The growth is better when you place a glass cover on the tray to make sure the seeds don’t wither.