Native to Mexico, Pachycereus are large shrubs that grow up to 50 feet tall and feature stout stems of around 3.3 feet in diameter. It is considered to be one of the longest cacti plants around. Its distinguishing features include large branches, ribbed stems and tree-like shrubs.
- 1 Types of Pachycereus Cacti
- 1.1 Pachycereus fulviceps
- 1.2 Pachycereus grandis
- 1.3 Pachycereus hallianus
- 1.4 Pachycereus hollianus
- 1.5 Pachycereus lepidanthus
- 1.6 Pachycereus marginatus (Mexican Fence Post Cactus)
- 1.7 Pachycereus militaris
- 1.8 Pachycereus pecten-aboriginum (Indian’s Comb)
- 1.9 Pachycereus pringlei (Mexican Giant Cactus)
- 1.10 Pachycereus ruficeps
- 1.11 Pachycereus schottii (Whisker Cactus)
- 1.12 Pachycereus tetetzo
- 1.13 Pachycereus thurberi
- 1.14 Pachycereus weberi
- 2 How to Grow and Care for Pachycereus
- 3 How to Propagate Pachycereus
- 4 FAQs
Types of Pachycereus Cacti
Pachycereus marginatus (Mexican Fence Post Cactus)
Upright and clumping, stiff and imposing, columnar cactus with unbranched stems from the base. In the wild it grows up to 15 m in height, cultivated, it is columnar, up to 4 m tall or more.
Pachycereus militaris is a tree-like cactus, up to 5-6 m high, with numerous erect branches that feature a special terminal cap (cephalium) from which the small flowers push out. When the stem is about 6 m tall, each shoot tip is converted into a dense head of helically arranged tubercles, some of which produce flowers, and the crowded areoles and flowers are protected by numerous long, golden bristles. This bristly cephalium grows from the tip, where new areoles and flowers are produced, and the oldest bristles blacken with age.
Pachycereus pecten-aboriginum (Indian’s Comb)
It is one of the most massive columnar, treelike cacti in the world, often 7 to 15 m tall, The trunk is short but very large often branching within 0,5-3 m of the base with many massive branches. This very spectacular species rivals the size and majesty of Carnegia gigantea (Saguaro).
Pachycereus pringlei (Mexican Giant Cactus)
The Pachyrereus pringlei is one of a well-known group of spectacular columnar cacti from the Sonoran Desert that includes the saguaro (Carnegiea gigantea), the organ-pipe cactus (Stenocereus thurberi) and senita (Lophocereus schottii) which are famous because of their immense size and unique architecture.
The Pachyrereus pringlei occasionally reaches almost 20 m in height and 5 m spread, with a trunk diameter of 2 meters and a weight of several tons. It may live to more than 200 years and may be the largest cactus in the world.
Pachycereus schottii (Whisker Cactus)
Pachycereus schottii is a slow-growing usually trunkless cactus that forms numerous tall, ascending, columnar stems which branch mostly at or near the base in a candelabra-like arrangement.
Pachycereus weberi is a treelike, massive, columnar to candelabra-like cactus, to 11 m (-16) high, much-branched from a large trunk to 2 m high.
How to Grow and Care for Pachycereus
The Pachycereus is not only a visual delight but also provides a home to several birds. The best part about having this at home is that you don’t have to invest a lot of time and resources in its growth.
If you have taken fancy to the mighty Pachycereus, there are certain things you must be aware of to make sure the plant is well cared for when you bring it home.
These plants thrive in moderate to bright light. They need a lot of light but not necessarily harsh sun rays. If you live in particularly colder parts of the world where there is a dearth of light, don’t forget to place them near the windows so they can get whatever little sunshine they can.
They will do well in cool rooms during winters. Just make sure you show them the sun during summers.
Stagnant water is something Pachycereus cacti hate and will never adapt to. The same goes for infrequent and erratic watering. Though a lot of succulents and cacti take well to less and infrequent watering, this is not one of those.
The watering should also vary depending on the season. Summers and hot climates will need more water. The frequency and the amount of watering can be lessened during winters.
The thing that you need to remember is that you should not let the water stand. In addition, use a spray bottle to sprinkle water all over the plant.
Pachycereus loves rocks and can easily grow around them. The bacteria present in the rocks are also favorable for the growth of the Pachycereus. But if you want to grow this at your home, a regular cacti pot mix should work just fine.
You need a potting mix that has good drainage because at no point in time should you plant these in soil that collects puddles of water on and around it. Such soil will lead to rot in the Pachycereus.
Best Soil for Cactus in Pots
Though cacti are known to thrive sans a lot of fertilization, you can always add some amount in moderation to aid growth. They aren’t going to do any harm to the cacti. Tomato fertilizer or any good liquid fertilizer should be fine for them.
The growing season is the time when you should dilute the fertilizer with water while spraying on the Pachycereus for the best results.
Pachycereus can thrive at room temperature as long as the atmosphere is dry enough. People who live in humid, moist climates need to install a dehumidifier to ensure that their plant thrives.
Moisture and humidity are the two things that these cacti would never adapt well to. So, you need to be cautious on that front.
Pests and Diseases
Without well-draining soil, your Pachycereus may develop fungal diseases such as botrytis. You may also find mealybugs and small mites on the cacti sometimes. Regular pruning and repotting once every year is advised.
The moment you see the first signs of rot or bugs, spray a good pesticide or wash the plant with soapy water.
How to Propagate Pachycereus
The growing season is the ideal time to propagate Pachycereus. It is easy and all you need to do is to cut a stem from the plant and use it for further steps. Make sure that you cut the part where the Pachycereus is connected to the main plant.
Place the stem in a dry spot, preferably near some rocks, and let it be for a couple of weeks. The idea is to dry it completely before potting it elsewhere.
Though people plant this stem in full sun view, it is recommended that you begin by potting it in shade just to avoid any problems with the germination.
Alternately, you can also propagate Pachycereus by seeds. You need to add the seeds to a good potting mix, a few drops of fertilizer and water, and let it germinate. If your watering, soil and fertilizer are optimum, there should be no issues and you should see positive results soon.
There are a lot of questions that people have around growing Pachycereus in their homes or yards. Here is one of the most commonly asked questions answered just for you!
How Fast Do Pachycereus Grow?
Pachycereus is a tall, beautiful plant that grows slowly. Sometimes, it may take decades to reach its full maturity of several meters. However, the thrill is in seeing the Pachycereus grow slowly. Each change, be it flowering or blooming of shrubs, is a delight to watch.