The Stenocereus cactus grows in vertical lengths and has stems that are cylindrical in shape. It is mainly found in places like Mexico, parts of the United States, Colombia, Venezuela, the Caribbean and more. Caring for this cactus involves certain specifications that we can go through in this article.
First, let’s take a look at 29 species of the Stenocereus cactus.
- 1 Types of Stenocereus Cactus
- 1.1 Stenocereus alamosensis (Octopus Cactus)
- 1.2 Stenocereus aragonii
- 1.3 Stenocereus beneckei
- 1.4 Stenocereus chacalapensis
- 1.5 Stenocereus chrysocarpus
- 1.6 Stenocereus dumortieri
- 1.7 Stenocereus eichlamii
- 1.8 Stenocereus eruca (Creeping Devil Cactus)
- 1.9 Stenocereus fimbriatus (Spanish Stenocereus)
- 1.10 Stenocereus fricii
- 1.11 Stenocereus griseus (Mexican Organ Pipe Cactus)
- 1.12 Stenocereus gummosus (Galloping Cactus)
- 1.13 Stenocereus hollianus cristata
- 1.14 Stenocereus humilis
- 1.15 Stenocereus hystrix
- 1.16 Stenocereus kerberi
- 1.17 Stenocereus laevigatus
- 1.18 Stenocereus marginatus (Mexican Fence Post Cactus)
- 1.19 Stenocereus martinezii
- 1.20 Stenocereus montanus
- 1.21 Stenocereus pruinosus
- 1.22 Stenocereus queretaroensis
- 1.23 Stenocereus quevedonis
- 1.24 Stenocereus standleyi
- 1.25 Stenocereus stellatus
- 1.26 Stenocereus thurberi (Organ Pipe Cactus)
- 1.27 Stenocereus thurberi subsp. littoralis
- 1.28 Stenocereus thurberi subsp. thurberi
- 1.29 Stenocereus treleasei
- 1.30 Stenocereus weberi
- 2 How to Care for the Stenocereus Cactus
- 3 How to Propagate Stenocereus Cactus
- 4 FAQs
Types of Stenocereus Cactus
Stenocereus alamosensis (Octopus Cactus)
Stenocereus beneckei is a shrubby, semi-prostrate columnar cactus with tuberculate ribs. It forms untidy, much-branched bushes 1-2(-5) meters high. This plant has an attractive grey-white bloom on the new growth.
Stenocereus eruca (Creeping Devil Cactus)
This is one of the strangest of all cacti with strongly armed prostrate stems except for their slightly raised tips. They grow about up to 3 m long, 4-8 cm in diameter and take root as they creep, ramifying further and eventually covering a huge area. Sometimes plants separate from the parent stem and spread out around it, leaving it to die.
Stems have 12 ribs; large areoles, 2 cm apart; 1 central and flat spine much wider than the others, 3 cm long, and around 20 light grey or whitish radials of unequal length. Outer ones are short and subulate; inner ones are larger and flat.
Stenocereus fimbriatus (Spanish Stenocereus)
Stenocereus griseus (Mexican Organ Pipe Cactus)
Stenocereus gummosus (Galloping Cactus)
Stenocereus hollianus cristata
Stenocereus hollianus cristata mainly comes from the Baja, California region in Mexico and parts of Arizona and Colombia. This succulent has a unique shape and appearance in that the stems are thick and tend to grow in twisting worm-like shapes.
Stenocereus marginatus (Mexican Fence Post Cactus)
Stenocereus marginatus (Mexican Fence Post Cactus) is native to Central Mexico. This cactus features a large cylindrical stem that is dark green in color and has multiple ribs across the surface. The ribs also have white or brown edges, sometimes with spines.
Due to the height of these cacti, they (or sometimes just their cuttings) are often used to build boundaries or fences. These cacti are not generally as sharp as other species.
Stenocereus pruinosus is native to Mexico and is popular for its edible fruit which is usually yellow, orange or purple in color and is frequently harvested. The cactus itself has large columns with ribs and spines, although the number of both ribs and spines is considerably lesser as compared to other such species.
The flowers are white, pink and yellow in color and usually grow during the early stages of the cactus’ growth.
Stenocereus stellatus is a shrubby or treelike columnar cactus, branching at base, rarely branching above, 2-4 m high with short trunks.
Stenocereus thurberi (Organ Pipe Cactus)
The organ pipe cactus Stenocereus thurberi is a large shrub or treelike cactus usually without a definite trunk, that shows latitudinal variation in growth form, from a multi-stemmed shrub sending up from the base 5 to 20 branches 3 to 8 meters high in dry northern habitats to a ten-meter columnar arborescent cactus in tropical deciduous forest.
The habit of branching just at the base is unusual in this genus, in which most of the species have definite, though often short, trunks. The flowers, which appear from March to August, are followed by the large delicious fruit much prized by the native, who knows it as pitahaya or pitahaya dulce.
Two subspecies are recognized, the nominate form and subsp. littoralis (K.Brandegee) N.P.Taylor. The latter subspecies is considered by some experts to be a separate species.
Stenocereus thurberi subsp. littoralis
Stenocereus thurberi subsp. thurberi
1,000 Types of Cacti with Pictures
How to Care for the Stenocereus Cactus
The Stenocereus cactus requires several conditions to be met so that it can grow well. Let’s take a look at what these are.
The Stenocereus needs plenty of sunlight to grow well. You can find this kind of constant direct light if you grow your cactus outdoors in a way that it receives sunlight for over six hours. At the same time, a certain amount of shade would also suit it.
If you are planning to grow the cactus indoors, you can do so in a pot. However, make sure you place the pot in an area that receives a good amount of sunlight, such as a balcony or a window.
You can also make use of artificial light meant for this purpose if you cannot access sunlight.
The Stenocereus as a cactus that can survive in arid regions does not need large amounts of water to grow. A good frequency to maintain would be to water this cactus once every 7-10 days in spring and summer.
While doing this, it is important to ensure that the soil has dried off completely before you water it. You can check this by putting a finger or stick in the soil to check if it is still moist.
Make sure you avoid watering the cactus too much as this could lead to root rot, making the cactus shrivel and die.
During the winter months, this cactus becomes dormant and requires watering very rarely or not at all.
You can opt for a potting mix that specifically caters to cacti as long as it drains well and quickly. You can then add sand or perlite to this mix to facilitate better drainage. This will provide a good environment for the roots to grow healthily.
Do make sure that the soil you choose has thin or fine particles that allow the water to clear out as waterlogging or retention will cause the roots to rot.
You can easily find these growing materials from local nurseries.
The Stenocereus cactus grows well in the heat, which is why you can easily grow it outdoors if you live in warm climates (USDA zones 9-11) or during the summers. Even if you are growing it indoors, your cactus will grow well as long as it has a temperature of 65℉-85℉.
In the winter, this cactus can withstand the cold, but if temperatures go below 25℉, you might need to shift the cactus indoors. This is because extremely cold temperatures can cause the cactus to freeze, after which it might not recover.
Generally, you should avoid letting your cactus face extreme fluctuations in temperature to allow it to grow to its capacity.
During the growing months of this cactus, you should fertilize it once every one or two months to allow it to make good use of the nutrients. It is not necessary to fertilize the cactus during the winter months due to its dormancy period.
There are several fertilizers that you can use for this cactus. Some of them are made specifically for cacti that would make a good choice to opt for. You should add a bit of water to dilute the fertilizer so that it does not prove to be too strong for your cactus.
If you want to grow your Stenocereus in a pot (whether indoors or outdoors), you must ensure that it is porous enough with drainage holes so that it can allow the water to drain out easily to prevent waterlogging.
You will also need to keep repotting this cactus either annually or once every two years since it tends to grow at a rapid speed and needs bigger containers to grow healthily.
While potting or repotting, make sure that you use clay or plastic containers. Fill the new pot with the soil mix and then carefully clean up the roots before placing the cactus in it.
Pests and Diseases
Your cactus will be at risk of several pests and diseases if you do not maintain optimal growing conditions.
For example, pests such as mites, bugs and whiteflies might affect your cactus, leading to colored spots, nests or mold. You can get rid of these using suitable insecticides or by momentarily increasing the humidity.
Diseases like root or stem rot and the growth of fungus could occur as well. You can prevent these diseases by avoiding over-watering and waterlogging along with providing enough light and air to your cactus.
How to Propagate Stenocereus Cactus
You can propagate the Stenocereus cactus by cutting off a stem from a grown cactus. Go through the following steps to figure out the process:
- Cut the stem using a sharp knife at an angle to make it easier for the main plant to grow back the stem.
- Keep this step aside for a while so that it can dry up and grow a callus.
- In a pot that contains the soil mix, place the stem cutting and cover up parts around it with the soil in a way that it rests evenly.
- Water this mix lightly and place the pot in your desired location, ensuring that it gets enough light and heat.
- Allow it time and space to grow to its capacity. Make sure you water it once a week and repot it whenever necessary.
You can also use seeds to grow this cactus by covering the seeds with the soil mix in the pot and then following the same steps as above. If you need to store the seeds before propagation, make sure you do so in a cool and dry place.
Is there a cactus that moves toward water?
One type of the Stenocereus cacti is the Stenocereus eruca, popularly known as the creeping devil. It generally grows in the Baja California Sur region of Mexico.
It is cylindrical in shape but instead of growing vertically, the creeping devil grows horizontally. It crawls across the space of the desert by allowing its rear to die off while the growing end constantly grows new roots so that the cactus can obtain water in this way.
This kind of cactus can grow well in moist regions but not as well in hot climates.
How tall does Organ Pipe Cactus get?
The Organ Pipe Cactus can grow up to a height of nearly 16-20 feet. In terms of its width, this cactus can reach a height of 12 feet while the stems can have spines of up to 20 inches.
Of course, the height depends on where you grow this kind of cactus. If you grow it outdoors in garden soil, you can expect it to reach its full capacity. However, growing it in a container or pot will restrict its height, since the container will limit the growth of roots beyond a certain point.
Where does Organ Pipe Cactus grow?
The Organ Pipe Cactus most commonly grows in hot and arid climates. This tends to include parts of Mexico as well as the United States, particularly in and around Arizona.
In fact, Arizona also has an Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument that houses most of these cacti.
How often should I water my Organ Pipe Cactus?
If you are growing your Organ Pipe Cactus outdoors, then rainwater will simply be enough for it to grow. However, you must also ensure that you prevent waterlogging to prevent the roots from rotting.
When there is no rain, you can water the cactus lightly once you confirm that the soil is completely dry. As it is, this cactus can survive on minimal water. It does not need watering during winter.