Have you ever come across a cactus with distinct spines and striking features? Meet the Trichocereus taquimbalensis, a captivating succulent that stands out among its peers. Unlike its similar counterpart, the Echinopsis tacaquirensis, this cactus boasts clearly distinguished central and radial spines, giving it an intriguing appearance. With bright green, few branched stems and a potential height of over 2.5 meters in the wild, the Trichocereus taquimbalensis is truly a sight to behold. Join us on a journey as we explore how to care for and propagate this remarkable plant, and discover the secrets behind its thriving presence in the Taquimbala province of Cochabamba, Bolivia.
At first glance, the Trichocereus taquimbalensis stands out with its erect to slightly arched columnar stems, reaching heights of 0.5 to 2.5 meters. The branches form a substantial thickness of 6 to 15 centimeters, featuring a pale to bright green waxy epidermis that adds to the plant’s allure. Notably, this cactus exhibits 8 to 9 obtuse ribs, with a depth of 3 to 5 millimeters and a width of 8 to 10 millimeters or more. The unique areoles, prominent and standing out up to a centimeter, are initially white and later develop a brownish felted texture, spaced approximately 8 to 15 millimeters apart.
Delving further into its distinct features, the Trichocereus taquimbalensis boasts an array of spines from its areoles. These needle-like spines start off as translucent and caramel-colored, gradually transitioning to brown and ultimately dark brown hues.
Exhibiting radial spines numbering between 8 and 13, each measuring 1.5 to 3 centimeters in length, this cactus further captivates with its 2 to 3 central spines adorned with thickening knobs at the base. One or two central spines tend to point upward, ranging from 3 to 5 centimeters long, while the remaining one points downward, extending up to 7 to 8 centimeters. As if these features weren’t enough, the Trichocereus taquimbalensis boasts elegant white, funnel-shaped flowers that bloom near the tip of its branches. With so much to offer in terms of appearance and charm, this cactus is truly a unique addition to any plant enthusiast’s collection.
Curious to know more about nurturing and propagating this delightful specimen? Continue reading as we unravel the secrets to successfully caring for and cultivating the Trichocereus taquimbalensis.
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How to Care for Trichocereus taquimbalensis
Though the Trichocereus taquimbalensis is low maintenance, the following information can help in better cultivation.
Trichocereus taquimbalensis, like most cacti, prosper when exposed to direct sunlight. However, this is the case only after the first year—seedlings require some amount of shade as they may suffer sunburn in direct sunlight.
In the summer months, Trichocereus taquimbalensis plants grow best in light shade.
If you overwinter your plants in the colder months, ensure that you gradually increase your plant’s exposure to direct sunlight, instead of all at once, as this could also cause sunburn.
6-8 hours of sunlight a day is good; if you’re growing them indoors, 14-16 hours of lighting is necessary.
The Trichocereus taquimbalensis goes dormant in the winter months, as most of its cacti cousins do, which means that you should refrain from watering them between the months of October and April to reduce the possibility of rot.
In the other months, water only when the soil is completely dry to the touch, and just enough to make the soil moist, all the while ensuring proper drainage of water. Allow sufficient drying time between watering periods.
A mushy cactus is a sign of overwatering.
Trichocereus taquimbalensis cacti grow best in slightly acidic, fertile potting soil—good drainage goes without saying!
To reduce the risk of rot, small amounts of humus may be incorporated into the potting mix.
The best option is store-bought cactus/citrus mix; if this is unavailable, mix sand, fine gravel, peat moss, and perlite to make your own cactus potting mix.
In the seedling phase, a small amount of highly diluted fertilizer is healthy, encouraging the plant to grow well. Adult Trichocereus taquimbalensis plants can handle larger amounts of fertilizer, though even these should be diluted and only very occasionally fed to the plant.
Many gardeners don’t fertilize their cacti, as over-fertilizing can be quite harmful to the plant. Fertilizer is not a necessity unless you observe your plant not hitting its growth milestones properly.
However, if you do want to fertilize your plant regularly, do so only during the growing season, once a month, feeding it diluted liquid fertilizer or cactus-specific fertilizer.
Plants of the desert, Trichocereus taquimbalensis can tolerate extreme temperatures. The plant can tolerate temperatures as low as 10°C, and even the occasional -9°C, and highs of 38°C and higher.
However, the most ideal conditions for the Trichocereus taquimbalensis plants are around 21°C.
The Trichocereus taquimbalensis is prone to certain pests and diseases, such as fungal diseases (characterized by rotting stems), root aphids, mealy bugs, and spider mites.
Another common disease is black spots, a fungal infection. However, this is non-fatal and easily treated.
As mentioned earlier, Trichocereus taquimbalensis cactus plants can reach heights of up to 6 ft, so you may have to cut them to manageable sizes.
Apart from that, rotting, soft stems, pests, and the appearance of dead stems after blooming are all signs that your cactus needs to be cut back.
Trichocereus taquimbalensis cactus plants need to be transplanted to bigger spaces once they turn a year old.
As for when to repot your cactus, you need to do so when you see the roots protruding from the container’s bottom. Generally, a rule of thumb is to repot every 2 to 4 years. However, if you fertilize your plant, repotting once in 4 years will suffice.
Repotting should be done during the active growing period—January or February.
Propagating Trichocereus taquimbalensis
Trichocereus taquimbalensis can be propagated via cuttings or seeds.
Cutting is the easier and more effective method of the two. You can make use of a cutting from a full-grown plant. Allow it to form a callous post-cutting, and dry it in a cool location before transplanting.
Once dry and calloused, set in the soil, setting them 2-3 inches deep. After a couple of weeks, roots should develop—you can check this by lightly tugging the plant upwards and checking for resistance, which indicates the presence of roots.
Using seeds, though more uncommon, is still an effective way to grow Trichocereus taquimbalensis. Place the seeds just beneath the soil and keep the soil moist during the germination period, maintaining temperatures at around 27°C during the day and 21°C during the night.
Roots develop after a month or so in this process.