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San Pedro Cactus Care Instructions

Care & Handling of the San Pedro Cactus

While the true scientific name of the San Pedro cactus is Echinopsis pachanoi, it is in some cases identified by retailers as Trichocereus pachanoia or Cereus pachanoi. This cactus is identifiable by its distinctive multi-columned arms, which can achieve heights of 20 feet and expand to a spread of more than 6 feet. It is extremely tolerant of cool temperatures, even down to as low as 15°F, and can even withstand frost. It flourishes in USDA zones 8b through 10, and healthy plants generate highly ornamental fragrant, white flowers which bloom at night, normally during the early part of July.

San Pedro Cactus is one of the oldest known plants from South America, originating from Ecuador and Peru, and still growing there in the highlands between 2000 and 3000 m in height. It is a very fast-growing cactus, having a strong root system, and is characterized by between four and nine ribs of columnar growth. As it matures, it will often topple over under the weight of its tall ribs, after which new shoots will be produced and growth is renewed. It is so successful as a succulent that it is commonly used to graft other, more difficult plants on top of it to initiate their own growth.

The San Pedro Cactus is an ideal ornamental plant to grow because it's very fast-growing and requires little maintenance. This makes it perfect for your garden, even if you don't live in the Southwest part of the country. With just a little research, you'll have no trouble with the care and maintenance of this beautiful and hardy cactus, and you'll find that it flourishes in your own garden. The cactus should be planted in fertile, well-drained soil, and should not be excessively watered, especially where soil texture tends to be heavy. With sunny conditions and good soil drainage, the San Pedro cactus will grow to 20 feet in height, adding a foot or more of new growth each year. You can expect that when it achieves maturity, columns will topple over under their own weight, to be replaced by new growth soon thereafter.