Carnegiea - Candelabra Cactus, Giant Cactus, Sahuaro, Saguaro
DESCRIPTION: This group consists of only one, giant cactus native to the southwestern U.S. and northwest Mexico. C. gigantea (Candelabra Cactus; Giant Cactus; and Saguaro or Sahuaro) is one of the largest of the Cactus family. In the wild, the Saguaro Cactus usually forms large colonies. It is a home to many birds and is popularly used as scenery in movies. This cactus takes up to 150 years to grow into a plant 40 feet tall, eventually reaching a height of 50 feet or more with a trunk up to 2 feet thick. A cactus this size weighs several tons. Because it is so slow-growing, it is an excellent container plant when small. This columnar cactus sometimes grows a few branches when it is 10 to 15 years old, making it resemble a candelabrum. Young plants are unbranched and much more heavily spined. When the plant is 40 years old or more, huge, funnel-shaped, fragrant flowers are produced. These greenish-white or white blossoms are produced in the spring on the tips of the stems. They are followed by red, oval, edible fruits. Plants in the wild produce millions of seeds, though usually only one seedling in 50 million is successful; therefore, a mature cactus may reproduce only once every five years. Taking plants from the wild is illegal.
POTTING: The Saguaro Cactus can be grown in full sun, in regions where the minimum temperature is 41º F. A mature plant will survive 20º F. for a short period, though a seedling won't.
PROPAGATION: Seeds will sprout readily in cultivation.
VARIETIES: C. gigantea.
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