Cleistocactus - Silver Torch Cactus
DESCRIPTION: These popular, columnar cacti are found wild from Ecuador and Argentina to Uruguay. These handsome, branching cacti are equipped with white, beige, or gold, needle-like spines. Between spring and fall, most of these cacti bear a profusion of small, vividly colored flowers, which are pollinated by hummingbirds. They are followed by red, yellow, or green berries. C. winteri forms tangled mounds of long, slender, arching stems that are covered in golden spines. This plant reaches a height of up to 3 feet with an unlimited spread. The stems of this variety may also be attractively cristate (wavy). Mature plants will bear peach-colored flowers throughout the spring and summer. Smaller plants are excellent for hanging baskets. C. strausii (Silver Torch Cactus) is a beautiful, quick-growing species whose stems can reach a height of 10 feet with a diameter of 21/2 inches. The Silver Torch Cactus is clothed in pretty silver spines. It grows singly when young, clumping when mature. Its purplish-red, tubular flowers are borne along the length of the body in the spring.
POTTING: These cacti are suitable for growing in windowsills, greenhouses, or as landscaping plants in regions where the temperature remains above 45º F. Cleistocactus need plenty of space for their roots to grow. They should be provided with an abundance of water and fertilizer. They only need a short dormant dry period in the winter.
PROPAGATION: They are easily increased by seeds or cuttings.
VARIETIES: C. flavescens; C. brookei; C. vulpiscauda; C. dependens; C. baumannii; C. winteri; C. brookeae; C. strausii.
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