Cleistocactus Strausii (Silver Torch Cactus) is an interesting and unique perennial cactus that attracts attention with its fluffy white appearance, which is created by small and thin needles that cover its stem. Due to this feature, it is also called the Snow Pole cactus. This cactus will undoubtedly enchant lovers of unusual plants and will decorate any interior. And most importantly, caring for it is not at all difficult and does not take much time, so even a beginner can grow it. Today we will tell you about the main rules of care that you should follow if you want to grow a beautiful and healthy plant.
The Silver Torch cactus has straight and slender gray-green stems that can grow up to 10 inches in height, while typically no more than 2.5 inches in diameter. Their natural habitat is in the mountainous regions of Peru, Uruguay, Argentina, and Bolivia. Most often they grow in groups, sometimes they mix with other plants. Adult Torch cactus bloom in late summer with burgundy cylindrical flowers that protrude horizontally from the columns and grow up to 3 inches in length. As a rule, these flowers do not fully open, and you can admire them for no longer than a week.
Torch Cactus Care
Woolly cactus prefers a well-lit area and well-drained soil. With a lack of sunlight, you risk not seeing the amazing Torch cactus flower, since the plant simply will not bloom. You can make a suitable drained soil yourself by mixing sand, peat moss or compost, and fine gravel. When it comes to watering, this plant needs the same conditions as most other succulents. This is the case when it is better to under fill than overfill since the plant can die from an excess of moisture, but the cactus tolerates drought quite well. If you accidentally pour more water than necessary, then wait 5-10 minutes until the plant absorbs the amount of water it needs, and pour out the rest. In cooler seasons, it is recommended to water the plant once every few weeks, depending on how dry the soil is. But in winter, it is better to refrain from watering altogether, since low temperatures in combination with moist soil can cause root rot. During the period of active growth of the plant, it is recommended to feed it with fertilizers with low nitrogen content. Transplanting a cactus into fresh soil annually will have a positive effect on its growth. As far as temperature is concerned, Silver Torch cactus thrives at normal room temperatures (50-60 °F). The cactus can tolerate lower temperatures, but make sure that it does not fall below 20 °F, as in this case you risk harming the plant.
You can easily propagate the plant by cutting off a small branch from the mature plant and rooting it in a separate container. You will know that the reproduction was successful when the root system of the cut branch begins to develop. But keep in mind that such a procedure will inevitably leave an unattractive scar on the cactus near the base of the stem. The plant will take about a week to heal. You can also easily grow the plant from seed, but this method will take much longer.
Pruning the cactus is optional. However, with these procedures, you can speed up the growth of the plant and keep it upright. There are no specific times when pruning should be done, you can do it any time of the year.
Like any other plant, the silver torch cactus can fall prey to pests. The most common cactus pests are spider mites and mealybugs. Getting rid of them is not difficult, ordinary rubbing alcohol can help you with this. Soak cotton wool in alcohol and wipe the cactus stems thoroughly. This will be enough to remove unwanted guests.
Where to Grow Silver Torch Cactus
The plant thrives both in the garden and indoors. The most important thing is to provide it with enough light. The cactus should receive at least 6 hours of full light per day.
To decorate the landscape, you can plant Silver Torch Cactus next to other columnar cacti, such a composition will look interesting and unusual. When it blooms outdoors, woolly cacti attract hummingbirds and other pollinators.
Is Cleistocactus Strausii Toxic?
If you want to be the owner of such an unusual plant, but are worried about children or pets that may somehow interact with a cactus, then you can be calm. Silver Torchi is completely non-toxic, so you have nothing to worry about. But when interacting with a cactus, it is recommended to use gloves, as its thorns can irritate the skin. Sometimes, through carelessness, you can get a splinter in the form of a thorn of this cactus, in which case you can easily get it out with tweezers or sticky tape.
These were all the basic rules for caring for a woolly cactus, which should be followed for a cactus to grow tall and healthy. If you follow them, then the cactus, in gratitude for the proper care, will decorate your landscape or room with incredibly beautiful burgundy flowers. But keep in mind that only adult cacti can bloom, sometimes you even have to wait about 10 years. But even in their usual state, these interesting plants will adorn any place and will delight your eyes.
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