Cultivation of Trichocereus pachanoi (San Pedro Cactus)

Cultivation of Trichocereus pachanoi (San Pedro Cactus)


About Trichocereus pachanoi

Trichocereus pachanoi (syn. Echinopsis pachanoi, Cereus pachanoi) is commonly named San Pedro Cactus. This beautiful columnar cactus is native to the mountains of Ecuador, Bolivia, Peru and the northern parts of Argentina where it grows at an altitude of 1200-2600 meters. Trichocereus pachanoi is a very tolerant cactus and in the Andes mountains it can withstand heavy rainfall and low temperatures (-11°C).

We get many questions on San Pedro Cactus concerning the variation in spines. Do not be alarmed. Trichocereus pachanoi spines are very variable. Some plants have no spines attached to their stems and others have 3-8 yellow-brown spines. These spines could have a length of 1-3 cm. It is also possible to see a spineless San Pedro Cactus form spines at a later stage of its life.

Trichocereus pachanoi (Echinopsis pachanoi) is a fast growing (upto half its length in a year) columnar cactus with 4-8 ribs, sometimes with multiple stems. It can reach heights of 5-6 meters in nature. San Pedro flowers are a beautiful white and appear during the night with a nice fragrance.

Cultivation of Trichocereus pachanoi

As mentioned above San Pedro Cactus is a very tolerant plant which is easy (and fast) to grow. This cactus is best cultivated in a loose, good draining and fertile soil mix where nutrients are released slowly. I have good results with a soil mix of 50% regular potting soil, 25% grit or Perlite and 25% worm manure (compost). Trichocereus pachanoi needs a regular watering during the growing season and occasionally (approximately each 2 months) some extra liquid fertilizer. Older plants can tolerate full sun (even outside the greenhouse) but be carefull with younger plants. They can turn red (stress) when you increase the light intensity to abrupt. Keep these cacti cool and almost dry in winter but retain bright light if possible to prevent etiolation (thin, yellow growth).

Trichocereus pachanoi from seed and cuttings

Germination of San Pedro Cactus seeds is easy. This can be done with success following the seed raising instructions.

It is also possible to root San Pedro Cactus cuttings, for instance in our specially composed cactus rooting mix. To speed up and improve the rooting process you could use cactus rooting powder. Before putting the cutting into the rooting mix let the cut wound dry for several weeks. Potted San Pedro Cactus cuttings will start rooting in approximately 2-6 weeks.

Good luck with growing your own San Pedro Cactus plants!

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