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How to Grow Lophocereus — Whisker Cactus

Whisker cactus, Lophocereus schottii
Whisker cactus, Lophocereus schottii

Lophocereus is a columnar cactus that branches at the base forming a small trunk. It is one of the candelabra-type cacti.

Lophocereus bears colorful nocturnal flowers; the colors range from white through pink to sometimes red. Usually, two small flowers appear from areoles that also bear dozens of bristle-like flowers.

Lophocerus can tolerate intense heat and sun but will be damaged by extended periods of frost.

Tall Lophocereus shcottii in back pots; smaller Opuntia microdasys in front pots
Tall Lophocereus shcottii in back pots; smaller Opuntia microdasys in front pots

Get to Know Lophocereus

  • Plant type: Cereanae, Organ pipe cactus
  • Hardiness temperature: 45℉ (7.2℃)
  • Shape and size: Grows to 15 feet (4.5m) tall
  • Flowers: Small, noctural flowers from white through pink, sometimes red
  • Bloom time: Spring and summer, rarely blooms
  • Common name: Whisker cactus, totem pole cactus
  • Genus name: Lophocereus
  • Family name: Cactaceae
  • Origin: Southern Arizona to Sonora, Mexico

Planting Lophocereus

  • Lophocereus can be grown outdoors and in pots where temperatures do not fall below 45℉ (7.2℃) in winter.
  • Lophocereus can be grown indoors in a bright sunny window or in a greenhous with bright light. Lophorcereus requires more light that most houseplants.
  • Light: Lophocereus can tolerate intense sun
  • Soil:

How to Water and Feed Lophocereus

  • Water: Water Lophorcerus regularly during the growing season, but the soil should not stay wet past nightfall. Do not water Lophocereus during the winter rest period.
  • Feeding: Feed Lophocereus with a cactus fertilizer during the growing season.

Lophocereus Care

  • Lophocerceus can be propagated by seeds or cuttings.
  • Lophocerus should be protected from frost; the stem tips should be covered.

Lophocereus Varieties to Grow

  • Lophocereus schottil (whisker cactus) may reach 15 feet tall, 8 inches in diameter; erect stems, branching just above the ground, Radial, gray spines are conical, slightly larger at base, and surround a single, central spine. Upper areoles have twisted, bristlelike spines 1 to 4 inches long; areoles produce small pink flowers in spring, summer.
  • L. s. ‘monstrosus’ (totem pole cactus) nearly spineless ribs are irregularly spaced; this species has an almost knobby appearance.

Organ pipe cactus

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How to Grow Trichocereus — Torch Cactus