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Pachycereus Pringlei, named after American botanist, Cyrus Pringle, is a columnar cactus native to the Sonoran Desert that is the tallest of all cactus species. With specimens reportedly reaching seventy feet in height with a diameter of about five feet, this species resembles the popular Giant Saguaro (Carnegiea Gigantea) but has fewer ribs. Pringlei blooms white flowers from March through June. The flowers are pollinated by insects, birds and bats. Birds and bats are also responsible for spreading Pringlei’s seed when they eat the fruit, which is also edible to humans. This fruit was used as a staple food by natives such as the Seri people of the Sonoran Desert. Native people also utilized other parts of the cactus such as the seed, which they ground into flour, and the spines, which they used to make fishing spears. Like other species of columnar cactus, pringlei was also reportedly used for construction and fencing. Additionally, the flesh was used medicinally as a disinfectant and a pain killer as well as for healing.
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The Pachycereus Pringlei is shown in Rare & Exotic Seeds.
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Light; As much full sun as possible.
Water; Overwatering Pachycereus is a surefire way to damage them. Arid, hot conditions just like the Mexican desert are ideal – you really shouldn’t have to water them at all.
Temperature; Their conditions should be as desertlike as possible, which means lots of very high temperatures.
Soil; Pachycereus pringlei has developed the amazing ability to grow on rock without any soil present. It accomplishes this through a symbiotic relationship with bacteria in its roots, which glean nutrients from the rock itself and pass them on to the plant. If you’re cultivating them in containers, potting soil is fine, but be aware that it may not even be necessary.
Fertilizer: Also not necessary, although many cacti do benefit from feeding with a cactus fertilizer and fertilizing them certainly won’t hurt.
Propagation; Like most cacti and succulents, these plants propagate by cuttings. Sever a branch and replant in well-drained soil. Make sure as well to stand the cactus up in an empty container to let its ends heal off before you replant it; this will keep its stems shaped right, and cacti with dried ends form roots more easily after planting.
Repotting; Inapplicable to most scenarios in which Pachycereus would be grown. If you do choose to cultivate a small specimen of Pachycereus pringlei in a container, repotting it can be helpful: if so, repot it as you would any other cactus, by removing it from the pot, cutting away any dead material from the roots, and replanting. Watch out for the plant’s spines – they can really ruin your day.
Grower’s Tips; These extraordinarily low-maintenance plants can basically grow untouched for decades, so there’s really not a lot you need to worry about. Obviously it’s very important that they receive adequate sun and heat, and be careful around their spines. If grown in containers, make sure that they’re being repotted and that their soil isn’t too moist. Other than that, these plants are about as simple and hands-off as it gets.
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