- Tips For Growing Fairy Castle Cactus
- Fairy Castle Cactus Classification
- Information About Fairy Castle Cactus Plant
- Fairy Castle Cactus Care
- How To Propagate Acanthocereus Tetragonus
- Acanthocereus Tetragonus Pests and Diseases
- Fairy Castle Cactus Suggested Uses
Tips For Growing Fairy Castle Cactus
Cereus tetragonus is native to North America but is only suited for cultivation outside in USDA zones 10 to 11. The fairy castle cactus is the colorful name by which the plant is marketed and refers to the numerous vertical stems of different heights that resemble spires and turrets. The plant is a succulent with spines that bloom infrequently. Growing fairy castle cactus inside your home is an easy beginning gardener project. These delicately limbed cacti provide all the charm of the fairy tale castles for which they are named.
Fairy Castle Cactus Classification
Some expert classify the cactus as a form of Acanthocereus tetragonus. It has also been given the species name hildmannianus in the genus Cereus. The susbspecies is the real puzzler. Fairy castle cactus is either in the subspecies uruguayanus or monstrose. Whichever scientific name is correct, the plant is a delightful little cactus for your home.
Information About Fairy Castle Cactus Plant
Cereus tetragonus is native to North, South and Central Americas. It is a very slow growing plant that will eventually reach 6 feet tall. The stems on fairy castle cactus plant are five sided with woolly based spines along each plane. The limbs are a bright green turning woody and brown with age. Different branches are formed over time which slowly lengthen and produce an interesting silhouette.
The fairy castle cactus rarely blooms. Cacti need perfect growing conditions to produce flowers and the plants in the Cereus family bloom at night. Fairy castle cactus flowers are large and white, and usually will not occur until the plant is ten years old or more. If your cactus comes with a flower, examine it carefully. It is likely a fake bloom used as a marketing ploy (these are also typically yellow rather than white). There is no need to remove the fake fairy castle cactus flower, as it will fall off by itself eventually.
Fairy Castle Cactus Care
Fairy castle cactus is a full sun plant that requires well drained soil. Plant the cactus in an unglazed clay pot that allows excess moisture to evaporate. The fairy castle cactus plant will grow best in a good cactus potting soil or you can make your own. Mix one part potting soil with one part each of sand and perlite. This will make a good gritty medium for the cactus.
Place the little cactus in a bright sunny location that is away from drafts or air conditioning. When you water, water until the liquid comes out of the drainage holes and then allow the soil to completely dry out before irrigating. Fairy castle cactus care is easiest in winter when you can cut in half the amount of water the plant receives.
Fertilize with a good cactus fertilizer in spring when growth resumes. Feed monthly or with irrigation in a dilution that is half strength. Suspend the feeding in winter.
Experts can’t agree on the scientific names of this cactus. Is it Acanthocereus tetragonus, or Cereus hildmannianus? Is its subspecies uruguayanus, or monstrose? Most people simply prefer its whimsical common name: Fairy Castle cactus. Bright green ‘spires’ and ‘turrets’ rise up from the plant’s base and grow out of each other. Each turret is lined with straw-like spines that you can touch. Flowers are a rare reward, and Fairy castle cacti only bloom after years of quality care.
Fortunately, Fairy Castle cacti are easy to care for. It is one of the most commonly sold indoor cacti because of its popularity among beginners. You can find them at any garden center, online, or even your local grocery store. Fairy castles are native to Brazil and love full sunlight, so set it in a window where it gets early morning sun and is perhaps shaded in the afternoon. Rotate the pot every few months to keep the cactus from growing crookedly toward the light.
All cacti are succulents, meaning they swell and store water in their tissue. They are used to downpours followed my long dry spells. Soak a Fairy Castle’s soil and let it completely dry before watering again, about one or two months. Over-watering is the easiest way to damage a cactus. To aid drainage and prevent rot, plant it in a large, unglazed clay plot with a tray. Use a 50/50 mixture of potting soil and sand to mimic its natural environment.
Fairy Castles are often sold with bright straw pink or yellow flowers hot-glued to its spires to add color. Many growers prefer to gently remove the fake flowers, or allow them to fall off as the cactus grows. A more natural way to spruce up a Fairy Castle is to decorate its pot. Unglazed clay is ripe with possibilities.
Although Fairy Castles can grow quickly in the beginning–a two-inch cutting can turn into a mature, foot-tall plant with dozens of spires in just one year–their usual growth rate is slow. Pay attention to oddities that form, and check to see if the symptoms match any cactus maladies. One symptom that looks alarming but is actually part of a cactus’s natural aging process is corking. The base of the oldest stems will turn brown and woody, providing stability for the growing plant. After decades, it can have hundreds of spires and reach six feet in height. At that point it will be more like a fairy palace than a fairy castle! Don’t let its maximum height frighten you away. A Fairy Castle will certainly be a shapely, admirable plant for over a decade.
Acanthocereus Tetragonus is a popular species of cactus.
Formerly known as Cereus tetragonus, the cactus is native to Florida and the Lower Rio Grande Valley of Texas in the United States.
The cactus plant also originates in popular regions of Mexico, the Caribbean, Central America, and northern South America.
The spiky plant shares resemblance with the turrets of a castle due to its curvy, columnar shape.
This is the reason why it is popularly known as a fairy castle cactus.
Some experts categorize this famous cactus as a cultivated variety of Cereus hildmannianus.
Fairy castle cactus is either in the subspecies uruguayanus or monstrose.
Aside from the fairy castle cactus and its scientific name, the plant goes by many other common names as follows:
- Barbed Wire Cactus
- Triangle Cactus
- Night-blooming Cereus
- Sword Pear
Size and Growth
Acanthocereus Tetragonus is a slow-growing succulent, tall and spiky, boasting a height of 6′ to 23′ feet.
It features dark green stems up to 8″ inches taller and grey areoles up to 1″ inch long.
On each stem, there are five sides with short white spines growing along the ribs.
The areoles of the plant come with one or two spires, white/yellow in color and 1.5″ inch in length.
Since Acanthocereus cacti enjoy the full sun, they grow best in warmer climatic regions.
Flowering and Fragrance
The pointy cactus rarely blooms but when it does, it produces large, white flowers.
These blooms are usually 3″ – 6″ inches long and 5.5″ – 8″ inches wide.
The plant takes 10 years (or more) to mature and develop flowers.
If the cactus is already full of blooms, observe it carefully as they may be fake flowers.
The cactus flowers consist of two main parts – outer tepals and inner tepals.
The outer tepals are light green while the inner tepals are simply white.
The pistils are creamy white.
The yellow flowers open up at midnight and stay abloom till dawn.
Along with flowers, the vivid red fruits are a sight to behold.
Lighting and Temperature
These succulent plants enjoy the full sun plant and grow best in a bright sunny location, far away from rainfall or air conditioning.
This slow-growing plant is categorized in USDA hardiness zones 10a to 11b.
These include areas with climatic temperatures from 25° to 50° degrees Fahrenheit (-4° to 10° C).
Watering and Feeding
Being a succulent, fairy castle cactus has typical succulent water requirements.
When watering, the liquid must come out of the drainage hole and allow the soil to completely dry before watering again.
Overwatering is the most common way to destroy fairy castle cacti.
In winters, watering is cut down to half the amount it receives in summers.
For feeding, a fairy castle cactus responds to cactus fertilizers, specifically designed for their needs.
Apply a cactus fertilizer in Spring when growth resumes and every month in the summer season at half strength.
Avoid feeding the plant in winter.
Soil and Transplanting
Acanthocereus Tetragonus ‘Fairy Castle’ flourishes in a well-drained soil or cactus potting soil.
To make a DIY potting soil, combine houseplant potting soil, sand and perlite together. This results in a grainy medium for the cactus.
Ideally, fairy castle should be transplanted when it outgrows the space it is in.
The plant needs a lot of space for root development. Hence, repotting should be done every other year or when the plant has outgrown its pot.
Grooming and Maintenance
This low-maintenance plant is super easy to look after and why it’s a top pick for amateurs or beginners.
Always plant the cactus in a clay pot.
An unglazed clay pot is a great option as it evaporates the unnecessary excess moisture. It is a great option for those looking for a columnar cactus.
Place the plant where enough sunlight is present.
During winters, bring the plant indoors (it makes an excellent windowsill plant) as the exposure to cold temperatures may damage the plant for good.
How To Propagate Acanthocereus Tetragonus
Fairy castle cacti propagate from cuttings.
For this, cut a branch as long as the length of a hand and replant it in damp, well-drained miracle soil.
This type of soil helps to harden and dry out the cutting, allowing roots to develop.
Acanthocereus Tetragonus Pests and Diseases
The green finger plant isn’t susceptible to any serious diseases or pest problems.
However, overwatering causes bacterial or fungal diseases.
Some of the pesky insects to watch out for are succulent mealy bugs and root mealy bugs.
Less common pests are fungus gnats and spider mites.
Learn more about spider mites on succulents and more.
Fairy Castle Cactus Suggested Uses
Having succulents and cacti like fairytale castle help keep the air fresh in homes.
Plus, they help elevate indoor beauty with their unique, exotic appearance.
This makes them the best indoor cacti but also a great addition to fairy gardens.