Totem Pole Cactus
The slow-growing, smooth-skinned, columnar cactus grows ten to twelve feet with tall stems that branch at the base to form a short trunk. It is a slow-growing cactus with smooth skin and no visible spines. The totem pole has light to medium green coloring and small bumps or areoles along the entire length of its long columns, giving it the illusion of having multiple faces carved into the plant. Totem pole cactus is a night bloomer, and in late spring it produces light pink blossoms that open at dusk and close up by mid morning. It also develops an edible, egg-shaped, red fruit with red pulp. Over time, this cactus forms multiple, upright arms. When a stem falls over in the wild, it will root along its side. Use this cactus as a showy display in cactus gardens, or in attractive containers or raised beds with other cactus and succulent plants. It can also be used as a xeriscape planting in combination with other desert plantings or around pools or ponds as an accent. Use it against a tall wall for a vertical or architectural effect. It is native to Sonora, Mexico and the Baja peninsula of Mexico, where it grows on desert hillsides and in valleys.
Planting A Totem Pole Cactus: Tips On The Care Of Totem Pole Cacti
The totem pole cactus is one of those marvels of nature you just have to see to believe. Some might say it has a façade only a mother could love, while others find the warts and bumps that festoon the plant a uniquely beautiful attribute. This slow-growing cactus is easy to grow as a houseplant or outdoors in United States Department of Agriculture zones 9 to 11. Some tips on how to grow totem pole cactus follow, including care of totem pole cacti and propagation.
Totem Pole Cactus Information
Gardeners lucky enough to live in USDA zones 9-11 can grow totem pole cacti to their impressive 10- to 12-foot-tall potential. This would take years, but the plants are not prey to any insect pests and the only real disease issue is root rot. Northern and temperate region gardeners will have to place the plant indoors or in a greenhouse for successful results.
This plant grows in an upright habit with long branches. The whole plant is covered in lumps and bumps, which resemble the wax of a melted
taper candle. The folds and curves of the skin help the plant preserve moisture in its native region of Baja to Mexico. One of the more interesting bits of totem pole cactus information is that is does not have spines.
The plant comes from the species Pachycereus schottii, which has small wooly 4-inch spines. Totem pole cactus is a mutant of this form and is known as Pachycereus schottii monstrosus. It is smooth skinned except for the carbuncles and wrinkles.
How to Grow Totem Pole Cactus
The monstrous form of Pachycereus doesn’t flower or seed, so it must propagate vegetatively. This is a bonus for growers, since cuttings root and grow quickly, while cactus seed is slow to produce specimens of any note.
Take softwood or new cuttings with a good clean, sharp blade at an angle. Make sure you include at least one good areole, or the apical meristem, where new growth begins. Allow the cut end to callus or dry out for at least a week.
Plant the cut end into good cactus soil and do not water for several weeks when planting totem pole cactus cuttings. After a month follow general care of totem pole cacti.
Totem Pole Cactus Care
Use these tips when caring for your totem pole cactus:
- Use a good cactus mix for planting totem pole cactus. It should have a high presence of grit, such as sand or small crushed rock.
- Unglazed containers are best for houseplants, as they allow evaporation of excess water.
- Place the plant in a brightly lit window but avoid one where searing noon sun can shine in and burn the plant.
- Water deeply, but infrequently, and allow the soil to completely dry out before adding moisture.
- Fertilize monthly with a good cacti food.
- The plant can be brought outdoors in summer but must come back in before any cold temperatures threaten.
Care of totem pole cacti is trouble free as long as you don’t over water and protect the plant from cold.
Monstera Deliciosa – a quick plant care guide
If there’s one plant that I’d recommend to anyone who wants something simple to look after, it would be the monstera deliciosa. I first came across the monstera deliciosa in the 90s. My parents had a gigantic one which they bought from a garage sale. They kept it indoors and as a kid, I thought the leaves looked soo frightening – it was the weirdest looking plant I’ve ever seen and I totally thought it was a monster! The plant eventually outgrew its pot and was planted in our front garden, much to my delight – I was honestly quite confused by its appeal and wondered often why people even wanted to keep plants indoors to begin with. Its leaves now stretch more than 50cm in size and its totally overgrown and as luscious as ever. It’s humungous, really!A decade later, and I’ve actually taken quite a liking to this plant and also, totally get the appeal of plants inside! In fact, my first indoor plant was actually a cutting from this very overgrown monstera that my parents picked up all those years ago. My dad helped me cut off an off shoot and carefully planted it into a pot to bring it back indoors again. Everything I hated about the plant became something I loved – the leaves and little holes in them were so beautiful – I loved the plant so much that I decided to get another baby one a few months later. Both plants have been doing great, despite inconsistent care. I’d say this plant packs in great value in that for little effort, you can raise a beautiful large plant. Monstera deliciosas are such statement plants as well – they really brighten up any corner and gives your interior an instant tropical kind of feel. So for someone who would lovea plant that looks the part but doesn’t require much work, I’d definitely recommend a monstera deliciosa.
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Here’s a quick plant care guide, for those not already acquainted! PS I’m not a plant expert, I just love plants, these are just some notes I’ve kept based on my experience with the plant.LIGHTLike most indoor plants, the monstera deliciosa is a tropical plant and requires bright, indirect light. As mentioned before, this would be best described as somewhere you can read a book comfortable during the day, that doesn’t receive direct sun rays. If a certain corner looks too dark to grow a plant, it probably is. WATERI water my monstera deliciosa plants when the top layer of the soil has dried out, however it has also gone long periods without water at times and also been watered a bit more frequently when I forget when I last watered it. I would say this plant generally bounces back and is a tough fighter. It seems to do fine despite my inconsistent watering schedules.BUGSA lot of my plants have had bug infestations come and go, but the monstera deliciosa has always seemed to keep out of trouble and doesn’t seem to attract any bugs. This alone makes this plant perfect for a beginner.POTSThe monstera deliciosa has thick roots and a pretty big root system. I’d recommend repotting your plant every couple of years – mine is definitely due for a repotting soon – it’s lived in the same pot since I got it at half the size. A repotting is good as often the soil runs out of nutrients or breaks down and compresses too much, so it’s good to get in some fresh soil to help the plant grow. The monstera deliciosa often shoots out aerial roots, which you can try to direct back into the soil. If they really bother you, you can often cut them off without much harm – the plant depends on its soil roots more than the aerial ones.STAKINGIt’s very common that you will need to eventually stake your monstera deliciosa, as it does grow in a vine like fashion and can start to get unruly. You can stake with anything, the most common option is a totem pole but you can also use a bamboo stake and little wire ties etc. as well. Staking is great because you can train it to grow a certain direction or look a certain way. As you can see, I’ve trained my monstera to have all its leaves face the same direction.I hope this helps with any beginner plant mamas and plant papas looking to adopt a monstera deliciosa into their home!