Small columnar cactus native to the Galapagos Islands.
The stems reach the 50-60 cm of height, with a diameter of 4-5 cm; they tend to tiller with great facility, forming wide tufts, with some erect stems, other semi-processed; the stem is of dark green colour, with several ribs, and almost completely covered by long pointed thorns, of yellow colour in the young specimens, they become grey or black with the passing of the years: for this reason the tufts of brachycereus are formed by plants of various shades of colour, from the golden yellow, up to the black.
In summer, along the stems, some cream-white flowers bloom, of tubular shape, long up to 10 cm; they bloom in the early hours of the morning and close with the darkness. These plants are among the first to colonize the areas devastated by volcanic eruptions, standing out very much among the dark rocks.
Exposure and Watering
Exposure: place in a very bright position, possibly in full sun; these plants don’t like cold weather very much, seen the place of origin, therefore in winter they are to be kept in a well sheltered place, for instance in a warmed greenhouse, with at least 15-18°C of temperature.
Watering: from March to September water only when the soil is completely dry; in the cold months water sporadically, about once a month. During the vegetative period, provide specific fertilizer for succulent plants, every 25-30 days, mixed with the water of the watering.
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The brachycereus in nature grow on volcanic soils, so we can prepare an ideal soil using fine-grained lapillus, mixed with little soil or peat to give it a little cohesion. In general, it is important that the cultivation medium of brachycereus is very well drained, to avoid harmful water stagnation.
It can happen by seed, but, usually, these plants are propagated by removing, with a well sharpened small knife, one of the specimens forming the tuft; after having dried it up for 15-25 hours, we proceed by burying it for some centimetres in a mixture of peat and sand in equal parts, which is to be kept slightly humid for some weeks, without, however, exceeding with the waterings.
Lava Cactus, Creeping Wax – Brachycereus: Pests and Diseases
these cackles can be infested with cochineal and red spiders.
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