This genus includes a unique species, native to the deserts of North and Central America. It is a very slow growing cactus, and very long-lived, which can reach even the 18-20 metres of height, taking however 200 years; the plants of saguaro are columnar for many years, when they reach the 150-200 cm of height, they tend to ramify; they have 15-20 ribs and grey thorns, yellow in the upper areas.
The adult plants, 30-40 years old, in spring produce big white flowers, very perfumed, followed by big red fruits, oblong, edible, containing countless black seeds.
Exposure: these plants are accustomed to desert climate, therefore they prefer very sunny locations; they fear the cold, and exposure to temperatures below 4-5 degrees causes irreparable damage, therefore they should be kept indoors throughout the autumn and winter.Watering: it doesn’t need abundant watering, usually from April to September it is a good idea to water it every 15-20 days, waiting for the soil to be well dry between one watering and the other; with the arrival of autumn watering should be reduced, until it is completely suspended in winter.
This plant certainly tolerates complete drought better than excessive watering. During the growing season it is good to add small amounts of cacti fertilizer to the water of the watering once a month, without exceeding.
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Saguaro – Carnegieia gigantea: Cultivation
Soil: Cultivate the saguaro in a good cacti compote, rich in sand and coarse material, to ensure excellent drainage.Multiplication: it happens by seed, even if the seeds are difficult to find; to sow in autumn in a mixture of sand and peat in equal parts, the sowing container is to be kept in a shady place, sheltered from the sun rays, warm and slightly humid, the small plants will germinate quite quickly, but the growth is very slow; when they are big enough to be able to be handled, they are to be planted in single containers, this can happen even after two or three years from the sowing: In this period, remember that the seeds of saguaro in nature tend to germinate under the shelter of trees and shrubs, then in a warm but shady place.Parasites and diseases: the excess of fertilizer and watering quickly cause the rottenness of the plant, can be affected by cochineal, aphids and red spider mite.