Cleistocactus straussii, Silver Torch Cactus, is a distinctive columnar cactus from southern Bolivia where it grows at elevations of 1500-3000m, usually on steep valley slopes or clinging to vertical or near-vertical cliff faces. The dense silvery-white bristle-like spines and tall slender habit - often clumping from the base - make it one of the most instantly recognisable of all cacti and a well-grown mature plant makes for a stunning specimen.
Cleistocactus straussii requires a gritty free-draining substrate and an aspect in full sun. Coming from high altitudes it is able to tolerate lower temperatures and brief sub-zero episodes and is being experimented with outdoors in favoured locations on the south coast by more adventurous souls. In other colder and wetter locations its more usual aspect in cultivation is tucked up inside a cool glasshouse or making an elegant statement in well-lit lounge or conservatory.
Recently some taxonomists have suggested a reclassification of Cleistocactus straussii as Echinopis straussii... Is nothing sacred?
|Synonyms||Borzicactus straussii, Cephalocereus straussii, Cleistocactus straussii var. fricii, Denmoza strausii, Denmoza strausii var. luteispina, Echinopsis straussii, Pilocereus straussii|
|Cultivation||Sunny well-lit location. Perfect drainage with a gritty alkaline substrate. Water well during the growing season but no water at all from October through to March. Ideal houseplant|
|Eventual Spread||Clumping to a 30-40cm spread|
|Hardiness||Cold tolerant to modestly hardy in southern favoured locations with very good drainage. Tolerates light frost. Is now been grown successfully along the south coast. Indoors in colder, wetter locations|
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