Cylindropuntia spinosior, Cane Cholla, is endemic to the south-west of the USA and Northern Mexico and is found in Arizona, New Mexico and over the border into Sonora and Chihuahua. It grows at elevations up to 2000M asl and will take moderate frosts and periods of sub-zero temperatures providing it has excellent drainage. As it develops its woody stems it can take sudden sharp frosts but may lose some softer new growth. It prefers an alkaline substrate and is best grown in a free-draining sandy, griitty, gravelly mix to which has been added limestone chunks.
Cylindropuntia spinosior is a very multi-branched cholla and when young can appear quite congested with many branches. This tends to make it less architectural in its early life than some of the larger Cylindropuntias but as the main stems begin to become apparent and start to grow tall and woody, it too develops into a sizeable plant and in its native range will often become a large shrub exceeding 2m in height and often as much across. Its spines tend to be less problematic than many other Cylindopuntias and usually lack the savage barbed tips that are found in, for example, Cylindropuntia imbricata.
Its flowers - like many Opuntiads - can be variable but are usually light purple although sometimes more reddish, rose or peach coloured. Yellow flowers have also been known.
Cylindropuntia spinosior is an easy cactus to grow, starting life as a fairly small houseplant and, with care and judicious shaping, becoming a highly ornamental and sculptural specimen.
|Synonyms||Grusonia spinosior, Opuntia spinosior, Opuntia spinosior var. neomexicana, Opuntia whipplei var. spinosior|
|Geographical Origin||USA: Arizona, New Mexico; Mexico: Sonora, Chihuahua|
|Cultivation||Full sun. Sheltered spot. Free-draining gritty/sandy soil with very little organic material. Alakaline pH. Planting on a gradient is a useful way of increasing the drainage during the wet UK winters|
|Hardiness||Hardy in warmer locations but must have superb drainage in the UK. A thick mulch of grit and stone in winter. Houseplant when small|
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