Polaskia chichipe is a tall growing branching columnar cactus from tropical Mexico with a distinctive chalky-green stem and strongly pronounced ribs. It is fast growing and within just a few years will establish itself as a handsome specimen. It is not hardy in the UK but can be placed outside during the summer months where exposure to the elements will significantly toughen it up and promote its growth. Protect from snails who have a penchant for munching on your most prized cacti. Bring back indoors in October before the first frosts and keep in a warm well-lit aspect. In the house or in a conservatory or heated glasshouse is best. It will usually manage in warmer locations in a cool glasshouse but a double layer of fleece will be needed as protection. In colder latitudes and during extreme temperatures it will be sensible to have an ambient heat source. Polaskia chichipe has no great cold tolerance and will often show a purplish discolouration on the tips of its ribs during the winter when it has become too stressed under cold temperatures. This purple colour we soon disappear once growth starts again in spring but if growing it in cool conditions it is a good indicator of how well it is coping with the cold and always a good idea to be at the ready with extra warmth if any extended periods of extreme temperatures are forecast.
|Synonyms||Cereus chichipe, Cereus mixtecensis, Lemaireocereus chichipe, Lemaireocereus mixtecensis, Myrtillocactus chichipe|
|Geographical Origin||Mexico: Puebla, Michoacán, Oaxaca|
|Cultivation||Full sun. A free-draining alkaline substrate. Water sparingly in the growing season. No water at all from mid-October to late February. Ideal indoors specimen|
|Eventual Height||5m in the wild - less in cultivation|
|Eventual Spread||Branching to 2m|
|Hardiness||Not hardy. Outside in summer but indoors in the winter. Or in a cool glasshouse under at least double fleece. Needs to be both perfectly dry and above freezing through winter|
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