Browningia hertlingiana is a peruvian plant native to the Mantaro Valley. It grows at an altitude up to 3000 m on steep slopes in dry Andean forests.
Browningia hertlingiana is a perennial treelike, enourmous columnar cactus. The columnar few branched stems can get up to 8 m tall and 4 m extention. The several stems which arise from the main one are bright turquoise to olive green when aging (to get the characteristic blue colour, this succulent needs a warm climate and a big amount of light). Ribs are tuberculate and up to 18 cm long, and areoles form on tubercles. The stemp present two different kind of spines: the juvenile ones, 5-8 each areole, differentiated in centrals (stouter, in a number from 1 to 3) and radials, yellow with a brown tip; and the ones on the upper part of the stem, up to 30 looking almost equal, yellowish and flexible. When the plant get 1 m tall, in summer it can bloom: flowers are nocturnal, white with a purplish-brown tube.
Browningia hertlingiana is a summer, slow-growing cactus, and older plants tend to need a support not to collapse because of their weight. It needs to be put in well sun-exposed, ventilated areas. Use a rich and well-draining substratum. Repotting should be done in spring, every year: use a container with a good drainage e do not water for a week after moving the plant. During warm seasons you can feed it a low nitrogen content fertilizer to make it grow better. Water regularly from March till October, letting the soil getting dry before watering again. In winter, it should be kept perfectly dry to avoid rot rot and frost damages: keep it in a cool place and avoid exposition to temperatures below -5°C for long periods. Due to its adaptability, this Browningia grows well when cultivated outdoors: just avoid high humidity.
Propagation is easily done by seeds: during spring, sown them in pots of well-draining, sandy substratum. Once they get well-rooted, you can plant the seedlings in separated small containers.
Due to its characteristical turqouise appearance, Browningia hertlingiana is also called “Blue Cereus”.