Chamaecereus silvestrii cristata
The name Chamaecereus silvestrii is actually a synonym of the accepted name “Echinopsis chamaecereus”. Other synonyms are:
Cereus silvestrii var. crassicaulis
Chamaecereus silvestrii f. cristata is a nursery cultivar, but Chamaecereus silvestrii, the species from which this cultivar has been selected, is native and endemic to Argentina. Actually its last finding occurred in the first decades of 1900, but it has been never found again in its environment.
Chamaecereus silvestrii f. cristata is a small plant, with the strange form of an intestine. It’s really appreciated for its strange appearance. Its piled up stems are pale green, sometimes, in the coolest periods, tinged in red, and covered by white, glassy spines. Sometimes, this crested cultivar form normal stems, which are the ones who are able to flower, while the crested ones don’t blossom. This is a dwarf plant: it can reach a maximum height of 15 centimeters and a width of 30-40 centimeters. Flowers are of a bright orange-red, 5 centimeters in diameter.
Chamaecereus silvestrii needs full sun, in a windy environment especially in winter, to avoid rotting. Plants of the genus “Chamaecereus” like high temperatures but, if the soil is maintained dry, they can resist temperatures until 2ºC. Chamaecereus silvestrii needs very little water. Water it maximum every 5-6 days, but only if the soil turns completely dry, and keep it absolutely away from rain. The adequate substrate is a normal cactus mix. Fertilization has to be done once a month, just in spring and summer, using a specific product for Cactacee. Repotting depends on root dimension: it’s sufficient to check it sometimes, before each repotting.
Propagation can be made through its suckers, growing from the base of the plant. They can be simply detached from the soil in spring and planted in another pot. Seeding is also possible: planting seeds and maintaining the temperature around 20ºC and a moisted, sandy soil.