Espostoa guentheri f. crestata
E. guentheri is native to Bolivia where the plant grows in Mountainous areas and it is widespread up to 1300 m of altitude. The plant occurs in seasonally dry forest forming cactus forest with other species.
E. guentheri is a rare cactus belonging to the Cactaceae botanical family. The plant has an erect habit, branches from the base in age and can reach up to 2 m in height. The stem is columnar, deep green, arranged in 27 ribs, completely hidden by long spines. The ribs are covered with yellowish white, woolly areoles on which are inserted the spines. The spines are 15-25 for areola and are thin, erect, golden in color. Blooming occurs from late spring to the early summer and appear once the plant reaches mature age. The plant forms a cephalium lateral to the apex of the stem. The cephalium is a woolly and bristly outgrowth, usually brightly colored and from which flower buds are formed. The cephalium is typical of some genera such as Melocactus and Discocactus and in some species it can reach a height of 1 m. The flowers are bell-shaped, nocturnal to favor the bat-pollination, and are yellowish in color and large. The fruits are edible. In the crested form, the stem grows in the shape of a fan or wave and usually branches off from the base, taking on highly sought-after sculptural forms. In this form the apex of the stem is brighter than the other parts because the spines are dense and resemble a seam.
The plant has a slow growth rate but it easy to cultivate. The best sun-exposure is in bright place but is recommended to avoid direct sun-light in the hottest periods. The minimum temperatures that the plant can withstand are 10° C, below this temperature it begins to suffer so it needs to be placed indoors in the coldest periods. The perfect soil is a well-drained soil that let the water to drain away and avoid root rot. To achieve this feature, you can mix the pumice soil, clay and soil. Using a perforating pot, you can drain excess water. Watering is very important for this species and should be done well: during the vegetative period you can water the plant (every 7 days), checking that the soil is completely dry before watering again; in winter you should stop the watering to allow the plant to enter dormancy. About fertilization, for this plant is sufficient to fertilize moderately during the growing season with the specific fertilizers for succulents and stop fertilizing during the winter. You should repot the plant every 2 years in a pot 2 cm wider. Repotting should be done early in the growing season with fresh new potting soil. Be careful to red spiders and mealy bugs.
Propagation can be done by cutting, by seed or by grafting. By cutting you can make the cut during the spring and then let the cutting dry; after a few days the cut surface will dry and a callus will form, then place the cutting in a mixture of sand, soil and pumice. To increase the success of propagation you can make two or more cuttings at the same time. For cuttings it is recommended temperatures around 20 °C. By seed it is very simple to propagate the plant, it is enough to sow the seed in a sandy loam soil and keep it with a high level of humidity and at temperature of 14 C°. By grafting you can use other column-shaped cacti. Make the cut as close to the growing tip as possible, then chose a stock with a diameter similar to that of the scion. After the cut, wash away the latex until it no longer remains. Bring the scion closer to the stock and held together with elastic bands. The plants should be left in an airy and shady place for 7-10 days before the bands are removed.
Extremely long-lasting Cactus (blooms arrive only after 30 years of age), it has its name for Peruvian botanist Nicholas Esposto. The specific epithet is due to the German botanist Ernst Karl Franz Günther.
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