Eulychnia castanea cv. varispiralis f. Spiralis
Eulychnia mostruosa v. spiraliforme
Eulychnia aurata f. monstrosa cristata
E. castanea is native to the North of Chile
E. castanea cv. Varispiralis f. Spiralis is a cactus belonging to the botanical family of Cactacee. The cactus has a bright green stem usually with a columnar habit and can branches at the base. The stem of the plant is made of tubercles which grow in a characteristic whirly spiral way. Between one tubercle and the other there are long brownish spines. The plant over time can reach up to 2 m in height. The forma Spiralis is a variant of the same clone and is possible grafting a clone on another clone to obtain impressive plants.
E. castanea cv. Varispiralis f. Spiralis is a slow growing succulent but quite easy to cultivate. For this succulent the best sun-exposure is full sunlight, and the plant does not like extended period of frost so it needs to be placed indoors during the coldest periods. The crested form is more sensitive to cold and prefers warmer conditions. The soil should be mixed with pumice, clay and loam to allow the drainage and prevent the root rot, the plant is prone to it indeed. Remember to use perforating pot to drain excess water. Watering can be done regularly from March to November: during the vegetative period you can water the plant (every 10 days), checking that the soil is completely dry before watering again; in winter you should stop the watering to allow to the plant to enter dormancy. If you want a very fast and lush growth you can fertilize the plant once a month during the growing season with the specifics fertilizers for cacti; stop fertilizing throughout the winter. The pot should be quite large and deep because the root is large and tuberose. If the pot starts to be too small for the plant you can repot the plant in a pot 2 cm wider. Repotting should be done early in the growing season with fresh new potting soil.
This plant can be propagated by grafting or by cutting. By grafting the plant is usually grafted onto a Myrtillocactus geometrizans trunk. By cutting you can use leaf cuttings during the spring. Cut the leaves as close as possible to the stem and then let it 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 success of propagation you can cut two or more leaves at the same time. For cuttings is recommended temperatures around 20 °C.
The name of the genus, Eulychna, comes from the two ancient Greek words: “eu” which means “good” and “lychnos” which means “lamp”, thus a good lampstand.
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