Habitat: Desert areas of Chile and Peru (only foggy deserts).
Cultivation: The main difficulty in growing Eulychnia is to create a humid environment, just like the one of its native areas. It is therefore necessary to spray this plant daily during the summer season.
Curiosity: They are often found in spiral, crested, and other rare forms that make them a real peculiarity among cacti.
The genus Eulychnia includes columnar, arborescent or candelabriform cacti distinguished by their crests, their conspicuous areoles and long tufts of white, woolly hairs from which the spines sprout. Their name literally means “beutiful candelabra”: that’s because of the slender, long stems arranged just like a candelabra.
Their habitat are extremely dry, desertic areas, including the driest area in the world: the Atacama desert. These are actually “foggy desert”, where the extreme aridity is attenuated by frequent, dense coastal fogs. Here is the paradox: although these plant can survive without receiving almost no rainfall during the year, they are used to a very humid aerial environment. That’s what makes them hard to grow: it’s necessary to spray them daily with little water. As the daily fogs of their natural habitat tend to appear during early morning and late afternoon, the nebulization should be carried out during these moments of the day.
Eulychnias are very rare plants: many species are listed in the CITES system.
Eulychnias are big cacti: in their natural environment they can reach a height of 7 meters!
Its thorns are often long and thick: pay attention while moving these plants! Its stems are green and divided into ribs and the areoles are usually flashy, prominent, globose of different colors: for example in E. brevifolia they are white and woolly, forming spherical, white tufts from which the spines develop.
Eulychnas are particularly appreciated for their flashy blossomings, which occur in midsummer, in June and July. The flowers often (but not always) appear at the top of the columns and are very compact and showy, vaguely reminiscent of a water lily sprouting from a calyx covered in thick down or hairs. The colour depends on the species: usually white or pale yellow, but can also take on much brighter hues.
These plant are not so common because of their need for a very humid aerial environment: it’s easy to forget to spray them!
However, their many spiral, crested or sometimes even disc-shaped forms make them very sought after among the collectors: that’s because the specimens are always different from each other. The crested and spiral stems create a unique effect, so that some Eulychnias end up to look like sculptures.
The most popular Eulychnias are undoubtely E. breviflora and E. Castanea.
VARIETY AND TYPES
Here below are a few species of Eulychnia: check our online shop to find some of them!
- E. acida
- E. breflora
- E. castanea
- E. castanea forma varispiralis “cristata”
- E. castanea forma varispiralis “disc form”
- E. castanea forma varispiralis “mostruosa”
- E. floresiana
- Eulychnia iquiquensis
- E. longispina
- E. saint-pieana
TIPS FOR GROWING
As already mentioned, the main difficulty in growing Eulychnia is the need to create a humid environmeny, just like its native areas. Here are our cultivation tips:
- A full sun exposure is recommended.
- The temperature should stay above 8 °C.
- Watering should not be frequent, as the roots tend to rot easily, as with other cacti.
- In the summer, however, the foliage should be sprayed with water every day.
- Use a specific soil for cacti to plant them
- Repotting requirements are different depending on the species. As a general rule, repotting should take place in spring.
Eulychnia can be propagated either by cuttings or seeds. Often the cutting (which can be a portion of the stem) is grafted onto other, more tough species of cacti to ensure the survival of the plant.