Lophocereus schottii f. mostruosa
Cereus schottii var. australis
Lophocereus schottii f. spiralis
Lophocereus schottii var. tenuis
L. schottii is native to Arizona, Mexico Northwest where the plant grows in the desert regions. The forma monstrousa occurs in very soft sandy and gravely soil.
L. schottii f. mostruosa is a rare succulents belonging to the Cactaceae botanical family. The plant has an ascending habit and branches from the base. The cactus can reach up to 6 m in height and 12 cm in diameter but usually remain smaller. The stem is arranged in indistinct ribs, irregularly shaped, protruding like tubercles. The plant is spineless and the epidermis is smooth, grey-green in color. Blooming, rarely seen, occurs in late spring in the apical ‘hairy’ part of the stems. The flowers are sterile, nocturnal, light pink and last for a few hours. The plant continues to survive in the wild because stem sections break off periodically and root along the sides.
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 6° 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 only by cutting because the forma monsturosa is sterile. 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.
This genus includes only one species, Lophocereus schottii. According to some classifications, it should fall within the genus Pachycereus. The forma mostruosa is a natural mutation that occurred in the L. schottii population and that was selected and propagated vegetatively.
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