P. pachycladus is native to Brazil Northeast and Brazil Southeast
P. pachycladus is a beautiful cactus belonging to the Cactaceae botanical family. The succulent has a tree-like habit and over time it tends to branch out from the base of the main stem. The stem is erect, columnar, stout, arranged in ribs and can reach up to 10 m in height and 12 cm in diameter. The plant is from bluish-green to Turquoise and it takes on fantastic color tones and gorgeous celestial shades. The ribs are 5-19 and are divided by narrow and deep furrows and covered with areoles. The areoles are very close and are white and hairy and bearing long, sharp, yellowish spines. The cactus over time produces pseudocephalium. The pseudocephalium is an area close to the top of the stem with much denser hair and bristly spines that grows on the side, and where the flower buds and fruit are produced. Blooming occurs in October and blossom borne on the pseudocephalium has a nocturnal flowering. The flowers are funnel-shaped, greenish with outer reddish segments. The reddish purple fruits bear shiny black seeds.
This is a slow growing plant, easy to cultivate. The plant needs a full light sun exposure but is recommended to avoid direct sun-light in the hottest periods. The plant does not like temperatures below 10°C so it needs to be placed indoors in the coldest periods. 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 a perforating pot to drain excess water. Watering can be done regularly in Spring and Summer: 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. If you want a faster and lush growth you can fertilize the plant once a month during the growing season with the specific fertilizers for cacti; stop fertilizing throughout the winter. 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.
The easiest and fast method of propagation is to use cuttings but it is also possible by seed. 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°.
The name Pilosocereus literally means “hairy cereus”. It shares with other cereus the typical candelabrum shape (which is the reason of the last part of its name, “cereus”, which means torch), and large size, while it differs from them in the thick hairs that grow on the adult plant.
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