Trichocereus pachanoi f. crestata variegata
T. pachanoi is native to the high mountains in Ecuador and Peru, it grows in the rainy regions of the Andes where it can withstand temperatures under 0° C and altitudes up to 2700 m. The crested form has garden origin (Nursery produced cultivar). The variegated form is a plant that has the stem with patches or stripes with two or more different colours, even distinct shades of green.
T. pachanoi f. crestata is a rare form of the most common Trichocereus Pachanoi. The stem is blue-green with some spots yellowish when young and dark green when ripe, it can reach up to 1 m in height and in diameter. The plant can take on different shapes from fan-shaped to brain-like. Areoles are whitish and can form up to 7 brownish spines. The large white flowers that form above the areoles, can reach up to 20 cm in diameter
This plant is very easy to grow. Soil should be a well-drained mixture of clay, sand and loam. Watering is very important for this species and should be done well: during the vegetative period you can water regularly 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. The cactus can withstand temperatures below -12 °C, but not if the soil is wet, so it is important to withholding water. The sun exposure recommended for this plant is the direct sun light, but on hot summer days, a light shade is advisable. In the winter, if you place the plant indoors you risk to etiolating the stem, due to the low level of light. The cactus is prone to fungal attacks, so you should be careful and not to keep the soil wet for too long. If you want a very fast and lush growth you can fertilize the plant during the growing season with the specifics fertilizers for cacti; stop fertilizing throughout the winter. T. pachanoi grows a lot every year if kept well fed and watered during the warmer months.
Propagation can be done by cutting or grafting. If you want to propagate the plant by cutting, you can cut the main crest in smaller pieces that can be rooted, otherwise grafting is also possible. To root the plant, it is recommended to keep the soil moist and to apply a little rooting hormone to the base of the cut.
The variegated form is a rare form of the more common Trichocereus Pachanoi and is highly valued because this particular form is a sporadic variation that occurs among a few individuals in the population. The variegation is due to the loss of the ability to produce chlorophyll in some tissues of the plant, so that this tissue is no longer green. Chlorophyll-free tissues are usually white or pale yellow coloured (due to carotenoid pigments) in contrast to the normal green tissue. Also the crested form is an unusual variation, so this plant is very rare and very difficult to find and your collection will be truly unique with it.
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