What is an “Old Man Cactus?”
An old man cactus, also known as Cephalocereus senilis or the “silver hair” cactus, is a species of cactus that is native to Mexico. It is known for its distinctive white “hair” or “wool” that covers its stem, giving it a resemblance to an old man with a white beard. The cactus can grow up to 20 feet tall and has small, white flowers that bloom at night. It is a slow-growing plant and is popular as a ornamental plant in desert gardens.
How To Tend:
- Light: Old man cacti prefer full sun but can tolerate some shade.
- Water: They are drought-tolerant and can go long periods without water, but they do need occasional watering. Be sure to wait until the soil is dry before watering again, and then give it a good soak.
- Soil: Use a well-draining cactus or succulent potting mix.
- Fertilizer: Old man cactus can be fertilized every 4-6 weeks during the growing season. Use a balanced, water-soluble fertilizer.
- Pruning: These cacti can become quite tall, so prune them to maintain a desired size. Cut off any dead or damaged parts.
- Protection: Old man cacti are cold-sensitive, so it is best to protect them from frost and freezing temperatures.
- Pest and Diseases: Old man cacti are generally pest and disease-free, but be on the lookout for mealybugs, scale, and spider mites.
It is important to note that old man cactus is a slow-growing plant, so it may take a long time to see any significant changes.