Growing San Pedro Cactus
San Pedro cactus, scientifically known as echinopsis pachanoi or trichocereus pachanoi, is a plant of the cactaceae family native to the Andes that has great medicinal, economic and cultural importance. Growing San Pedro cactus is quite simple. To do it successfully, it is necessary to know a little more about the habitat and ideal growing conditions of this cactus to recreate them and give it the right habitat to develop.
It is native to Peru, Bolivia and Ecuador. Since this cactus comes from the Andean mountain ranges, it grows at altitudes between 1000 and 3000 meters, so it adapts to very low temperatures of between 3 and 5 degrees Celsius but does not tolerate frost. This cactus has been used in a traditional way to create natural medicines for more than 3000 years.
Growing San Pedro Cactus
Growing San Pedro cactus is an easy job. This plant is often used as an ornamental plant, among other uses, so it is commonly grown for decorative purposes at home. Although this cactus is fast growing and can grow more than 6 meters, it can survive all its life in pots so it is ideal for growing and easy to take care of.
Climate is another important factor to consider. The San Pedro cactus withstands high temperatures as well as very low temperatures but it does not withstand frost. It is recommended, especially if you are thinking of growing San Pedro cactus outdoors, that the temperature should not be lower than 3 degrees Celsius. As this cactus lives in hot areas of Peru and Ecuador, it can withstand high temperatures and develops very well at temperatures between 20 and 30 degrees Celsius.
Multiplication of the San Pedro Cactus
There are two ways to multiply San Pedro cactus: by seeds and by cuttings.
Multiplication by Seeds
The San Pedro cactus multiplies through seeds although its germination rate is not very high, approximately 25%. The seeds are placed in sandy soil with perlite plus peat, fine sand and easy aeration. The seeds are introduced at a shallow depth and watered lightly. Cover them with a transparent film and wait for them to germinate, which will happen in 2 to 5 weeks.
Multiplication by Cuttings
It multiplies better by cuttings than by seeds. To do this, cut a piece of the cactus about 8 centimeters long and prepare the substrate. Then, place the piece of cactus in a dry place so that it heals properly. The piece of cactus is placed with the substrate in a pot and kept at a temperature higher than 22 degrees Celsius. It is advisable to make the cuttings in months when the temperature is around 25 degrees Celsius.
During the following two weeks it should not be watered, then it should be watered lightly and in a few days the cactus will have taken root and will be ready to be transplanted to a definitive substrate. This substrate must be rich in organic matter and with a proper drainage system. After about 10 days approximately the first buds will start to appear.
Watering the San Pedro Cactus
The San Pedro cactus does not require much watering and can suffer from fungus if it is watered excessively. It is advisable to interrupt watering in winter or water it no more than once a month. In hotter seasons such as summer, watering frequency can be increased to once a week.