The San Pedro cactus is arguably the most popular columnar cactus in desert gardening circles, Trichocereus pachanoi [try-koh-KER-ee-us puh-KAH-no-ee] gets its name from the hairy (tricho) floral tube. 

This Trichocereus (Echinopsis cactus) hails from the countries of Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, Ecuador, and Peru South America.

The San Pedro cactus is a fast-growing, multi-stemmed plant or small tree growing to measure approximately 5.9’ feet wide and up to 19.7’ feet tall. 

Flowering and Fragrance

San Pedro buds are pointed and produce a fluted whitish flower in July. 

They are night blooming and remain open, with the fragrant flowers measuring approximately 8.7” inches in diameter. 

Black or brown hairs and scales cover the fruit, which measures 1.9″ to 2.4” inches long and 1.2″ inches in diameter.

Light & Temperature

San Pedro thrives in direct sun after the first year, although seedlings may suffer sunburn in direct sunlight. In general, Trichocereus pachanoi grows well in light shade during hot summers.

Be sure to gradually introduce a plant overwintered indoors to direct light, as they may get sunburned if transferred directly.

If grown indoors plants will need addition lighting from grow lights.

Watering and Feeding

As with many succulents, this cactus will go dormant in colder months and should be given no water between October and April to reduce the risk of rot setting in. 

Seedlings may have a very diluted mix of fertilizer occasionally, but adults are capable of being fed an undiluted concentration.

If you do feed use a diluted liquid fertilizer and only fertilize during the growing season.

Soil & Transplanting

Trichocereus pachanoi requires fertile, slightly acidic potting soil with good drainage.

 A minimum amount of humus works best to reduce the risk of rot. 

Seedlings will benefit from a tiny amount of highly diluted fertilizer, although adults can handle larger quantities.

Seedlings may be safely transplanted to pots after one year.

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