Cleistocactus Strausii | Beautiful Wooly Columnar |

If you are wondering about adding a cute looking cacti to your collection, I recommend choosing Cleistocactus strausii. 

They go by the common name silver torch cactus. The silver torch cactus has their own unique looks, and it is a perennial cactus. 

They are quite renowned for their wooly white appearance. In fact, the fine needles and the bristles  which usually cover the stem gives them the wooly  white appearance. They would make a great addition for your succulent cactus due to that special feature.

Cleistocactus Strausii

Cleistocactus strausii are endemic plants to Bolivia and to Argentina and they usually grow in the hot and drought conditions there. 

Cleistocactus strausii usually grow at altitudes more than 10,000 feet. Some of the other common names apart from silver torch cactus are wooly torch, snow poles etc.

You could easily grow the them and all you need to ensure is that you do not over water the plants. 

They need the typical growing care conditions just like the rest of other cactus and succulents require.in fact Cleistocactus strausii is the most famous species of the Cleistocactus genus. 

If you want to find out more on how to grow these beauties well, it would be worth reading this article.

How do I identify Cleistocactus strausii?

Cleistocactus strausii usually come up with stems in green. Further they will carry short white spines and that feature will give them a silvery gray appearance to the plants. 

The main stem usually branches at the base. Besides that, they will further have several upright growing stems which will arise from the soil. 

However, they will form closer to the parent stem. They would rise to a maximum height of 10 feet ( 3m) at maturity. Further, they would be about 2.5 inches ( 6 inches ) in diameter when they fully grow.

Apart from these characteristics, they produces flowers as well. They will be narrow and tubular in shape. 

Those blooms would usually be about 3-4 inches ( 8-10cm) in length. Moreover, you could spot them in red or burgundy colors. 

However, when they bloom, they will not fully open. Besides, those flowers would stay alive only for four or five days. Cleistocactus strausii will bloom only if they are older for like fifteen years.

Growth rate

Cleistocactus strausii usually grow at a faster  rate.

Cleistocactus Strausii

One look care guide

Botanical NameCleistocactus strausii
Common NameSilver torch cactus
Wooly torch 
Snow pole
Plant TypeCactus
Mature SizeMaximum height of 10 feet (3m)
Maximum width of 2.5 inches (6 cm)
Sun ExposureFull sunlight to filtered sunlight
Soil TypeWell draining
Soil pHNeutral
Bloom TimeSummer
Flower ColorPink
Hardiness ZonesUSDA hardiness zone 9-10
Native AreaBolivia and to Argentina
ToxicityToxic
Average price 7 $ 

How do you take care of Cleistocactus strausii?

Light Requirement 

Cleistocactus strausii have strong demand when it comes to sunlight as they need plenty of sunlight. To be precise they would want full sunlight for about eight hours

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Having said that, they can survive well with full sunlight for about five to six hours also. When you grow them as houseplants,you need to be mindful of the spot you plant them as they need to fulfill their light requirement especially when they grow indoors.

If you grow them indoors for some time and wish to bring them outdoors, you need to ensure that you do it in a manner where you do not expose the plants to full sunlight abruptly. If you accidentally do so, it would scorch the plants.

Temperature and humidity

As you may understand, you need to provide them with a warm climate as they are used to growing in drought conditions when they grow in the wild. 

They can thrive well with moderate room temperature levels when they are actively growing.

However, make sure that you do not expose them to higher temperatures above 50-59 degrees Fahrenheit (10-15 degrees Celsius ) when they are dormant. 

If you grow them exposed to higher temperatures but with lack of sunlight, they will tend to grow thin and leggy. 

On the other hand, the lowest temperature they can stand would be around -6.7 degrees Celsius ( 20 degrees Fahrenheit). So, if you are someone who goes through cold climates regularly, best is to grow them indoors during winter.

Is it cold hardy?

Cleistocactus strausii are somewhat cold hardy plants as they can handle low temperatures such as -6.7 degrees Celsius ( 20 degrees Fahrenheit).

Zone

You could grow them as outdoor plants if you live in USDA hardiness zone 9-10.

Watering Requirement 

Cleistocactus strausii may also perish due to over water just like the cactus and the succulents do. Literally they may go through root rot if you expose them to over-watering which could be fatal. 

You need to water the them just the way you water the other cactus. If you are a succulent grower, you would know the right way of watering and you need to practice the same way when watering them. Literally you need to ensure that you do not create any waterlogged condition in the pot.

However, keep in mind that young Silver torch cactus want more water when you compare them with adult plants. 

If you are hesitant whether you will end up over watering the plants, you would want to practice the dry and soak method where you allow the top layer of the soil to dry between two watering sessions. 

You can suspend watering them when they are in the dormancy.

Literally when they are in autumn and in winter, you can cut back on watering them. Having said that you could consider watering them lightly if you spot the plants are shriveled and bone dry. 

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All you need to keep in mind is to not keep any excess water in the container and allow them to drain instead. Give it some time for the plants to absorb sufficient water and then allow them to drain away from the pot.

Cleistocactus Strausii

Soil Requirement Type / pH.

Best is to use a gritty soil mix to grow these plants as they have excellent drainage

You may use a cactus soil mix for this purpose or else you could amend a regular soil mix by adding elements such as sand, fine pumice etc. 

When you add them, you could add them at a ratio of 2:1 with a regular potting mix. Once you add these elements, it will provide a good texture as well as excellent drainage. 

If you live in a desert climate, you could grow them right in the earth soil and as outdoor plants all year long.  

Pot size Potting and Repotting

Best is to provide a pot which has ample drainage to grow the Cleistocactus strausii so that it will allow the excess water to move through freely without retaining them within the pot. 

Further I recommend growing them in a porous material pot so that it would also ensure that excess moisture will evaporate faster.  

When it comes to repotting, they would usually prefer to grow while being pot bound, So, what suits them the best would be to repot the plants once every two to three years. 

However, when repotting, you need to ensure that you always select pots which are at least 2 inches larger than your initial pot.  That will give enough room for the cactus to grow freely.

Where to Plant 

You need to plant them in a spot where they can fulfill their sunlight requirement as they have a strong demand when it comes to sunlight. On the other hand, when you grow them indoors, you need to choose a bright sunny windowsill.

Fertilizer and time of year

Silver torch cactus can grow well regardless of whether you apply fertilizers for them or not. Having said that , if you feed them, it would  help the plants to grow vigorously and healthily. 

Cleistocactus strausii can grow well regardless of whether you apply fertilizers for them or not. Having said that , if you feed them, it would  help the plants to grow vigorously and healthily. 

Further, it would be beneficial in producing attractive flowers as well. I recommend using a slow fertilizer for this purpose. Further ensure that you apply these fertilizers during their active growing season only.  

Cleistocactus Strausii

Flower

As aforesaid, they need to be at least fifteen years old to produce flowers. When they blossom, they will produce blooms in a pink color

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Further they would be tubular in shape and narrow too. Their flowering season would fall in summer, and they would be about three feet when they produce flowers.

Dormancy

Cleistocactus strausii are dormant winter plants.

Toxicity

Cleistocactus strausii are poisonous for both humans and for animals if you ingest them. Besides, it will create injuries if you get in contact with their spines. Hence best is to keep them out of the pets and the kids.

Common bugs and illnesses

Pests such as mealybugs and spider mites may invade them if they find favorable conditions for them. 

These are the commonly spotted pests which could attack them. In addition to that scale insects would also tend to infest these plants. 

So ,if you ever come across any, you can use medical alcohol and overcome them. Moreover, you can use a moistened cotton wool and wipe the stem off also. That will help you to overcome these issues. 

On the other hand, if you supplied water in excess for them, it would lead to root rot. If the root rot spreads on a severe level, it is very unlikely that you could rescue your plants. 

In that circumstance , it would be best to obtain the healthy plant parts and then use them for propagation. Other than that, you could consider repotting them if the root rot has spread to a minor level. 

Special Care tips

Cleistocactus strausii are a versatile hardy set of plants. Literally they would not require any special attention from you. All you need to assure is that you look after them well and provide the right growing conditions.

How to propagate Cleistocactus strausii?

You could propagate Cleistocactus strausii using their cuttings. Many people find this option very easy when propagating the silver torch cactus. 

You simply have to cut a small branch of the mature plant and then grow it in a well-draining soil mix. Keep in mind that you should use all disinfected tools when doing this. 

It will start to develop the roots within a few weeks’ time. However, ensure that you allow the cuttings to wither and develop callousness before you plant them in the separate containers.  

You may use the seeds propagation method also to propagate them. Simply you have to sow the seeds in the soil mix. 

However, when you place them, do not  bury them. instead place them slightly below  the surface. Ensure that you provide a humid microclimate during this process. That will encourage germination as well as seedling growth.

Cleistocactus strausii benefits 

Cleistocactus strausii would be handy to use as landscape plants. Besides, you can grow them as container plants also

If you are looking to add some diversity in your container gardening, they would suit your requirement the best. Besides they would attract the pollinators such as the hummingbirds and the butterflies.

Conclusion

Cleistocactus strausii are such great unique looking plants which would be perfect additions for indoor as well as for the outdoor environment.

Further anybody can grow these plants despite how experienced or inexperienced you are in gardening too. if you fulfill the main growing necessities they would grow to their best potential.

Credit to : Leaf Me Alone Plants
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About author

I’m Dr. Chamika, As a hobby love talking about plants and showing you that taking care of indoor plants. My website is knowledge I’ve learned over the years and continue to learn about growing succulents. If you’re a succulent lover, then you have come to the correct place.

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