Return to Library Home Page

Scientific: Echinopsis candicans (Synonym: Trichocereus candicans)
Common: Argentine giant
Family: Cactaceae
Origin: Native to the biologically diverse Monte Desert of northern and western Argentina.

Pronounciation: E-ki-NOP-sis can-DYE-cans

Hardiness zones
12-13, 18-24
USDA 9-11 (in semi arid and arid regions only)

Landscape Use: Functional textural and flower accent cactus for more formal desert display gardens, container culture.

Form & Character: A refined cylindrical cactus, elegant, formal, spreading to sprawling, xeric.

Growth Habit: Perennial, evergreen succuluent, slow growing somewhat upright cactus with a tendency to have a more spreading, sprawling, shrubby habit as stems elongate. Mostly basally branching, cylindrical stems that typically extend upward from the base to 3 feet tall, each stem is 2 inches wide. Mature specimens can spread to become as much as 6 to 10 feet wide.

Foliage/Texture: Areoles and spines are golden yellow, spines clustered up to 12 per areole, radial spines generally less than one inch long, central spine up to 2 inches long, cylindrical stems are ridged, 12 to 14 ribs per stem; stems range from lighter to medium green in color; coarse texture.

Flowers & Fruits: Beautiful short-lived, large nocturnal flowers ranging in colors from mostly white to pink, yellow and red, sepals mostly red; fruits globose, inconspicuous.

Seasonal Color: Flowers in spring (noctural into next midday).

Temperature: Heat loving to 115oF, cold hardy to 20oF. Some resources report that Argentine giant cactus is cold tolerance to 10oF, but this is doubtful.

Light: Partial to full sun.

Soil: Like all cactus, golden torch cactus needs good soil drainage.

Watering: Generally no supplemental water is necessary.

Pruning: Only occasionally every few years remove any elongated cylindrical stems that slough off and trail onto the ground.

Propagation: Easy by rooting stem segments. Allow stem segments to callus for several weeks before directly sticking into the soil.

Disease and Pests: Root rot in poorly drained soil.

Additional comments: This is another outstanding small columnar cactus for formal Phoenix desert gardens.