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Scientific: Echinopsis huascha (Synonyms: Cereus huascha, Helianthocereus huascha, Lobivia andalgalensis, Trichocereus grandiflorus, Trichocereus huascha)
Common: Red torch cactus
Family: Cactaceae
Origin: Argentina

Pronounciation: E-ki-NOP-sis ha-US-ka

Hardiness zones
USDA 9-11 (in semi arid and arid regions only)

Landscape Use: This is a spectacular accent cactus for xeric or desert gardens, container culture.

Form & Character: A more refined, smaller, cylindrical, columnar cactus, clumping, formal, structured.

Growth Habit: Evergreen, succulent perennial cactus, slow-growing to 3-feet tall with equal or greater spread, basal branches.

Foliage/Texture: Elongated, yet plump, light-green ribbed stems, 2- to 3-inches wide, 12 to 18 ribs per stem. Areoles on ribs are white or yellow, spines are various shades of brown and are clustered up to 10 per areole and are generally up to 2-inches long, some shorter; coarse texture.

Flowers & Fruits: Simply amazing!! Large orange, red or pink trumpet like flowers, multilayered petals, yellow star like style and distinct yellow anthers on extended filaments; fruits oblong, reddish when mature.

Seasonal Color: Spring to early summer flowers (typically April in Phoenix), sometimes during the fall of the year too. Individual flowers are nocturnal, opening in late evening and remaining open for only about 18 hours.

Temperature: Generally heat loving to 112oF, above this temperature and stems begin to show marked photo inhibition (stem yellowing), cold hardy to 15oF.

Light: Full sun, although filtered or shaded western sun is best.

Soil: Like all cacti, red torch cactus needs good soil drainage and prefers rocky soil low in organic matter content.

Watering: Needs only infrequent applcations of supplemental water during the hottest times of the Phoenix summer.

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

Propagation: Asexually by removal and rooting of basal stems 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: Red torch cactus is an outstanding, small, bunching and basally-branching cactus for both informal and formal desert gardens and intimate xeric landscape settings. It performs best with some supplemental water and protection from intense reflected summer sun (i.e. NO summer western exposurers). In Phoenix, javelina will munch on the stems (even though they are well protected by spines) during periods of extended dryness.

There are several notable clonal selections:

They're all incredibly cool!