Totem Pole Cactus – Fat Form Cuttings – A succulent rarity from Mexico
A slow growing, but undemanding ornamental club-shaped cactus, Its technical name is Pachycereus schottii monstrose Forma Obesa. We simply call it the Fat Form for short. the Totem Pole Cactus Fat Form is more compact than the Mykleyanus or Skinny Form. It has irregularly-shaped green stems with odd-shaped tubercules and few areoles. Individual stems branch mostly at the base, but occasionally branch higher along the mostly vertical stems as well. With age the surface develops a silvery sheen. Mature stems reach 6 inches in diameter. Much sought after
This naturally occurring hybrid rarely, if ever, flowers and is sterile. Totem Pole Cactus-Fat Form occurs in a limited range in Baja Mexico where it reproduces by stem dispersal due to wind breakage and floods. This plant prefers rich porous soil and can survive drought once a large colony of stems is established. It will tolerate temperatures slightly below freezing if the growing tips are protected.
Forms of Totem Pole Cactus That we Know About
Here are the three forms of the Totem pole Cactus we know about. (There could be others!).
- Skinny Form (Forma Mieckleyanus), skinny and tall.
- Fat Form (Forma Obesa), fat and club shaped.
- Spiral Form (Forma Spiralis), spiral growth.
The regular Pachycereus schottii is native to the desert regions of mainland Mexico and the Baja California peninsula of Mexico. Some small populations also occur in southern Arizona.
An interesting specimen cactus which works well in containers or larger planters that accent it, and is interesting when lighted from below at night. Makes a great drought tolerant addition to any gardens.
Take cuttings of healthy shoots of Totem Pole Cactus-Fat Form in spring and summer. If cut at other times of the year be extra care to keep them warm and dry. Cut with a clean sharp knife or saw. Leave the totem pole cactus fat form cutting in a warm dry place until a callus forms over the wound. Once callused, the cutting should be potted up with cactus potting mix topped with a surface layer of coarse grit in which to place the cut end. This prevents the cutting end from becoming too wet and allows the roots to penetrate the rich compost underneath in about 12-18 months.
Names and Synonyms: Lophocereus schottii var. monstrosus, Cereus schottii var. monstrosus, Pilocereus schottii var. monstrosus, Lophocereus schottii f. monstrose (there are many more synonyms)
Common Names: Fat Totem Pole Cactus
Origin: Lophocereus schottii is native to the desert regions of mainland Mexico and the Baja California peninsula of Mexico. Some small populations also occur in southern Arizona. The monstrose form is restricted to a small area North East of El Arco, about halfway down the Baja peninsula.
Size Label: Unrooted Cutiings
Cold Tolerance: 20 to 25°F, -6.7 to -3.9°C
Heat Tolerance: Extreme heat tolerance
Light Requirement: Full sun
Water needs: Very drought tolerant
Uses: An interesting specimen cactus which works well in containers or larger planters that accent it. Interesting when lighted from below at night. It can also be planted in cactus and rock gardens in warmer areas.
Propagation: Take cuttings of healthy shoots in spring and summer by cutting the stem with a sterile knife just above a bud or shoot. Leave the cutting in a warm dry place until a callus forms over the wound. Once callused, the cutting should be potted up with cactus potting mix topped with a surface layer of coarse grit in which to place the cut end. This prevents the cut end from becoming too wet and allows the roots to penetrate the rich compost underneath in about 2 to 3 weeks.
Problems: Requires excellent drainage to prevent rot.
There is a minimum purchase of any 4 plants for online orders. All plants shipped bare root. Other sizes may be available for pick up from our growing grounds in Fallbrook, CA. For more information, give us a call at 760-990-4762.
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