Old-Man Cactus

Cephalocereus senilis

Old Man's Head

profile iconCephalocereus senilis 9
by Montgomery (CC BY 3.0)
1 of 13
profile iconCephalocereus senilis 9
by Montgomery (CC BY 3.0)
1 of 13
This species is commonly known as Old Man Cactus, after the shaggy coating of long silvery-white hairs all over the plant surface. This is said to resemble unkept grey hair on an elderly gentleman and, with age, plants tend to lose this covering. These hairs are actually modified spines, an adaptation to protect the plant from adverse weather conditions such as harsh sunlight or frost. It is a columnar, clump-forming perennial cactus that grows on average 5–15 m, usually unbranched and blue-green in colour. This species produces large, nocturnal pink flowers, but it may take up to 20 years before a plant reaches flowering maturity.
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Planning

Difficulty

Moderate

Flowering time

Summer

Propagation

Special features

Attractive leaves

Special features

Origin

Central Mexico

Environment

Light

Full Sun

Soil moisture

Dry

Soil type

Compost

Soil PH preference

Alkaline

Frost hardiness

Tender

Personality

Family

Cactaceae

Flower colour

Pink

Scent

None

Related Problems

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Knowledge and advice

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