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Plants We Love: Old man cactus

Old man cactus (Cephalocereus senilis) is a friendly cactus, trading sharp spines for a dense coat of white hair. At the holiday season it may even remind you a little bit of a certain jolly old elf

Plant name: Old man cactus, Old man of Mexico, Cabeza de viejo

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Botanical name:Cephalocereus senilis

Recommended Temperature Zone: USDA 9-10

Frost Tolerance: Hardy to 14°F (-10°C) for short periods

Minimum Avg. Temperature: 50°F (10°C)

Heat Tolerance: Prefers some afternoon shade in the low deserts

Sun Exposure: Full sun

Origin: Mexico (Hidalgo, Guanajuato)

Growth Habits: Slow growing to a large column, seldom ramified, 45 feet tall (11 m) by 18 inches (45 cm) in diameter; 12 to 30 ribs; 1 to 5 central spines, up to 2 inches long (5 cm); 20 to 30 hair-like laterals.

Watering Needs: Little to moderate water in summer, almost none in winter, very rot prone particularly when young, needs good drainage

Propagation: Seeds, cuttings

Information courtesy of Image courtesy of United States Botanic Garden.