Trichocereus pachanoi, although native to South America, can be found growing wild across many countries around the world. They are also a popular choice for hobbyists due to their hardy nature, this is thanks to there natural habitat high up in the tropical sub region of the Andean mountains. Because of this, they can take up a lot more water than most cacti as well as happily tolerate low temperatures as low as 0’C to -5’C for weeks at a time provided they are kept dry, they have been known to withstand temperatures as low as -10’C.
For UK climate, this is obviously a big advantage with our winters.
Trichocereus, like most cacti need free draining soil, this is because they have evolved in the mountains where the rain water drains through the ground and travels downwards towards the lowlands. if the soil is too boggy and holds water for too long, it can cause the roots to rot and 9 times out of 10, killing the cactus.
TRICHOCEREUS Substrate Mix (4/2/4)
- 4 parts organic (John Innes No.2 – Sieved to remove any wood, chunky bits or anything other than the soil). Personally, I use 50% compost with 50% worm castings.
- 2 parts Sharp Sand – Horticultural washed sharp sand
- 4 parts grit: Horticultural grit, Pumice, Akadama, Molar or Crushed Lava Rock. Whatever works for you.
Water your Pachanoi from April to October; When watering your plant, late after noon is best as the cacti take up water at night, once to twice a week during the growing season is plenty, always make sure the the top inch of soil is dry before each watering. During winter, less is better.
Depending on where your plant is being kept, depends on how much to feed. But, as a rule of thumb, don’t water during the winter months as you can easily cause root rot as the plant is not actively growing.
You can feed your plants once a week with fertilisers, using low nitrogen at the start and end of the season switching to a balance 20-20-20 NPK feed during the peak of summer.
Please only fertilise while the plants are in active growth stage (April to October).
A good rule of thumb is to use Nitrogen (Tomato feed) only in the beginning of the season to avoid etiolated growth. Seaweed on the other hand, go nuts.
For best growth, regularly uproot your plant, check once a year to see if the plant needs more space to grow. Mature plants can be put into the ground all year round provided they’re in free draining soil.
The plant will need full sun during the growing season ideally for best growth they should be kept in a greenhouse, if kept indoors ideally it will need to be in a south facing window with good airflow.
Growing season and Dormancy:
These plants do best with a dormancy period, stop watering in October when nights drop to 10’C or below, as the temperature drops and the nights draw shorter, the plants go into hibernation to survive the unfavorable conditions that winter has to offer.. make sure that once the plant is dormant they are kept at low temperature, dry and with good airflow.. if kept indoors, make sure the plant is kept in a cool place with good airflow.. once temperatures and days begin to get longer, you can resume watering again.
The growing season for these plants are between late April and mid-late October: during this time they need full light and weekly watering.
Late October to late April, during this time, stop watering and keep in a cold place with airflow.
Trichocereus, in general, are very hardy plants and are well suited for UK climate. The biggest thing is to make sure your substrate is gritty and well draining and watering only during the active growing months.