San Pedro Cactus: [Planting, Care, Substrate, Irrigation]

The San Pedro Cactus, with the scientific name Trichocereus pachanoi, genus Echinopsis and family Cactaceae, is a plant native to the Andean Cordillera, where it is capable of growing at an altitude of up to 3,000 meters above sea level.

It lives in Ecuador, Bolivia, Peru, Argentina and Chile, but the fame of its beautiful flower has moved it to very distant latitudes of the American continent.

It is not complicated to grow it in a pot, where it grows quickly until it reaches a maximum of 4 meters with the best care. This columnar type cactus adapts to everything, thanks to its superficial roots about 30 cm thick.

It also makes an excellent houseplant and can serve as a decorative plant. It also has medicinal uses.

Characteristics of the San Pedro cactus

Its trunk is green, but with various shades that go from the darkest to the lightest. Crossed by white halos along its ribs, it produces about 7 yellow or brown spines, which grow up to 2 cm.

In ideal conditions, it can reach up to 6 meters in height outdoors.

It also produces a dark green fruit about 5 cm long and the flower, truly beautiful, emits a delicate aroma, but the most curious thing is that it closes during the day and opens at night. They can measure up to 23 cm in length.

Three thousand years ago, this cactus was one of the epicenters of the religious activities of the American aboriginal ethnic groups, especially in Peru, where they used to cut the trunk to boil the slices obtained.

Already cold, the natives drank this concoction with hallucinogenic effects in rituals.

This happens due to the highly alkaline composition of the San Pedro cactus. It is a powerful hallucinogen. The causes of this property are the following substances: Tyramine, 3-Methoxytyramine, Hordinenine and mixolin.

But although it is a cactus that does not give much work, in places far from its original climate it can get sick until it rots, so these tips will go a long way to avoid it and let it live for many years in any corner of your home.

Did you know…?The San Pedro cactus has hallucinogenic properties.

It has been used for centuries by indigenous tribes. The name of San Pedro comes because the first settlers, when taking it, claimed to visit heaven and San Pedro.

Amazing, right?

Temperature: Where to plant a San Pedro cactus?

Originally, it lives in very hot areas of northern Peru and southern Ecuador. This means that exposing it to frigid temperatures or to winter frosts typical of Europe, cause blunt damage. Therefore, we do not advise you to allow a drop in temperature below 5°C.

It supports warm climates and mild winters, where care related to sunlight and irrigation will be fine-tuned.

The ideal is to keep it in temperatures between 20 to 30 ° C.

Light: What light needs do you have?

Receiving direct sunlight several hours a day will strengthen it, because it assimilates vitamins and nutrients that it needs so much to grow. So the location at home must take into account this preponderant factor of intense natural lighting.

Substrate and Fertilizer: How do we prepare the land?

The potted cactus does not register major difficulties because it has superficial roots. The important thing at this point is that the pot has a good drainage system, which is guaranteed with permeable soils.

A good way to plant it would be under a combination of peat and perlite substrate.

Transplantation should occur every two years. A larger pot will allow it to get stronger and grow even bigger. Do it in spring.

The use of fertilizers helps to strengthen its growth. They prefer fertilizers rich in potassium and phosphorous, but with low doses of nitrogen. A good NPK ratio for cacti is 4-7-7 or 2-7-7.

The best thing to do, if you want to avoid complications, is to ask your trusted store for a specific fertilizer for cacti.

In the event that you dare to grow it from seeds, you must create a mixture of soil rich in: 50% soil; 20% sand; another 20% pebbles and 10% perlite.

Plant the San Pedro cactus step by step

  1. It starts in early spring. Mix equal parts of sterile perlite, vermiculite, and peat moss. Use a mixing surface that has been cleaned with a 10 percent bleach solution to kill any plant pathogens.
  2. Clean a 4-inch plastic can with a 10 percent bleach solution. Fill it up to 1/4 of the pot from the rim of the pot with the potting mix. Tap the pot gently to settle the mixture so that there is about halfway between the top of the soil and the rim of the pot; the ground must be level.
  3. Put the filled pot in a shallow 6-inch pan of clean water. Wait until the water is soaked through and the top of the soil is wet. Remove the pot from the water and let it drain.
  4. Scatter the seeds as evenly as possible over the surface of the soil in the pot. Cover the soil with a single, loose layer of fine chicken sand to support the seedlings as they grow.
  5. Lightly mist the grit with the water bottle. Cover the pot with clear plastic wrap or a 4-inch-square sheet of acrylic plastic.

Irrigation: How and how often do we water?

All cacti store enough water, a property that allows them to withstand living in inhospitable places. Remember that it comes from dry environments. Changing his life will bring serious problems for his development.

Winter, as it is always more humid, forces it to be watered just once a month. Doing the opposite will saturate the plant with water until it rots and dies.

Otherwise, the San Pedro Cactus will be satisfied that it receives moderate amounts of water every 20 days.

But the most important thing about its maintenance is to never water the San Pedro Cactus in excess.

Repotting or moving to a larger pot is good to do every two years in the spring. This will stimulate progressive growth and good health.

The San Pedro cactus is a true gift that you can have in any room of your home. It only asks in exchange for a well-lit place and very controlled irrigation.

Dare to cultivate it and it will be your luxury guest for many years.

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