How to Care for a Silver Torch Cactus

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Hailing from Ecuador and Argentina, the Silver Torch Cactus (Cleistocactus strausii) is known for a single, fuzzy white spine. Thriving in windowsills, greenhouses and even outdoors, the Silver Torch requires plenty of space to spread its roots. When it reaches 18 inches in height, watch for a beautiful show as peach-colored blooms appear during spring and summer months. This fast-growing cactus can eventually reach 8 feet in column height. Provide generous watering, plenty of sunlight and regular fertilizing, while keeping the mealybugs away, and your Silver Torch Cactus will be a happy plant.

Things You'll Need

  • Fertilizer, diluted and low in nitrogen
  • Moth balls
  • Insecticide
  • Water abundantly. Other than a brief dry patch necessary during winter months, water your Silver Torch Cactus generously the remainder of the year, particularly in the hot summer months. Winter watering can lead to root rot.

  • Fertilize regularly with a diluted fertilizer low in nitrogen. Apply every two weeks toward the end of spring and throughout the summer months.

  • Expose to sunlight. The Silver Torch Cactus responds to full sun, as well as light shade. Keep your cactus should in temperatures 45 degrees Fahrenheit or above. Although the Silver Torch can tolerate colder weather for brief periods, tips are susceptible to damage when temperatures drop below 23 degrees.

  • Inspect for mealybugs. Check your Silver Torch Cactus for these pests that have a gray and white scaly appearance and secrete a powder and wax-like mealy substance. You can pick them off or spray off with warm water if there are not many on your Silver Torch Cactus. Place moth balls in your potting mix to keep mealybugs away. If infestation is severe, treat with an insecticide containing malathion or a organophosphorus compound.

Tips & Warnings

  • If your Silver Torch Cactus is in a plastic planter, do not put moth balls in the potting mix.
  • Before applying insecticide on your Silver Torch Cactus, provide a generous amount of water to the soil.

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References

  • Photo Credit Hemera Technologies/AbleStock.com/Getty Images
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