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 Saguaro Cacti

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Procrasticus

Procrasticus

Number of posts : 4
Location : Texas
Registration date : 2010-06-03

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PostSubject: Saguaro Cacti   Saguaro Cacti EmptyThu Jun 03, 2010 4:59 am

First post here. Hi people!

I'm something of an enthusiast of the Southwest in North America (northern Mexico, Arizona, New Mexico, southern California, the western part of my state of Texas) and I couldn't help but notice an apparently complete lack of conversation concerning what appears to be, at least from over here in America, the most widely recognized cactus (perhaps apart from the prickly pear): The Saguaro. I was wondering recently if it had ever been brought to Australia, but Google searches didn't seem to yield anything. While I wouldn't want to encourage the introduction of another potentially invasive species to the continent, the thought of Saguaro forests stretching through the deserts of the outback, or at least growing in small gardens, struck me as rather interesting.

So, that said, is anyone here aware of any cultivation of the Saguaro cactus in Australia? And if so, are there any pictures available? : D

By the way, if the name is not enough, here's the Wikipedia article on it: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Saguaro
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Lachy
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Lachy

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PostSubject: Re: Saguaro Cacti   Saguaro Cacti EmptyThu Jun 03, 2010 9:49 am

G'day Procrascticus, and welcome aboard. Smile

To my knowledge, and despite its iconic status, the Saguaro is little-cultivated in Australia. I've seen seedlings offered for a sale a few times, but I've never bought one.

It's my understanding that it's quite slow growing and a bit fickle in cooler climates. Have you had much luck growing it?
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Procrasticus

Procrasticus

Number of posts : 4
Location : Texas
Registration date : 2010-06-03

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PostSubject: Re: Saguaro Cacti   Saguaro Cacti EmptyThu Jun 03, 2010 11:14 am

Well thanks for the welcome, Lachy. Smile

It's unfortunate to hear that Saguaros aren't in much cultivation, but at least they're available in Australia. It is very slow growing--it can take at least a decade to reach six inches (about 15 centimeters) and three decades before it's even two meters high. I've been growing several in a window for about ten years now, and none have grown more than five inches, I'd say.

Cold sensitivity is rather poor, according to a page from the Friends of Saguaro National Park, which says that the northernmost boundary of the species is near Tucson, Arizona, a city that (according to Wikipedia) is coldest in January with an average low that does not go below freezing. Apparently, the coldest temperature seen in that city was close to 10 degrees Fahrenheit, about -12C, so it stands to reason that's probably near the cold tolerance limit for fully grown Saguaro.

As I said, I've grown some in a window for a while now. They were doing very well a few years ago, but began to crowd each other out, I didn't get to them fast enough, and now I've only got about three of them left. I'm sure they'd be doing well if I'd just acted a little sooner, but I guess I kind of missed the boat there. Oh well.

If you happen to be interested in trying to grow some, it's really very easy; just put them in a window and water them a few times a month(but don't quote me on that). As long as you keep them at room temperature and prevent crowding, I can't imagine you'll have any difficulties. And if you can wait about fifty years, you'll get some lovely flowers!
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Lachy
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Lachy

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PostSubject: Re: Saguaro Cacti   Saguaro Cacti EmptyThu Jun 03, 2010 11:21 am

I think the combination of poor cold-tolerance and slow growth probably limit the appeal of a plant like the Saguaro in general cultivation here. By and large Australian gardeners haven't really embraced the idea of cacti as garden plants just yet, with most of their cultivation being limited to a few specialised arid garden plantings, and the plants that are generally chosen are fast growers like Cereus peruvianus, Trichocereus and Opuntia species. It's a bit of a shame really; I find the slow growers to be some of the more rewarding plants. That said, I must confess that when I planned my cacti garden one of the major factors I looked at was rapid growth and good cold/wet tolerance... which has led to me planting Cereus, Trichocereus and... Opuntia. Laughing
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Procrasticus

Procrasticus

Number of posts : 4
Location : Texas
Registration date : 2010-06-03

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PostSubject: Re: Saguaro Cacti   Saguaro Cacti EmptyThu Jun 03, 2010 1:50 pm

I must say, it's completely understandable to go with faster growing plants. After all, who seriously wants to wait several decades for a plant to flower, or even a couple of decades for it to just grow to a respectable size? The ones you've mentioned seem like they'd make a pretty interesting cactus garden, regardless. If my Google searches were correct, each of the three cacti you planted produces something edible. Have you gotten to eat any fruit yet, or maybe eaten the pads of the Opuntia? Weed as it may be in Australia, prickly pears make for some pretty good eating, I'm told.

As for growing Saguaro, how much of Australia do you think would really be a poor area for it to grow, aside from the tropical areas to the north and the more temperate areas from NSW to Tasmania and southern South Australia? I was under the impression most of the continent rarely saw temperatures very far below freezing. Surely it would do well somewhere like Perth?
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Lachy
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Lachy

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PostSubject: Re: Saguaro Cacti   Saguaro Cacti EmptyThu Jun 03, 2010 2:32 pm

I've eaten the fruit of Hylocereus and Opuntia ficus-indica. The Hylocereus fruit is awesome - although my plants are probably growing in too cold a climate to produce any fruit. Opuntia fruit are okay, although getting rid of the glochids is a pain, literally. Laughing

I'm eager to try the pads of the Opuntia; again getting rid of spines and glochids may be a small issue. I may try some young pads thinly sliced and stir-fried in burritos this summer.

As to the question about the climate: I suspect that the Saguaro would grow really well in Australia's more arid centre and possibly in the drier areas up north (everything seems to grow well up there although the high rainfall may pose issues). I live in the southeastern corner of Australia and I find that many species struggle to grow in the ground here due to our cold (albeit rarely freezing) winter with its rainfall. Growing in pots is a different story as they can be moved under cover; however growing a majestic species like the Saguaro really should be done in the ground in my opinion.
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TasV

TasV

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PostSubject: Re: Saguaro Cacti   Saguaro Cacti EmptyThu Jun 03, 2010 2:36 pm

should graft them to a cereus understock Wink lol
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Lachy
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Lachy

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PostSubject: Re: Saguaro Cacti   Saguaro Cacti EmptyThu Jun 03, 2010 3:00 pm

Shocked

Holy.... that's so obvious, I'd never even thought of it! I'm quite used to the idea of grafting slow-growing mexican miniatures, and I've even seen the odd Trich peruvianus grafted to Pereskiopsis. But grafting Saguaro... never even occurred to me.

So what would be a suitable stock? Trich pachanoi? Cereus peruvianus?

Has anyone ever attempted this?
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Procrasticus

Procrasticus

Number of posts : 4
Location : Texas
Registration date : 2010-06-03

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PostSubject: Re: Saguaro Cacti   Saguaro Cacti EmptyThu Jun 03, 2010 3:08 pm

Lachy - Yes, I'd be more than slightly worried about eating a cactus spine if I tried eating prickly pear pads or the "pear" itself. I actually haven't done it yet, though I think I will soon, and I hope it works out for you when you get to it. Concerning climate again, that's about what I figured, then, but it's too bad your specific weather is restricting. And you're right about potted Saguaros; it's like potting a tree. Not very practical at all if you want it to get to any real size, among other things.

TasV - I'd have never given any consideration to that, amateur as I am with this stuff, but it looks like you've really piqued Lachy's interest! To Google!

(Just so I'm clear though, what would the benefit be of grafting these two together?)
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Lachy
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Lachy

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PostSubject: Re: Saguaro Cacti   Saguaro Cacti EmptyThu Jun 03, 2010 3:47 pm

Well grafting can provide two benefits. One, it makes a plant somewhat more resistant to environmental factors like excessive rain. Trichocereus and Pereskiopsis are great for this; in fact perry is so water resistant that it can even be grown with its roots more or less constantly wet - I challenge any other cactus to survive this! Two, grafting a slow growing scion onto a fast growing stock will "pump up" the scion and increase its growth rate. Again, slow growers like Lophophora, Ariocarpus, Aztekium, etc are often grown this way so seedlings can grow into large plants within as little as a year. Similarly, this will also speed up flowering which can be particularly useful if seed production is a goal.
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TasV

TasV

Number of posts : 145
Location : NW Tasmania
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PostSubject: Re: Saguaro Cacti   Saguaro Cacti EmptyThu Jun 03, 2010 4:31 pm

Be the first to give it a go Lachy Smile

http://cgi.ebay.com.au/SAGUARO-CACTUS-Carnegiea-gigantea-20-seeds-/220605029338?cmd=ViewItem&pt=AU_Plants_Seeds_Bulbs&hash=item335d159bda
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Lachy
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Lachy

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PostSubject: Re: Saguaro Cacti   Saguaro Cacti EmptyThu Jun 03, 2010 4:55 pm

Nooo.... must resist.... foul temptress...! Laughing
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TasV

TasV

Number of posts : 145
Location : NW Tasmania
Registration date : 2010-03-12

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PostSubject: Re: Saguaro Cacti   Saguaro Cacti EmptyThu Jun 03, 2010 5:03 pm

Twisted Evil go on.... you know you want to Saguaro Cacti 547931

On another note... I've bought LOTS of seed (mostly Australian natives) off this seller. He's one of only two places on Ebay that I will buy seed. It is always EXCELLENT.


Last edited by TasV on Thu Jun 03, 2010 6:09 pm; edited 1 time in total
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lewis
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PostSubject: Re: Saguaro Cacti   Saguaro Cacti EmptyThu Jun 03, 2010 6:00 pm

Quote :
in fact perry is so water resistant that it can even be grown with its roots more or less constantly wet - I challenge any other cactus to survive this!
well the usual suspects would survive this
cereus, trichos etc

in fact the best Tricho peruvianus i have ever seen are in southern tasmania growing in heavy clay
where for most of the year it rains a lot
and in winter it is *extremely* wet and very cold (like -6 or something not uncommon).
raining practically every day
plant is effectively sitting in wet soil which definitely never dries out
im surprised they haven't naturalised.. actually they probably have

also just the other day i saw an awesome (!!) Tricho pachanoi
up in the Dandenongs near Sherbroke forest... better than any in Melbourne
man itd get cold there!
and it'd never dry out too
indeed probs constantly wet
probably similar conditions to above
absolutely loving it.
it had mosses and lichen growing on it!
kinda odd sight seeing cacti thriving underneath Mountain Ash (Eucalyptus regnans) and alongside a varied assortment of ferns.

these things will take (enjoy?) cold and wet... peri likes warm and wet.

plenty of cacti can be grown in water
all cacti can be grown hydroponically
in tropical climates i have seen images of 1m+ cereus growing in a clear glass vase of water with fertilizer added
and an ortegocactus growing for years in a bottle of water
and hydro ariocarpus and lophs (own root)

the above would be do able in summer even in cooler climates
water does not cause rot
infection causes rot

root pereskiopsis in water.. it is way faster than soil and unlikely to rot
i have seen the same done with hylo, harrisia, myrtillo etc

re: Saguaro grafting: sounds feasible.

get seeds
germinate
graft to peri
grow as big as possible
transfer to permanent stock.. cereus/scop/pachanoi
grow on in massive pot
or way better still in the ground.
Smile
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Lachy
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Lachy

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PostSubject: Re: Saguaro Cacti   Saguaro Cacti EmptyThu Jun 03, 2010 6:05 pm

Seriously, you've seen hylo, harrisia and myrts rooting in water? Shocked

They'd have to have some decent callus formed before trying that. Man, I'd be terrified of rotting them. And hydro ariocarpus? Whoa...

Any pics of the peruvians and pachs in cold climates? The one in the dandenongs has piqued my interest.
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lewis
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PostSubject: Re: Saguaro Cacti   Saguaro Cacti EmptyThu Jun 03, 2010 6:20 pm

hey Lachy,

unfortunately the trichos were an unexpected encounters and i did not have my camera on me at the time.
here are some peruvianus cuttings i acquired off said plant:
http://forum.auscactiforum.net/cactus-succulent-identification-f16/tassie-tricho-id-t601.htm

hydro ario:
http://2.bp.blogspot.com/_fRUJWJsMc_M/SWa4r1vu4vI/AAAAAAAAAXQ/HYQm-i0HoUk/s1600-h/213003AA.JPG

ortego in water:
http://www.bcss.org.uk/forum/read.php?1,116343
(scroll down)

oh and how could I forget.. that's right years ago i saw an Opuntia growing on the side of a river!

near the yarra.. i think it was somewhere near warrandyte.

it was growing, i'm serious, right out of the side of the bank, completely submerged to the depth of half the "trunk" by running water.. just like a willow tree.
It was thriving. Opuntia aquatica.
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Lachy
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Lachy

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PostSubject: Re: Saguaro Cacti   Saguaro Cacti EmptyThu Jun 03, 2010 6:58 pm

Wow, that's impressive. This all seems to throw a spanner in the works when it comes to the conventional wisdom that these plants supposedly don't like having wet feet.
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cryptocarpa
Calm and Collected
cryptocarpa

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PostSubject: Re: Saguaro Cacti   Saguaro Cacti EmptyThu Jun 03, 2010 9:45 pm

Well just to chuck two cents more in, there is a O.ficus-indica near me that grows 30 cm above the water line of a tidal creek so that is salty water its sitting in year round. It is ancient and fruits well!
And regarding grafting anyone: I have the Carnegia if you have the Trich.... No hang on that doesn't sound great..... but seriously the Carnegia are about an inch diameter perfect for this spring grafting season approaching anyone interested? It would make for a good long term trial I think.
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Lachy
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Lachy

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PostSubject: Re: Saguaro Cacti   Saguaro Cacti EmptyThu Jun 03, 2010 9:51 pm

What size and type of stock would you recommend for a Carnegia of that size? I might have some sitting around...
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cryptocarpa
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cryptocarpa

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PostSubject: Re: Saguaro Cacti   Saguaro Cacti EmptyThu Jun 03, 2010 10:05 pm

Just the usual, long lived cold, wet tolerant fast growing. Probably something that doesn't offset too much and can get to a good size. You may want a stock that is a bit wider like T.pasacana but it would be worth a try with just about anything. Who knows the results could be really worth while as the Carnegia are truly aristocratic plants.
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Lachy
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Lachy

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PostSubject: Re: Saguaro Cacti   Saguaro Cacti EmptyThu Jun 03, 2010 10:13 pm

I've got some pach x scop (I think... Bunnings plants are a bit iffy). I'm going to see if I can find pasacana, although I don't recall ever seeing any for sale.
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Navajoa
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PostSubject: Re: Saguaro Cacti   Saguaro Cacti EmptyThu Jun 03, 2010 10:19 pm

Darn it, we need a Police emoticon ! As in the Cactus Name Police - it's Carnegiea not Carnegia - everyone seems to leave out that poor second e ! Including Koehres ! Saguaro Cacti Kopfschuettel Saguaro Cacti Lol

Talking of plants in water etc, somewhere on the net (and I couldn't find it again just now) there is a neat habitat photo of Mammillaria theresae plants in a frozen puddle ! Not something I'd be willing to try with my plants!

Back on subject I have a Saguaro that's about 3-4 inches tall and even at that size it's just so sloooow...

As for grafting it, well some people are just graft crazy I reckon Saguaro Cacti Icon_razz , but who knows, maybe if you push the seedling hard enough you'll end up with something like this -

Saguaro Cacti 4666253944_8b5a45a4e0


Saguaro Cacti 4665627563_2db787d1f2
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TasV

TasV

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PostSubject: Re: Saguaro Cacti   Saguaro Cacti EmptyThu Jun 03, 2010 11:03 pm

Yeah... the person who grafted that one Nav needs their head read. It looks ridiculous and the graft union is beginning to break! Shody work indeed lol! Or maybe someone has already tried to severe it to take home and graft onto a big grusonii understock or something Twisted Evil
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Lachy
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Lachy

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PostSubject: Re: Saguaro Cacti   Saguaro Cacti EmptyFri Jun 04, 2010 11:10 am

I reckon it's just become sentient and is saying hello to the world. Either that or it's trying to summon the mothership so the giant cactus-aliens can begin to take over the world! Twisted Evil
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Hellonasty
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Hellonasty

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PostSubject: Re: Saguaro Cacti   Saguaro Cacti EmptyFri Jun 04, 2010 1:33 pm

Nice pics Navajoa and I think this is the photo you are talking about. Half way down on the right.

http://www.cactuspedia.info/schede/MAMMILLARIA/Mammillaria_theresae/Mammillaria_theresae/Mammillaria_theresae.htm


Oh and I would be very interested in grafting a seedling Cryptocarpa I have plenty of fat stocks Smile

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