I’ve planted and grown many plants over the years, but I can remember having only two cactus plants.
One was a gift from my friend, David, who gave me specific instructions to put it in my office, by the computer. It died about 3 years later. I am sentimental with gifts, and feel bad that I killed a slow-growing, easy-care plant, that can live for over 100 years.
And then there’s the second cactus, a saguaro (Carnegiea gigantea)…which, amazingly, I still have. This cactus is special to me — even if once in a while I get a poked by its needles — because my daughter planted it from seed.
Years ago, I went to Phoenix for a business trip. At the Phoenix airport, I purchased a package of saguaro seeds as part of my pasalubong items for my daughter.
Saguaro cactus are found in the Sonoran Desert of Arizona and Mexico. It can grow up to 70 feet, and live for over 150 years.
My cactus is about 17 years old, and just over 14 inches tall. Talk about slow-growing! At this stage (without “arms”) it is called a spear. It will eventually grow an arm, after about 75 years.
So, if I manage not to kill it, and if my grandsons want it, they may see it grow an arm in their lifetime.
When I gave the seed packet to my daughter, she placed the seeds in a little pot with dirt, watered it, and we quickly had about 20 little seedlings. One particular seedling took charge of the space, and all the other seedlings died. We did not pick a particular seedling, nor thin them out. It’s as if they all knew which seedling was boss, and simply died to allow the boss seed to grow in the space.
I’ve re-potted the saguaro just once. Honestly, I am surprised that it is still alive. It does have a brownish area in the bottom, so I don’t know how much longer I will have it. Maybe it is time for a bigger container.
As much as I love plants, I am not exactly crazy about cactus.
Maybe it’s the needles, and the poke factor. I don’t like plants that can puncture my skin and make me bleed. I do make an exception for old fashioned roses, since in return, I get to inhale one of the loveliest scents in existence.
The Jardines garden has an abundance of cactus, some of which I photographed using my phone camera. Many were sporting beautiful flowers. Below are a few of the shots…
Learning more about my saguaro has given me a whole new appreciation for cacti, and may get me to bring another in our home. For now though, I must first get some heavy-duty gloves and re-pot the one I have.
Which cactus camp are you in….crazy for cactus? Or…keep those spiky plants away from me!
And if you are curious to know how long cactus seeds keep (or are viable)…check out the comment section on Lolako.com’s “Contact” page, here. Can you guess?
- over 20 years?
- over 200 years?
- or for over 2,000 years?