Cleistocactus winteri, or Golden Rat Tail, is native from Argentina to Uruguay. It is an attractive cactus with golden spines. They will reach about 3 feet (1 m) long by 2.5 inches (6 cm) in diameter. Their size is easy to control in pots and they make an attractive hanging basket subject.
Blooming Time: In spring and summer, there are abundant salmon-pink flowers. Individual flowers are 2.5 inches (6 cm) across and very showy.
Culture: Cleistocactus winteri are of easy culture, which makes them good cacti for beginners. All they require is full sun to light shade and a well drained soil mix. We use a soil mix that consists of 2 parts course sand to 1 part loam. The plants are watered and allowed to dry fully before watering again. The plants are fertilized monthly in the spring and summer with a balanced fertilizer. During the winter months they should be kept dry. Since they are rapid growers, repotting should be done every other year or when the plant has outgrown its pot. They are hardy in USDA zones 9-11.
Propagation: Cleistocactus winteri are propagated from cuttings in spring, or by seed. Seed should be sown in a well-drained soil mix. Surface sowing is the best; seeds germinate in 14-28 days at 68° F (20° C).
Cleistocactus winteri was featured as Plant of the Week September 13-19, 2002.
Guide to Past Plants-of-the-Week:
Cal's Plant of the Week was provided as a service by the University of Oklahoma Department of Microbiology & Plant Biology and specifically the late Cal Lemke, who used to be OU's botany greenhouse grower and an avid gardener at home as well. If the above links don't work, then try the overview site. You may also like to look at the thumbnail index. ©1998-2012 All rights reserved.