By Bonnie L. Grant
Cereus tetragonus is native to North America but is only suited for cultivation outside in USDA zones 10 to 11. The fairy castle cactus is the colorful name by which the plant is marketed and refers to the numerous vertical stems of different heights that resemble spires and turrets. The plant is a succulent with spines that blooms yellow infrequently. Growing fairy castle cactus inside your home is an easy beginning gardener project. These delicately limbed cacti provide all the charm of the fairy tale castles for which they are named.
Fairy Castle Cactus Classification
Some expert classify the cactus as a form of Acanthocereus tetragonus. It has also been given the species name hildmannianus in the genus Cereus. The susbspecies is the real puzzler. Fairy castle cactus is either in the subspecies uruguayanus or monstrose. Whichever scientific name is correct, the plant is a delightful little cactus for your home.
Information About Fairy Castle Cactus Plant
Cereus tetragonus is native to North, South and Central Americas. It is a very slow growing plant that will eventually reach 6 feet tall. The stems on fairy castle cactus plant are five sided with wooly based spines along each plane. The limbs are a bright green turning woody and brown with age. Different branches are formed over time which slowly lengthen and produce an interesting silhouette.
The fairy castle cactus rarely blooms. Cacti need perfect growing conditions to produce flowers and the plants in the Cereus family bloom at night. Fairy castle cactus flowers are large and white and usually will not occur until the plant is ten years old or more. If your cactus comes with a flower examine it carefully. It is likely a fake bloom used as a marketing ploy. There is no need to remove the fake fairy castle cactus flower, as it will fall off by itself eventually.
Fairy Castle Cactus Care
Fairy castle cactus is a full sun plant that requires well drained soil. Plant the cactus in an unglazed clay pot that allows excess moisture to evaporate. The fairy castle cactus plant will grow best in a good cactus potting soil or you can make your own. Mix 1 part potting soil with 1 part each of sand and perlite. This will make a good gritty medium for the cactus.
Place the little cactus in a bright sunny location that is away from drafts or air conditioning. When you water, water until the liquid comes out of the drainage holes and then allow the soil to completely dry out before irrigating. Fairy castle cactus care is easiest in winter when you can cut in half the amount of water the plant receives.
Fertilize with a good cactus fertilizer in spring when growth resumes. Feed monthly or with irrigation in a dilution that is half strength. Suspend the feeding in winter.