Saguaro Cactus: A Famous and Colorful Representative of the Desert Flora

Giant Carnegie or saguaro is the only representative of the family and the most recognizable inhabitant of the desert flora. These giants can be seen in movies about the wild west and in images of deserts. Saguaro cactus is the largest and most colorful succulent in the world, but it is not its only advantage.

General Info

Carnegie is a monotype genus of cactus, consisting of a single species – Carnegie Giant or saguaro (saguaro). This large plant is as big as trees and grows on the territory of Mexico, California, Arizona.

Originally, the plant belonged to the genus of cereuses, but after it was isolated as a separate genus and named after the multimillionaire and philanthropist Andrew Carnegie.

Today, the range of growth of these succulents has become much wider, they are found in the south-east of California, southern Arizona, northwest Mexico and the coastal zone of the Gulf of California. Carnegies are successfully grown in greenhouses and even as domestic vegetation.

Biological description
Saguaro looks like a huge column, the trunk of the cactus branching, making the plant look like a candelabrum. In nature, the height of some specimens can reach 18-20 m, with a trunk thickness of 55-65 cm.

The trunk is ribbed, the ribs are obtuse, with brownish perianth circles. The succulent is equipped with barbs, which may be 5-7 cm long. Leaves of carnegie are not giant, except that young specimens have barely noticeable fine scales.

Blossoming of the giant is in late spring and early summer. Its flowers are large, single, more often white or purple-red, less often – orange, yellow or greenish tint. Flowers have a straight, tubular, correct or slightly zygomorphic shape.

The flower opens at night hours, attracting bats. And in the afternoon, the blossoming flower aspires to bees and tiny birds hummingbirds.

The fruit of the succulent is small, ruby red, 6-9 cm long. They contain up to 2 thousand seeds. Fruits ripen in June and can be eaten, moreover, in the local population they are quite highly valued.

Interesting information

This relict succulent succulent is associated with a lot of interesting facts, which many people did not even know about:

The saguaro flower is not only beautiful, but also very fragrant, and it is also a symbol of the state of Arizona.
The plant enters into bloom when it reaches 35 years of age.
The main pollinators of cactus are bats that feed on its nectar.
The cactus saguaro only after 70 years of age begins to branch, but it becomes adult only at 125 years of age.
Almost all desert cactuses grow slowly, but even here carnegie can surprise you. Its growth in the first 30 years is only 1 meter, and in the next half-century it grows by 1 mm per day.
Saguaro flower has hundreds of stamens, between which tiny birds even manage to twist their nests. Many small birds and animals arrange a home inside the succulent – minks and cavities, where they breed. In the cracks and voids of the giant often hide lizards. Not to mention the fact that the fruits feed many desert inhabitants and provide them with moisture. And they respond “reciprocally,” spreading the seeds of carnegie giant for many kilometers.

Saguaro in the interior: care and maintenance
This giant representative of flora attracts attention, and not only the inhabitants of deserts, but also gardeners and florists. Surprisingly, saguaro can be grown at home, though it will not be such a giant, and its smaller copy.

Succulent undoubtedly “revives” the interior, bringing to it notes of the Wild West, especially if you place several cactuses in the room at once. It is not without reason that saguaros are often used in the design of theme parties, and for “western” style, the plant is an integral part of the interior.

Saguaro is light-loving, so you can’t place it in the shade. He perfectly endures the direct sun, so he feels good from the south side. In abundant light, the succulents grow better, its coloring becomes more intense.

Watering Mode
During the active vegetation, the cactus is watered once every 7 days using standing water. Overwetting the soil is much more dangerous than its drying out, because when there is excess moisture, the flower rots. And if you make moisture less than once a month, the saguaro begins to dry out and its growth stops.

Soil quality
Soil substrate for saguaro must contain drainage, without it the root system of the plant can not get enough moisture. A cactus can be planted in a ready-made substrate for cacti and succulents. It contains a minimum of nutrients and is good for moisture and air, which is what all desert dwellers need.

Carnegie fertilizer
Feed the cactus during active growth, once in 3-4 weeks with liquid mineral compositions. Universal mixtures can also be used, but it is desirable to dilute them, reducing the recommended concentration by half.

Air humidity
An increased rate will not benefit the succulent; he prefers the air to be dry and warm.

Temperature Regime
Saguaro is a native inhabitant of hot deserts, so he is used to high temperatures. It is important not to let the thermometer column in summer fall below +22 degrees. However, at an indicator of +30 degrees, the room should be ventilated.

Features of the transplant
It is important to choose a stable container so that the saguaro has a stable support. During the procedure, act carefully, as the plant is covered with sharp needles. The cactus is transplanted using the transshipment method to prevent damage to the root system.

How to multiply room carnegie?

There are two methods of reproduction of the giant saguaro cactus at home – with seeds and cuttings.

Sowing seeds
Seed material is easiest to buy in a store or collect from a succulent who is over 50 years old. After planting the seeds are cursed seedlings, which over time will develop into seedlings:

They are placed for a few days in warm water, which is replaced after cooling.
And then they are planted in a soil substrate consisting of peat and sand.
The tank is covered with polyethylene, regularly sprayed and ventilated.
Rooting of cuttings
Drawing – a faster way to grow succulent, as its offshoots are immediately planted in the ground. They are cut from the tops of the stems and dried in the air for 2-3 hours before planting.

Possible difficulties in growing
As a rule, with proper care and maintenance succulents do not get sick, because they naturally have a strong immunity and resistance to pathogens.

In addition, the owner of exotics should pay attention to the following changes:

The stem of the cactus began to stretch, wither, and the thorns were crushed – the air temperature is higher than the maximum allowable or the ground is very dry.
In the root zone and on the stem appeared rotten, it became watery, the soil was covered with mold – a sign of overwetting the soil, its swamping. It is necessary to dry the soil, otherwise the succulent will rot.
Appearance of yellow-brown spots on the stem – sunburns, which may appear on young specimens or cacti, not used to the bright sun.
If you follow the basic rules of cultivation of exotic succulent, you will not face any problems – the pet will not get sick and will not be attacked by pests.

Saguaro cactus is not only the largest member of the family, but also a unique relict succulent. In its natural environment, it helps many inhabitants, serves as a home, food and provides moisture. And in room floriculture giant carnegie – a flower that gives the interior exotic notes, not requiring difficult care.

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