Carnegiea gigantea (Saguaro)
Alphabetical Plant Listing

Carnegiea gigantea (Saguaro)

Monument of the desert, Sage of the Desert, Giant Cactus, Saguaro, Cereus giganteus, Pilocereus giganteus


Spectacular as a result of its immense size and unique architecture, Carnegiea gigantea (Saguaro) is a massive columnar cactus with a single, thick green trunk and one or more lateral branches. When young, it forms a green, cylindrical solitary columnar stem, up to 10 ft. tall (3 m), with 11-15 stem ribs. It typically branches after reaching 12-15 ft. (3.6-4.5 m), forming stems with 19-25 shallow, blunt ribs. Saguaro is however extremely slow-growing, adding only 1 ft. (30 cm) every 10 years. After 50 years, Saguaro may be 6 ft. tall (180 cm). It may sprout its first branches after 75 years. An adult Saguaro is generally considered to be about 125 years of age. Its vertical ribs enable the stems to expand as they gain moisture and to contract as they lose moisture. In spring to summer, mature plants produce showy white blossoms, 3-5 in. long (8-12 cm), which open in late afternoon and remaining open until the next afternoon. A stem might produce more than 100 flowers at a time. The blossoms give way to egg shaped, edible, fleshy, green, red to purple fruits with a juicy, sweet, bright red pulp. The fruits are delicious and have been widely gathered for food and wine-making. Native to the Sonoran Desert in the U.S. state of Arizona, the Mexican state of Sonora, a small part of Baja California and California, Saguaro provides food and shelter for many desert animals. Long-lived (150 years) and easy to grow, Saguaro is reported to be cold-hardy down to 23°F (-5°C) for short periods. The saguaro blossom is the state flower of Arizona.

  • Grows up to 50 ft. tall (15 m) and 10 ft. wide (3 m).
  • Easily grown in dry, sandy or gravelly, well-drained soils in full sun. Appreciates light shade when young. Water regularly in summer but allow to dry fully before watering again. Drought tolerant.
  • Great for desert gardens, rock gardens, succulent gardens or hedges.
  • Virtually pest and disease free. Keep an eye out for red spiders or mealy bugs. Susceptible to fungal diseases if over-watered. Deer resistant.
  • Repotting should be done every other year, or when the plant has outgrown its pot.
  • Propagate by seed. Seeds germinate in 7-14 days at 70-80°F (21-27°C) in spring. Seedlings should not be disturbed until they are well rooted.
  • Saguaro is found growing in the Sonoran Desert in Arizona, Mexico, and a small part of California.

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Requirements

Hardiness 8 – 11
Climate Zones 12, 13, 18, 19, 20, 21
Plant Type Cactus - Succulents, Trees
Exposure Full Sun
Season of Interest Spring (Early,Mid,Late)
Summer (Early,Mid,Late)
Fall
Winter
Height 1' – 50' (30cm – 15m)
Spread 1' – 10' (30cm – 3m)
Water Needs Low
Maintenance Low
Soil Type Loam, Sand
Soil pH Acid, Alkaline, Neutral
Soil Drainage Well-Drained
Characteristics Showy, Evergreen, Fruit & Berries
Native Plants United States, California, Southwest, Arizona
Tolerance Deer, Drought, Rabbit, Dry Soil, Rocky Soil
Attracts Birds
Garden Uses Beds and Borders, Hedges and Screens
Garden Styles Gravel and Rock Garden

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c) Gerhard Bock, SucculentsandMore.com

While every effort has been made to describe these plants accurately, please keep in mind that height, bloom time, and color may differ in various climates. The description of these plants has been written based on numerous outside resources.


Requirements

Hardiness 8 – 11
Climate Zones 12, 13, 18, 19, 20, 21
Plant Type Cactus - Succulents, Trees
Exposure Full Sun
Season of Interest Spring (Early,Mid,Late)
Summer (Early,Mid,Late)
Fall
Winter
Height 1' – 50' (30cm – 15m)
Spread 1' – 10' (30cm – 3m)
Water Needs Low
Maintenance Low
Soil Type Loam, Sand
Soil pH Acid, Alkaline, Neutral
Soil Drainage Well-Drained
Characteristics Showy, Evergreen, Fruit & Berries
Native Plants United States, California, Southwest, Arizona
Tolerance Deer, Drought, Rabbit, Dry Soil, Rocky Soil
Attracts Birds
Garden Uses Beds and Borders, Hedges and Screens
Garden Styles Gravel and Rock Garden

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