Alphabetical Plant Listing

Cephalocereus senilis (Old Man Cactus)

Old Man Cactus, Bunny Cactus, Old Man of Mexico, White Persian Cat Cactus, Cactus bradypus, Cactus senilis, Cephalophorus senilis, Cereus senilis, Echinocactus staplesiae, Pilocereus senilis


Curious-looking, Cephalocereus senilis (Old Man Cactus) forms slender, erect, silvery-white columns, 6-12 in. wide (15-30 cm), densely covered with long, white silky hairs. The hairs are modified spines that serve to protect the plant from frost and sun. Particularly striking on young plants, they gradually disappear as the plant ages. Usually unbranched, occasionally basally clumping, each columnar stem features 20-30 shallow ribs along the edges. Arising from the areoles are not only the hairs but also 1-5 stout, yellow to gray spines. Funnel shaped, nocturnal, solitary, rose-colored flowers, 3 in. wide (8 cm), are produced on mature specimens (10–20 years old). Slow-growing, Old Man Cactus reaches up to 40 feet in the wild (12 m). Grown as a houseplant, it matures at about 3 feet tall (90 cm). Exceedingly handsome, Old Man Cactus is reported to be cold-hardy down to 30°F (-1°C) for short periods. Terrific at adding texture, color and shape to the landscape, this eye-catching and elegant plant looks equally spectacular as an exotic houseplant. Cephalocereus senilis is listed as an endangered species in its native habitat.

  • Grows up to 3-40 ft. tall (1-12 m) and 6-12 in. wide (15-30 cm) in the wild.
  • Easily grown in well-drained soils in full sun. Water regularly when in growth. Make sure you let the soil dry out between waterings. No water should ever be allowed to stand around the roots. Keep the plant dry in winter. During the growing season, fertilize monthly with a balanced fertilizer. Drought tolerant.
  • Great for desert gardens, rock gardens, succulent gardens or Mediterranean gardens. Great in decorative containers too.
  • Deer resistant.
  • Propagate by seeds or stem cuttings.
  • Virtually pest and disease free. Susceptible to root rot in damp poorly drained soils.
  • Native to Mexico

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Requirements

Hardiness 9 – 11
Heat Zones 10 – 11
Climate Zones 13, 21, 22, 23, 24, H1
Plant Type Cactus - Succulents
Exposure Full Sun
Season of Interest Spring (Early,Mid,Late)
Summer (Early,Mid,Late)
Fall
Winter
Height 3' – 40' (90cm – 12m)
Spread 6" – 1' (15cm – 30cm)
Spacing 30" (75cm)
Water Needs Low
Maintenance Low
Soil Type Loam, Sand
Soil pH Acid, Alkaline, Neutral
Soil Drainage Well-Drained
Characteristics Showy, Evergreen
Tolerance Deer, Drought, Rabbit, Dry Soil, Rocky Soil
Garden Uses Beds and Borders, Patio and Containers
Garden Styles Gravel and Rock Garden, Mediterranean Garden

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By Toey Toey, Shutterstock

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 9 – 11
Heat Zones 10 – 11
Climate Zones 13, 21, 22, 23, 24, H1
Plant Type Cactus - Succulents
Exposure Full Sun
Season of Interest Spring (Early,Mid,Late)
Summer (Early,Mid,Late)
Fall
Winter
Height 3' – 40' (90cm – 12m)
Spread 6" – 1' (15cm – 30cm)
Spacing 30" (75cm)
Water Needs Low
Maintenance Low
Soil Type Loam, Sand
Soil pH Acid, Alkaline, Neutral
Soil Drainage Well-Drained
Characteristics Showy, Evergreen
Tolerance Deer, Drought, Rabbit, Dry Soil, Rocky Soil
Garden Uses Beds and Borders, Patio and Containers
Garden Styles Gravel and Rock Garden, Mediterranean Garden

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