It’s no secret that San Pedro (Echinopsis pachanoi) is one of the most magical types of cacti out there.
San Pedros is a mostly-mildly hallucinogenic cactus that produce large showy flowers with a spectacular aromatic bouquet but only blooms very rarely. San Pedro cactus is that lovely flowers are almost as notable as its mind-altering effects. Unfortunately, the flowers are ephemeral and seldom last more than a day.
One of the most interesting plants to consider growing is San Pedro, or Trichocereus pachanoi. This plant is known for its psychoactive effects and is also used in ceremonies by natives in South America. San Pedro can grow up to five meters tall and it has a fluted white flower that is around 8.7” (22 cm) in diameter. The buds are pointed and produce a strong odor. These plants are night-blooming and remain open.
Each bloom lasts a couple of days, after which it shrivels up and falls to the ground where it then resembles something unsavory left by a visiting dog.
How Do I Get My San Pedro Cactus to Bloom?
There are a number of factors that can affect whether or not your San Pedro cactus flowers. One is whether or not it’s been exposed to light. If you’re keeping your cactus on a windowsill, it may have been out of direct natural light for so long that it’s forgotten how to bloom. You can try moving it to a bright location to see if that helps the process along, but you should also keep in mind a factor that might be more important than its location: size.
If your cactus is on the smaller side, it might not have reached the size at which it will flower naturally. Most columnar cacti need to be quite large before they will flower. The good news is that when they do reach this point, they’ll often flower multiple times over the course of the year. Cacti are smart like that—they know how to conserve their energy for when they really need it.
They need to reach a certain size before they flower. Many columnar cacti need to be quite big for that.
How Fast Does San Pedro Grow?
Wide (150-180 cm). Vigorous, San Pedro Cactus can grow 12 in. (30 cm) per year. Easily grown in fertile, well-drained soils in full sun.
How Do I Get My San Pedro Cactus to Flower?
Some cactus species are said to need a cold, dry resting period to flower. Some species are also reportedly stimulated to flower by prolonged periods of drought or withholding water during the growing season. It’s important to note that these reports aren’t based on scientific studies: no one knows for sure how these effects work or what species they apply to.
However, it is known that members of the Trichocereus genus (including San Pedro) respond positively to increased light and temperature, which could be the reason for reports of flowering after a period of cold and darkness.
An adequate supply of water and nutrients during the growing season. Some species are said to need a cold, dry resting period to flower.
Why Do San Pedro Cactus Flower?
At night, it seems as if the world becomes a place of mystery and wonder. The moon brings out the best in us, and even our familiar surroundings take on a new look as if we’re seeing them for the first time. This is why gardens are so enchanting at night—they truly bring out the beauty of the environment.
In a garden with San Pedro cactus flowers, you’ll see a spectacular sight: huge white blossoms that open during the night (and close again before morning). The flowers bloom on tall green stalks that can reach up to five feet in height, which explains their other common name: giant cactus. They are most commonly found in the Andes region of South America, though they can also be found in Mexico and Florida.
The unusual size of these flowers relates to the overly-large hummingbirds that pollinate them in their natural habitat—in fact, some species of San Pedro have been recorded to have petals that measure up to six inches across! Though they are also moth-pollinated, since their pollinators are nocturnal, you’ll find that these huge white flowers open at night, making San Pedro an ideal candidate for a moon-viewing party in your new garden.
How Do You Get a Trichocereus to Flower?
In the wild, Trichocereus tend to flower after a few years of growth, but in cultivation, there are multiple ways that you can get a Trichocereus to flower.
-Only when dormant (not actively growing)
-Avoid frost or freezing temperatures
-No watering or minimal watering
-Potassium bloom booster
-Late autumn/early spring time period
How Long Do San Pedro Flowers Last?
Have you ever asked yourself, “How long do San Pedro flowers last?” If the answer is no, then you have a treat in store! If you’re curious about this question, then let me tell you that these flowers are quite a rarity and if you have one, don’t be too fast to pick it. It’s better to wait for it to open up.
The flowers of San Pedro are waxy, white, and translucent; they typically bloom at night and stay open for about two days. The flowers of this cactus can be found at the tip of its branches; they emit a lovely fragrant scent and are distinctively shaped like five-pointed stars. The number of the blooms depends on how old the plant is—the older it is, the more flowers it bears on its branches.
The reason why these flowers open at night is that they get pollinated by moths; during the nighttime, these insects are active. In fact, the moth has to fly up to the cactus in order to pollinate the flower. Sometimes there is more than one moth per flower, which ensures that there will be enough pollen transferred from one flower to another.
In total, the bloom time for each flower runs no longer than a few days. Then, it’s back to a new chance at another day (or a couple of days) — and that’s exactly why the blooming cycle of the San Pedro cactus is so mysterious. Yes, it smells good, but honestly, what does it matter? You’ll forget about its glorious perfume once the effect wears off anyway. Still, many people enjoy the flowers for the brief amount of time that they last.