Planting areas: Sunset Zones 12, 13, 16, 17 and 21 to 24
Size: 2 to 2 ¼ inches wide and 4 to 7 feet tall.
Bloom season: Spring
Exposure: Full sun to partial shade
Water needs: Regular watering in warm weather
Snapshot: Torch cactus, also known as night blooming cactus or golden torch cactus, is a slow-growing, long, lean and beautiful cactus native to South America.
Characterized by a columnar body with 10 to 15 ribs, torch cactus produces large white, fragrant flowers at the end of trumpet-shaped stalks in the spring.
The plate-sized blossoms, which usually appear at night, last only a day. Their nocturnal flowering habit suggests adaptation to moth and bat pollinators.
Torch cactus blooms when temperatures consistently exceed 70 degrees Fahrenheit, and grows well in warm areas.
Torch cactus prefers well-drained soil, and does well in containers and rock gardens. While drought-tolerant, the plant prefers regular watering, especially during its blooming season.
Torch cactus tolerates colder temperatures, but plants must be sheltered from freezing temperatures as their water-filled bodies will freeze.
Torch cactus can be propagated by removing the cactus offset, or, pup, and transplanting it.
Offsets should be allowed to callus, or, form protective tissue or the cut plant surface, prior to planting in a pot of cactus soil mix or well-draining gritty medium. The container needs be just slightly bigger than the offset.
Take care to cover one-third to one-half of the base with soil. Keep your torch cactus in indirect, bright sunlight and water enough to keep the soil slightly moist.
Got a gardening question?
In San Luis Obispo, call 805-781-5939; Arroyo Grande, 805-473-7190, and Templeton, 805-434-4105. Visit us at http://ucanr.edu/sites/mgslo or email us at email@example.com. Follow us on Instagram at slo_mgs and like us on Facebook. Informative garden workshops are held the third Saturday of every month at 2156 Sierra Way in San Luis Obispo. To request a tour of the garden, call 805-781-5939.