Scientific Name: Carnegiea gigantea (Engelm.) Britton & Rose
Synonym: Cereus giganteus
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Recommended Temperature Zone:|
Frost Tolerance: Adults are hardy to 14° F (-10°C), protect the seedlings from frost
Minimum Avg. Temperature: 45°F (7°C)
Sun Exposure: Full sun
Origin: Sonoran desert of southwestern USA and Sonora state in Mexico
Growth Habits: Growing slowly to 50 feet (15 m); arms 12 to 27 in. in diameter (30-65 cm); 12 to 24 obtuse ribs, 0.4 to 1.2 in. tall (1-3 cm), areoles app. 1 inch apart (2.5 cm), with brown felt; longest spine can reach 2.8 in. long (7 cm).
Watering Needs: Saguaros grow mostly in winter and in late summer, this is when it should be watered more
It is difficult to talk about Arizona and not about Saguaro. The Saguaro grows very slowly. In the wild, it can take over 100 years to be tall enough for an arm to develop. In cultivation, with proper care, when planted outside in the proper climate, it can grow 8 inches a year (20 cm) or more.
The success rate in transplanting a mature saguaro can be low, if the transfer is not done by experienced nurserymen, this being said, a mature saguaro is a conversation piece.
The Saguaro blooms in May to June. The flower bearing areoles are closer together and have denser yellowish acicular spines. The flowers open in the evening and stay open until mid day the following day, 4 to 4.8 inches long (10-12 cm), 3.6 to 4.8 inches in diameter (9-12 cm). Bats and doves are the main pollinators. The greenish to reddish edible fruit ripens a month later and can be eaten raw or made into jam and pastries. It has a red pulp and black seeds and when the fruit is half-eaten by the wild life, with the distance, it looks like a red flower.
The seeds are extremely small and the seedlings stay extremely small for several years. You can keep a small saguaro for years in a pot, before it grows too big.