Blue Candle, Whortleberry Cactus, Cactus Myrtle
Myrtillocactus geometrizans

Family: Cactaceae (kak-TAY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Myrtillocactus (mir-til-oh-KAK-tus) (Info)
Species: geometrizans (jee-oh-MET-rih-zans) (Info)

Category:

Cactus and Succulents

Height:

24-36 in. (60-90 cm)

36-48 in. (90-120 cm)

4-6 ft. (1.2-1.8 m)

6-8 ft. (1.8-2.4 m)

Spacing:

6-8 ft. (1.8-2.4 m)

8-10 ft. (2.4-3 m)

Hardiness:

USDA Zone 9a: to -6.6 C (20 F)

USDA Zone 9b: to -3.8 C (25 F)

USDA Zone 10a: to -1.1 C (30 F)

USDA Zone 10b: to 1.7 C (35 F)

Sun Exposure:

Full Sun

Danger:

Plant has spines or sharp edges; use extreme caution when handling

Bloom Color:

Pale Green

White/Near White

Bloom Time:

Mid Spring

Foliage:

Unknown - Tell us

Other details:

Drought-tolerant; suitable for xeriscaping

Soil pH requirements:

6.1 to 6.5 (mildly acidic)

6.6 to 7.5 (neutral)

7.6 to 7.8 (mildly alkaline)

Patent Information:

Non-patented

Propagation Methods:

From woody stem cuttings

From softwood cuttings

Allow cut surface to callous over before planting

From seed; direct sow after last frost

Seed Collecting:

Allow unblemished fruit to ripen; clean and dry seeds

Unblemished fruit must be significantly overripe before harvesting seed; clean and dry seeds

Properly cleaned, seed can be successfully stored

Regional

This plant has been said to grow in the following regions:

Phoenix, Arizona (2 reports)

Queen Creek, Arizona

Tucson, Arizona

Hayward, California

Oak View, California

Oceanside, California

Ojai, California

Reseda, California

San Marino, California

Valley Center, California

Venice, Florida

Metairie, Louisiana

show all

Gardeners' Notes:

5
positives
1
neutral
0
negatives
RatingContent
Positive

On Feb 12, 2015, poeciliopsis from Phoenix, AZ wrote:

Central Phoenix -- Blue myrtle cactus is a fast grower and puts out multiple arms. It will form a thicket if allowed, and needs a big footprint to accommodate it. We have to trim our 20+ year-old plant substantially every year. Its blooms are not very showy, but there are lots of them along the upper parts of the stems. They are small and white with a large number of slender white petals and sepals.




Neutral

On May 14, 2013, real_americana from San Diego, CA (Zone 10b) wrote:

I read about this in Yetman's book, 'Great Cacti'. He reports that the fruits are tasty, and some prefer a more dry wrinkled fruit, as these are sweeter. In Mexico people also eat them: dried, like raisins, or in jams, or drinks, or popsicles. This columnar cactus has one of the widest distributions in Mexico. Common names in the country of origin are: Garambullo, padre nuestro, and tepepoa nochtli. These cacti can become quite old, possible more than 100 years old, topping out at 25 feet high. As they mature more branching occurs, so that it is just as wide as tall, taking on an extreme candelabra shape, like a triangle with one corner at the base, like a 'V'.

Positive

On Nov 18, 2012, BayAreaTropics from Hayward, CA wrote:

baiss of NZ said it well. I think he was talking about me!..mine has been kept in worst conditions..small ceramic pot with NO drainage holes. Moss grew around my cacti,it stayed dwarf-inches tall. Kept in hottest summer sun next to a wall. And it even had a rot take out a limb or two.
After all that-for about 6-7 years? It looked good!..this year I planted it out finally. And she's picture perfect.

Positive

On Jul 4, 2011, baiissatva from Dunedin
New Zealand wrote:

zone 9b, coastal otago, new zealand

Honestly, I find this appealing species much maligned and underappreciated- lopped for grafting, consigned to the special bin at megastores, neglected on windowsill etc. If it was difficult to grow people would be much more fussed about it!

Mine lives outside under polycarbonate with half day sun, never sends me to the ER with puncture wounds or sap poisoning, always looks cheerfully blue and is budding happily. In a little time it will be a really impressive, architectural specimen for little or no care and expense, with pretty flowers and berries etc, which is a LOT more than I can say for many other species.

All you have to do is offer it shelter and keep your mitts off it to preserve the lovely blue blo... read more

Positive

On May 17, 2004, Xenomorf from Valley of the Sun, AZ (Zone 9b) wrote:

I've also heard this called a "Blue Myrtillo"

Positive

On Mar 17, 2004, palmbob from Acton, CA (Zone 8b) wrote:

Highly branched columnar cactus that creates its own thicket with all the branches. Grows up to 15' tall. Good grower in Southern California. Some spines but not awful.