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Silver Torch, Snow Pole, Wooly Torch
Cleistocactus strausii

Family: Cactaceae (kak-TAY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Cleistocactus (Kly-stoh-KAK-tus) (Info)
Species: strausii
Synonym:Cleistocactus strausii var. straussii
Synonym:Borzicactus strausii
Synonym:Cereus strausii
Synonym:Denmoza strausii
Synonym:Pilocereus strausii


Cactus and Succulents


4-6 ft. (1.2-1.8 m)

6-8 ft. (1.8-2.4 m)


3-6 in. (7-15 cm)

6-9 in. (15-22 cm)


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)

USDA Zone 11: above 4.5 C (40 F)

Sun Exposure:

Full Sun


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

Bloom Color:


Bloom Time:

Blooms repeatedly



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:


Propagation Methods:

From woody stem cuttings

Allow cut surface to callous over before planting

From seed; direct sow after last frost

Seed Collecting:

Bag seedheads to capture ripening seed

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


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

Green Valley, Arizona

Phoenix, Arizona

Tucson, Arizona

Ontario, California

Reseda, California

San Leandro, California

Spring Valley, California

Las Vegas, Nevada

Austin, Texas

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Gardeners' Notes:


On Apr 13, 2015, Max64 from Las Vegas, NV (Zone 9a) wrote:

Does great here in the SW of Vegas. I water this one sparingly. During the winter I just use a styrofoam cup to protect the tip in case of a hard freeze. They have been growing in the ground for 5 years now and the blooms always make me smile.


On Sep 12, 2008, AarronIkarus from Onalaska, WA (Zone 8b) wrote:

This plant is found in the wilds of Bolivia and Argentina. Ours bloomed twice last year, but not so far this year. They have a rather bizarre flower.


On Feb 27, 2004, PurplePansies from Deal, NJ (Zone 7a) wrote:

I've never relished the idea of desert gardening...... but thiss plant looks beautiful......


On Feb 16, 2004, palmbob from Acton, CA (Zone 8b) wrote:

Great landscape columnar cactus with with fur all over it, and bright red flowers.