Photo by Melody

PlantFiles: Mexican Giant Cardon, Cardón, Elephant Cactus
Pachycereus pringlei

Family: Cactaceae (kak-TAY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Pachycereus (pak-ee-KER-ee-us) (Info)
Species: pringlei (PRING-lee-eye) (Info)

Synonym:Cereus pringlei
Synonym:Pilocereus pringlei
Synonym:Pachycereus calvus

7 members have or want this plant for trade.

Cactus and Succulents

over 40 ft. (12 m)

8-10 ft. (2.4-3 m)
10-12 ft. (3-3.6 m)
12-15 ft. (3.6-4.7 m)
15-20 ft. (4.7-6 m)

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:
White/Near White

Bloom Time:
Late Spring/Early Summer


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 softwood cuttings
From semi-hardwood cuttings
Allow cut surface to callous over before planting

Seed Collecting:
Unknown - Tell us

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By roshana
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There are a total of 41 photos.
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6 positives
1 neutral
No negatives

Gardeners' Notes:

Positive BayAreaTropics On Sep 22, 2012, BayAreaTropics from Hayward, CA wrote:

This is my second planting. The first did well for years..and 8" plants reached 24". But,there were many other large succulents around it..and I went many summer months without watering it. It died from lack of water and from too much competition. The second planting has only low growing C&S around it.
I have seen here in the bay area Cardons of 4-5' and a nice girth. Those must be around 20 years old.
A nice change from the usual Cereus cacti sold everywhere.

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

This plant is a native to the Baja California/Sonora region. Younger plants do well in shade, but the older ones tend to be bigger than the plants around them.

Positive oceanmystic On Aug 25, 2006, oceanmystic from San Diego, CA (Zone 9b) wrote:

I have a 3' tall Cardon that started as a cutting given to me about 10 years ago. It sat in the pot for four years without growth and without loss of mass. I almost gave the plant away when it suddenly started to grow. It showed signs of growth for one year (redness of new needles) and I have been getting about six inches of growth per year since then.
It shows no damage from the coastal humidity in Encinitas but is happier now in much drier Lemon Grove .

Neutral Xenomorf On Nov 23, 2004, Xenomorf from Valley of the Sun, AZ (Zone 9b) wrote:

Propagation from seeds are easier than cuttings. There is Zero foliage on all the Pachycereus's. The flowers are open both night and day. Additional popular common names include: Cardón Gigante; Cardón Pelón; Sagueso; & Sahuaso.

Positive albleroy On Aug 24, 2004, albleroy from Wavre/ greenhous +/- 2500 species, IA wrote:

Is a very decorative plant, in my garden (Can. Islands) every year I have flowers on different plants, fruits start to form, but never I have adult fruit with seeds. See photo added

Positive sonotaps On Aug 5, 2004, sonotaps from Phoenix, AZ wrote:

I have a few cardons in my yard here in Phoenix, AZ. Cardons grow MUCH faster than their Arizona cousin, the Saguaro (I have 4-5 in my yard), which grows painfully slow. The blue green coloring is also distinctly different, as well as their propensity to branch lower and become more 'massive' than the saguaro. They are spiny when young, but they have fewer ribs than the saguaro and the spines eventually disappear when the plant gets mature. Cardons are more cold sensitive than the saguaro, but I don't have to do all that much in terms of protecting them where I am in NE Phoenix. Cardon Cacti survive more humid conditions that would prove problematic for the saguaro.

Like most cacti, they like good drainage and don't mind extra water in the summer, especially here in Phoenix. A beautiful cactus if you can grow it where you are.

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

Great columnar cactus that grows up to 70' tall! Looks remiscent of a Saguaro cactus but thinner. Native of Mexico.


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

Gilbert, Arizona
Mesa, Arizona (2 reports)
Phoenix, Arizona (2 reports)
Queen Creek, Arizona
Amesti, California
Encinitas, California
Hayward, California
San Diego, California
Thousand Oaks, California
Fort Walton Beach, Florida

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