Photo by Melody

PlantFiles: Golden Rat Tail
Cleistocactus winteri

Family: Cactaceae (kak-TAY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Cleistocactus (Kly-stoh-KAK-tus) (Info)
Species: winteri (WIN-ter-eye) (Info)

Synonym:Borzicactus aureispinus
Synonym:Hildewintera aureispina
Synonym:Cleistocactus aureispinus
Synonym:Winteria aureispina
Synonym:Winterocereus aureispinus

One vendor has this plant for sale.

16 members have or want this plant for trade.

Cactus and Succulents

24-36 in. (60-90 cm)

9-12 in. (22-30 cm)
12-15 in. (30-38 cm)
15-18 in. (38-45 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:
Sun to Partial Shade

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

Bloom Color:
Pale Pink

Bloom Time:
Late Winter/Early Spring

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:

Propagation Methods:
Allow cut surface to callous over before planting
From seed; sow indoors before last frost

Seed Collecting:
Allow pods to dry on plant; break open to collect seeds
Allow seedheads to dry on plants; remove and collect seeds

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There are a total of 21 photos.
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4 positives
1 neutral
No negatives

Gardeners' Notes:

Positive mrdiesel On Apr 14, 2013, mrdiesel from Torrington, CT wrote:

in 1984 I was given a 4" tall lifeless dying cactus. the owner said she was throwing it away. I took home this pathetic cactus,carefully removed it from the cement like soil,washed the roots,and repotted in a 6" dia pot with regular potting soil mixed with about 30% perlite. not knowing where the original owner placed it...I put it in a window that only got sun in the am. I watered it again in about 3 weeks. about 2 months after I rescued the plant it started to show signs of improvement...small golden tuffs at the top of it's single column. that was 29 years ago. today it's a healthy happy cactus. I keep it by my sliding glass doors where it get sun about 8 hours a the summer it goes out on the deck. it's a fast the end of the summer before I bring it indoors I usually have to cut it back,'cause it's "arms" grow about 3-4' and sprawl over the deck. right now the columns are 4' tall. however's never flowered.probably because it's confined to 18" dia pot. I live in the northeast so it can't stay outside year round. I call this cactus "Dorothy" after the original owner.. it is a happy rapid grower. I feed it in the spring with a professional root blast formula before it goes outside. do you have any suggestions on how I can help it flower??

Positive mswestover On Oct 4, 2009, mswestover from Yulee, FL (Zone 9a) wrote:

Blooms from spring till frost zone 9a. Arms break easily, but root quickly when just stuck in the dirt.

Neutral BayAreaTropics On Mar 7, 2007, BayAreaTropics from Hayward, CA wrote:

This is again,a case of being common doesn't mean easy to grow. At it's best one of the worlds most striking cacti. Very easy to have rot in the cold of winter if kept wet. Easy to kill stems if too dry in summers heat. Even keeping it clean stands out as much more work than the average cacti. The small, colorful, potted plants are easy to find-big plants are like hen's teeth.

Positive spaceman_spiff On May 15, 2005, spaceman_spiff from Saint Petersburg, FL (Zone 9b) wrote:

I have one of these, which I've had a few years, and it does wonderfully in my back yard in a hanging basket. (See photos). It has bloomed the last few years and the flowers are quite striking. The plant's appearance is so unusual that it always sparks a conversation when people come over and see it hanging near my back patio.

As spiny as it is, it can be touched if done carefully, and with moving one's hand "with the grain" (spines), rather than against them. This also surprises visitors when I do this. :-)

Several times a year I use a comb to gently remove all the debris that falls on it (such as maple seeds, fallen leaves, etc).

I highly recommend this species as a wonderful plant and a showy conversation piece.

Positive palmbob On Feb 26, 2004, palmbob from Acton, CA (Zone 8b) wrote:

Attractively colored (yellowy to brown) drooping columnar cactus from Bolivia


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

Gurley, Alabama
Bellflower, California
Castro Valley, California
Hayward, California
San Diego, California
Torrington, Connecticut
Bradenton Beach, Florida
Lecanto, Florida
Orlando, Florida
Saint Petersburg, Florida
Yulee, Florida
Henderson, Nevada

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