Photo by Melody

PlantFiles: Agave Cactus, Prism Cactus, Cob Cactus
Leuchtenbergia principis

Family: Cactaceae (kak-TAY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Leuchtenbergia (lewk-ten-BER-gee-uh) (Info)
Species: principis (PRIN-sip-iss) (Info)

Synonym:Leuchtenbergia principis var. principis

One vendor has this plant for sale.

3 members have or want this plant for trade.

Cactus and Succulents

Unknown - Tell us

15-18 in. (38-45 cm)
18-24 in. (45-60 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
Sun to Partial Shade
Light Shade

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

Bloom Color:
Pale Pink
Pale Yellow

Bloom Time:
Late Spring/Early Summer
Mid Summer
Late Summer/Early Fall

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:
By dividing rhizomes, tubers, corms or bulbs (including offsets)
From seed; germinate in vitro in gelatin, agar or other medium

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

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3 positives
1 neutral
No negatives

Gardeners' Notes:

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

Central Phoenix -- Leuchtenbergia principis grows in the ground in my yard. It is a 20-year old plant that is entwined in the base of a creosote. It gets only natural precipitation and is in partial shade. It has no winter protection and does not seem to sustain any damage down into the low 20s F. It didn't bloom until it was about 15 years old, but now blooms yearly.

Positive franj On Jul 23, 2007, franj from Tucson, AZ wrote:

All monotypic (single species) genera are exciting in that they represent plants that are so unique and unusual they cannot be classified otherwise. Leuchtenbergia is no exception. With its sharply angled and extremely long tubercules tipped with harmless papery spines, it is hard to beleive this is actually a cactus and not some sort of Agave.

It is equally unique when a monotypic genus produces hybrids with another genus that is seemingly unrelated. This plant can apparently hybridize with Ferocactus producing something called a Ferobergia. Now there's an "Odd Couple". Kind of like crossing a pineapple with an artichoke :-)

Neutral cactus_lover On Oct 20, 2005, cactus_lover from FSD
Pakistan (Zone 10b) wrote:

A true cactus that bears a remarkable resemblance to and agave or aloe,this strange-looking plant is sole representative of its group.Unlike agaves or aloes,the long tubercles are part of the stem,not leaves.

Positive palmbob On Apr 1, 2004, palmbob from Acton, CA (Zone 8b) wrote:

Very slow growing plant that initially doesn't look like a cactus- has no dangerous spines, just whispy dead looking grass like projections from ends of very long blue-green tubercles. Does have a bit of a resemblence to an agave. Often used in pots (so slow growing, many growers don't want all those years of growing to be subjected to the elements, so will care for them better in a pot)... can stay in same pot for many many years. Eventually starts to develop a caudiciform-like, fat, woody stem. Old plants not terribly ornamental, but stil pricey. Tend to look a LOT better in cultivation than in habitat


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

Chandler, Arizona
Phoenix, Arizona (2 reports)
Tucson, Arizona
Brea, California
Clayton, California
Mission Viejo, California
Oceanside, California
Reseda, California
Saint Helena, California
San Marino, California
Spring Valley, California
Thousand Oaks, California
Dripping Springs, Texas

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