Old Man of the Andes

Oreocereus celsianus

Family: Cactaceae (kak-TAY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Oreocereus (or-ee-oh-KER-ee-us) (Info)
Species: celsianus (sels-ee-AY-nus) (Info)
Synonym:Borzicactus celsianus
Synonym:Cereus celsianus
Synonym:Pilocereus celsianus
Synonym:Oreocereus maximus
Synonym:Oreocereus neocelsianus
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Cactus and Succulents

Foliage Color:


Bloom Characteristics:

Unknown - Tell us

Water Requirements:

Drought-tolerant; suitable for xeriscaping

Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater

Where to Grow:

Suitable for growing in containers


under 6 in. (15 cm)

6-12 in. (15-30 cm)

12-18 in. (30-45 cm)

18-24 in. (45-60 cm)

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)

8-10 ft. (2.4-3 m)


12-15 in. (30-38 cm)

15-18 in. (38-45 cm)

18-24 in. (45-60 cm)


USDA Zone 8a: to -12.2 C (10 F)

USDA Zone 8b: to -9.4 C (15 F)

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

Sun to Partial Shade


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

Bloom Color:


Magenta (Pink-Purple)

Bloom Time:

Late Spring/Early Summer



Other details:

Unknown - Tell us

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:

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

Kingman, Arizona

Phoenix, Arizona

Scottsdale, Arizona

Apple Valley, California

Castro Valley, California

Hayward, California

Hesperia, California

Pleasant Hill, California

San Diego, California

San Marino, California

Sonoma, California

Spring Valley, California

Templeton, California

Valley Center, California

Vista, California

Spring Hill, Florida

Las Vegas, Nevada

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Gardeners' Notes:


On Sep 6, 2015, Max64 from Las Vegas, NV (Zone 9a) wrote:

I have one that sits under my covered patio facing South in the Vegas desert heat and it actually grows fast considering. It does not tolerate the full hot summer Vegas sun. It will sunburn so either give it partial or full shade especially from 11.00 until later afternoon during summer. It's been growing an average of 3" every year just sitting under the patio in a well draining soil with bright light only. I don't even cover it during the winter but when we do get the occasional cold snap warning I just cover it with a towel just in case. It is hardy to 10F.


On Oct 14, 2010, dumblady from Spring Hill, FL wrote:

Very cold hardy! I purchased this cactus at Lowe's when it was 3-4" tall in Spring 2009. Transplanted to a larger pot & kept it in that pot for a year. Left it unprotected outside last winter here in zone 9a. In Jan we had a terrible cold spell where temps went down in the mid teens at night for a couple weeks. We had much freeze damage & even lost several citrus trees & cactus plants, but this wonderful cactus remained completely unscathed! It's grown several inches since then. I've just put it in the ground last week & am looking forward to watching this beautiful cactus grow big & tall.


On Jun 3, 2004, Xenomorf from Valley of the Sun, AZ (Zone 9b) wrote:

Propagation: Seeds