PlantFiles: Spruce Cone Cholla, Pine Cone Cactus, Pinecone Cactus Tephrocactus articulatus var. diadematus
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Spacing: 24-36 in. (60-90 cm) 36-48 in. (90-120 cm)
Hardiness: 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
Danger: Plant has spines or sharp edges; use extreme caution when handling
Bloom Color: White/Near White
Bloom Time: Mid Spring
Foliage: Deciduous Succulent
Other details: Drought-tolerant; suitable for xeriscaping Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater
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: Non-patented
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
On May 7, 2012, Tunnelmotor from Picture Rocks, AZ wrote:
Last fall, I put two small spruce cone cholla in a concrete planter in full sun. Used standard cactus mix from big-box store. This spring, I found 16-18 new nubs. Within a couple of months, the nubs have grown into new arms almost the size of the original arms. It's kind of fun to watch their quick progress. I have watered the plants thoroughly about once every two weeks this spring. They are about 50 percent covered by standard shade screen, given the intense Sonoran Desert sun/heat. As others mention, the arms break off easily; I anticipate this will be an advantage in keeping the plants to a reasonable size. Plants have few actual spines, so planting in pots near a pool is an option.
On Jan 12, 2012, gfsgreens from Las Vegas, NV wrote:
Easy to grow, easy to handle, but beware. They do have some very fine glochids (irritating spines/hairs), but they are not as prevalent like the ones found on many opuntia cacti. I've had mine for over 20 years. It has gone through freezing temperatures down to 15-20 degrees some years. If you bump them, segments may/will fall off. They will root where they fall or take them and insert partially into the ground. It will grow. I have had pieces sit on benches or on top of gravel for more than a year, with no soil, and it will still grow if you give it a little dirt and water. They may get pretty shriveled looking, but they still have life and the will to live given half a chance. Mine grow to about 18 inches tall with segments or branching.
This is an extremely slow growing plant. My mother was given a piece of it 15 years ago. Everytime a piece would fall off, I'd stick it in the ground and it would root, providing me with many new plantings. If you don't want a plant that sheds its pads easily, don't get this plant. The original plant bloomed for the first time this spring. The white flowers made a nice contrast to the earth-tone colors of the plant. This cactus doesn't have many thorns and grows nicely in pots.
On Jul 25, 2004, palmbob from Tarzana, CA (Zone 9b) wrote:
This is one of the easiest and safest cactus I have ever grown. Cool looking pine-cone-like plant- suckers profusely and easy to grow by just knocking off one of the 'cones' and stuffing it in the ground. Likes lots of water in summer- grows a lot faster... but tolerates long, wet, sloggy, cold winters here in So Cal. No spines, too!
This plant has been said to grow in the following regions:
Bullhead City, Arizona Phoenix, Arizona Picture Rocks, Arizona Queen Creek, Arizona Alum Rock, California Fontana, California La Presa, California Reseda, California Thousand Oaks, California Vacaville, California Las Vegas, Nevada