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Boxing Glove Cholla light requirements advice

Mesa, AZ(Zone 9b)

I have been giving a colleague of mine who recently moved to the valley of the sun a bunch of cacti (echinopsis pups and opuntia cuttings) and agaves (when you have one Agave weberi, you have 20 ;-) ) for the yard of the house he just bought in Chandler and yesterday as a thank you he dropped off a pretty large (3 x 2 ft or so) cutting of a Boxing Glove Cholla (Cylindropuntia fulgida var. mammillata f. monstose cristate), that he had been given by a neighbor, he had kept part of it already - so the mother plant must be quite mature.
Unfortunately they did not mark which side of the cutting faced south and given the strange growth habit of this plant it is not easy to deduce which side might have faced south. So I hesitate to plant it directly into the ground in the full sun part of my yard, even though the entries here in the plantfiles suggest it should be able to take it just fine. For now, I am going to start it off in a large pot in mostly shade to get it rooted, but eventually I would like to put it in the ground. I am working on getting picture of the yard it came from so I can see what its regular growing conditions were, but I'd appreciate any advice on how well these plants will deal with full summer sun here in the valley of the sun.

When I have it out of its box and in a pot I will post a picture.


Phoenix, AZ(Zone 9b)

You are going to be re-acclimating a new "south side" of the plant by putting it in a pot for a while, which is good. If it were early Springtime here, I would say put it in the ground now, but it's the beginning of the summer weather here now (even though it's not Summer solstice yet). You could put it in the ground now if you had a 30% or 40% shading material to cover over it, which would help it acclimate.
I've had several of these and the ones that lived the longest were the ones that recieved full sun all day long. They attract Cochineal bug eventually though, and if not kept under control will kill the plant.

Mesa, AZ(Zone 9b)

Hi Xenomorf,

Thanks for the advice, I have some 50% shade material but not quite 30-40%, also the best full sun spot I have available at the moment is close to a west facing wall that seems to be a hard spot for even the most sun loving plants to adapt to if planted there too late in the spring, so putting it in a pot is probably the way to go for this summer.
I actually got a picture of the yard it came from and it had full day long sun, so it should adapt quite well once I get a new 'south side' established.

Fountain Hills, AZ(Zone 9b)

Re: West-facing wall, no argument here. I've had full-sun stuff suffer miserably from being in front of medium-sized west-facing rocks, let alone walls.

Phoenix, AZ(Zone 9b)

Is the west-facing wall a light or dark color? Light or white shades seem to reflect more sunlight onto the plant. (you probably already knew that though).

Mesa, AZ(Zone 9b)

Yellowish concrete block color so yes light, probably saved some plants during the freeze, but in summer it is not a fun place to be near. I have the ability to put up some shade cloth in front of the plants planted along that wall, but do not want to do that too soon or for too long, but part of that is because the shade cloth probably takes a little too much sun away, so a cloth that lets through more light should probably solve that issue. Need to get me some.

GermanStar, I covered up that variegated A. americana you gave me with some shade cloth and it 'unfolded' almost immediately, it is looking a lot happier now.

Mesa, AZ(Zone 9b)

Well, it took a little while but the recent rains have made the Boxing Glove Cholla explode with new growth. It had started of a little before that (essentially when it got hot and just about everything else stopped growing this one put out its first new growth), but now just about every growth point has exploded with new growth.
Pic 1 an overview of the really strange form of the plant, pics 2 and 3 close-ups of the new growth coming along all terminal edges, and pic 4 demonstrating a different growth form in addition to the edge growth on some pieces I had to cut off the big plant to make it sit in the pot 'right'.
During a couple of the big storms of the last few weeks the pot got flooded twice and since most of the soil is just unadulterated river valley gravelly-mud (which is after all what most Chollas here seem to thrive in) I had to tip the pot the drain most of the water away, because it had become a bit of a lake. It seems to have handled that just fine though.
I am trying very hard not to get too fascinated and obsessed by these crested and other mutated forms, so as not to add another 'need to collect' category of plants to my list that already has too many things on them, but to me the plant looks really really cool.

Thumbnail by mcvansoest Thumbnail by mcvansoest Thumbnail by mcvansoest Thumbnail by mcvansoest
Blackhawk-Camino Tas, CA(Zone 9b)

I have nothing constructive to add but must say that this is a beautiful plant.

Mesa, AZ(Zone 9b)

Thanks LL, the next step will come this fall, when I need to find a good spot for it in the yard.

Sun Lakes, AZ(Zone 9a)

Looks like it will need quite a lot of room! Is it full of glocids?

Mesa, AZ(Zone 9b)

Hi Nancy,

yes, but they appear to be mostly free of the nasty hairs. I have not been so bold as to grab it with my bare hands, but wearing my leather work gloves did not get a me glove full off the little barbed hairs that you get from most Opuntia or some of the other chollas.
It really is a fascinating form of the regular plant, which I also have a specimen of, which has more spines and has more of the glochid hairs.

Phoenix, AZ(Zone 9b)

The regular spines should be barbed. I noticed that in the fourth photo there are new Non-crested branches sprouting out. They are actually a monstrose form of Cyl. fulgida v. mammillata. I usually pluck those off when they first appear so that all the new growing energy gets diverted to the fasciation (crest).
Now, If I'm trying to propagate a whole new plant, then I will let it grow enough to pluck it when it gets to be a sufficient size for rooting.
Probably all of the monstrose stems that are rooted have the propensity to crest if the "suckers" are plucked from it.

Mesa, AZ(Zone 9b)

Hi Xenomorph,

Thanks for the advice. I probably do not need more plants than I already have of that one, so I might go ahead and remove the 'suckers' from most of the crested parts.
It is interesting though that the plant came with what looked like a bunch of those 'suckers' attached that had started showing the specific 'boxing glove' appearance at their tops. In addition to one in the background of picture 4, I have another couple of pots with some of those, I guess they will become trade or give-away plants...

Andrews, TX(Zone 8a)

Really stunning friend you have there! Far out! I have no idea how to go about trading or giving away, but I am most willing to do what I need to do on my end to make a deal!? Seriously! I would be really delighted to make a piece of your cholla an official Texan. Sounds off color! If you are willing, please direct me accordingly... :). I believe I have several trade options.

Mesa, AZ(Zone 9b)

Kbh, we can sort something out. Your timing is off, just a month ago I drove through Texas from AZ to the Austin area got relatively speaking pretty close to you there. ;-)

It is probably best for me to see how they turn out towards the end of our really hot weather here, which is going to be a little while. Some have only just shown some new growth and I think they might need awhile longer before being uprooted and stuck in a hot stuffy box for a bunch of days.

Andrews, TX(Zone 8a)

I apologize for my premature excitement. I feel kind of like a child must feel in a toy store! I never had an affinity for commercial toys, so I am only speculating. Trying to use a culturally appropriate metaphor.

The vast expanse that is "Texas" is all in my neighborhood coming from your direction!

If you don't mind, I would like to keep an eye on the progress of your beautiful cholla. Would you be willing to continue posting progress?

Mesa, AZ(Zone 9b)

Absolutely, I should be able to take some pictures of the smaller plantings some today or tomorrow.


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