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San Pedro Cacti Growing Guide


Nathan Tinder @ Galactic Cactus

San Pedro Cacti are the Genus Trichocereus Pachanoi, natively as Huachuma, Wachuma or Achuma. In this Genus Trichocereus there are many different types of Cacti known as the San Pedro Group - Trichocereus Peruvianus (Peruvian Torch), Trichocereus Bridgesii (Bolivian Torch), and Trichocereus Scopulicola (Smooth Feminine Cactus) are some of the main types. All of these plants are similar but have subtle differences. These plants come from Peru, Ecuador, Chile, Argentina, Bolivia, and many other places. These are mountain Cactus, accustomed to more mountainous climates and soil rather than Desert Cactus like Saguaro and Peyote.

San Pedro Cacti Care

Trichocereus Cactus are very easy to take care of and are great companions. The biggest problem people face is taking too good of care of them by watering them too much which can kill them. They like the same things we like, not too hot, not too cold, lots of air and cozy space. The more space, water and food they have, the faster they will grow.


They like a good standard potting soil with extra drainage. We usually get a good potting soil like Ocean Forest or Happy Frog and add 1/3 extra pumice, perlite, or lava rock. Drainage is very helpful for making the soil lighter so that the cacti do not stay wet too long. A regular soil will do as long as you don’t over water, but extra drainage will definitely make them last longer and be happier. DO NOT USE “Cactus Soil.”


They like well-draining pots with holes in the bottom. Clay pots work well but need to be watered more often and sometimes best to soak them in a dish full of water. We prefer plastic pots in hot arid climates and clay pots in coastal humid climates. We always wait at least a week to water after transplanting which allows for roots to heal. Cactus heal by drying out. This calluses them against mold and infection. All succulents and Cacti like to dry out for this reason. A 3” tall cactus needs a small pot. A 10” cactus needs a gallon pot. An 18” cactus needs a 3-gallon pot. The bigger the pot, the faster they grow. Bigger pots need to be watered less often.


Water when plants dry out. How do you know plants are dry? Pick up the pot and feel if it is hollow, dig your finger in the top 2-3 inches, and if dry, then water. Spring and Fall plants will need less water. Summertime plants will need more water. I stop watering in November and start watering again in March. That’s right, no water for many months, even for cactus inside. This allows them to go dormant and rest. On average, we water plants once a week in spring and fall and twice a week in summertime. We never water a wet plant. If you are going out of town for a month, Cacti will be fine not being watered, they just won’t grow quite as much.


Mountain Cacti love food. We give them the same food we give to our garden or house plants, and feed them every two weeks. Treat them like you do your tomatoes, and they will thrive. Don’t feed them and they will thrive as well! We don’t recommend high nitrogen foods, rather nice balanced organic foods are best. We love Botanicare and Dr. Earth. Cacti love minerals as well - Calcium, Magnesium, and Azomite will all boost growth.


San Pedro Cacti love light! It is possible to grow in a Southern window, but cacti love to be outside. We recommend at least 4 hours of direct sun a day but Cacti will grow in less. If they start growing skinnier than they already are (itolation), it means they want more light. If Cacti are in low light conditions (inside for winter dormancy) they need to be slowly introduced to sun or they will sunburn. Introduce to full sun slowly, start in dappled shade for a week, then move to sunnier and sunnier spots as they get used to the sun over a few weeks.

Winter Dormancy

In northern climates where temperatures get below 22 degrees F, cacti need to be brought inside the house or greenhouse for wintertime. For the ones that will come into the house for the winter, we move them outside under covered porches, or somewhere protected from rain, until they dry out well and have experienced plenty of cold and frost but temperatures are still above 22 degrees F. This allows the plants to go dormant so they can be inside adjusted to low light conditions. For us in Ashland, Oregon, this means bringing plants inside in December. We love bringing our plants in to enjoy at our altar! We don’t water until we bring our plants outside around the end of March or early April, depending on weather. Then we slowly introduce to the sun.

For the greenhouse cacti, we make sure the greenhouse stays above 22 degrees, and we don’t water late November through March. We also put light garden cloth over them for the winter while in the greenhouse. If temps are going to be below 22 outside, we run a heater in the greenhouse, which is rare around our area.


Many bugs love to eat cacti as well. Spider Mites, Thrips, and Mealy bugs are common pests that are attracted to the Cacti. Most can be treated with diluted Rubbing alcohol to about 30 percent. We also like Spinosad.


Cacti love to be Loved. The more you love them, the more they will love you back. Most Cacti Growers end up sitting and staring/meditating with their plants. We wonder Why? San Pedro Cacti also love Music and Dance. Try playing music with their spines. These plants have clear, coherent, resonant energetic fields. By sitting with them, WE become more resonant and coherent. We love to turn our plants into beautiful altars, adding little statues, crystals, and beautiful pots. They seem to love being decorated too.

We hope you have a wonderful relationship with your new friend or friends. Check out Galactic-Cactus for more! We have a wide variety of sacred cactus as well as awesome merchandise with our mascot Buddha Guru. Our vision is to get a cactus friend in every home!

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