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Trichocereus Cold Hardiness - Experiences?


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#1 Guest_zekesdream_*

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Posted 22 December 2006 - 08:52 PM

Wondering if anyone has tried growing Trichocereus cacti outdoors in below freezing temperatures? and your experiences/results? How cold? What USDA Hardiness Zone? Had tips die? Whole plant die? Which species?

I have Pachanoi's growing outdoors in Zone 7, pushing it's limits I know. And I will attempt to grow Peruvianus var. Matucana here as well. My Pachanoi's did just fine down to 30 F, but tips began suffering after 3 consecutive nights down to 25 F (PICTURE ATTACHED), with daytimes of 55 F.

Experiences, thoughts, etc?

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#2 spacecake

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Posted 22 December 2006 - 09:18 PM

It cannot stand frost,cells will be destroyed and you will end up getting a mushi cacti..all soft and dead.

#3 TVCasualty

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Posted 22 December 2006 - 09:39 PM

I've tried growing it in a way-too-cold area (sometimes got to 5 degrees F) and it didn't like that at all. It seemed to struggle through and survive the temps you mentioned (mid 20's), but I lost the tips. The only way it survived at all was the cold frame I built around it, then the quick'n'dirty PVC/plastic sheeting greenhouse erected over the cold frame.

I would recommend (for a few cacti) growing in pots, and taking them in for winter or freezes.

Otherwise, I'd build a perimeter of strawbales around the cactus patch and cover with glass (I like big old glass sliding doors, I grab 'em from renovation jobs sometimes).

Strawbales allow for stacking of bales high enough to cover the tops of the cactus with the glass (unless you got a real tall cactus). Stack them in staggered courses like cinderblocks and try to cover the top row from direct exposure to rain/snow so the setup lasts longer (side exposure is ok). It will still only last through one cold season, but is real cheap and you could even inoculate the straw with something (I haven't done that, but I have built strawbale cold frames).

For utterly cheap and quick, get a strawbale and cut the twine. Fluff up the loose straw and fully cover the cactus patch. Try to pile the loose straw at least a foot over the tops. You can use a trashbag that you cut the closed end off of as a cylinder to hold the straw around the cactus if it's real tall. Ain't purty but it'll work. There isn't photosynthesis going on at those temps anyhow.

Good Luck!

#4 Guest_twizzz_*

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Posted 22 December 2006 - 10:04 PM

I've heard that certain ttichs are cold hardy to 20, but I would think that there is more to it than just the temp.

For instance 20 degrees and a wet atmosphere might do more dammage than a dry atmosphere at 20.

If it hits 20 just before dawn, than the sun hits it at sunrise, it might do alright.

The plant isn't going to like it at 20 but I'd think there would be cases where it could survive.

Certain soil ammendments could help streangthen the cell walls. Diotomateous earth might help.

I've seen san pedro growing in yards on the redwood coastal region of northern Cal where 80inches of rain a yearis typical on the nights it rains it will dip into the 30's and the nights it doesn't itll get down to 20 and there will be frost but once the sun comes up it gets mildly warm there in the winter.

I've seen photos of very large trichs in Oregon, and I've seen a monstorous San Pedro growing east of the Santa Ynez moutains, all these areas will get below freezing, the plants endure frost, but they dont get hit with 20 degree temps night after night and in these regions the day time temps are relativley mild compared to alot of other areas.

#5 Guest_zekesdream_*

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Posted 22 December 2006 - 10:15 PM

It seemed to struggle through and survive the temps you mentioned (mid 20's), but I lost the tips.


TVCasualty, When you lost tips, what did the plant do in the following spring/summer? (i.e. - sprout new growth near the top?)

Thanks for the excellent advice by the way!

#6 Guest_zekesdream_*

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Posted 22 December 2006 - 10:23 PM

Twizzz, thanks for the informative post.

I've heard many of the same things you mentioned, and I agree with you that success in cold temps likely depends on a lot of factors. For instance, I read that the larger the cactus is, the better it's chances because of the larger amount of latent heat stored in it's water content.

#7 Guest_twizzz_*

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Posted 23 December 2006 - 12:05 AM

Thats interesting about the size and self generated heat.

My freind has nine rooted trichs and another 15 or 16 rooting and countlesss seeds to be sprouted. Hes been speculating that to keep'em indo' for the winter or two before putting them out in the cold is the way to go. Putting them out first thing in the morning while it's still freezing and bringing them in late after its begun to freeze might be a good way to harden them off, til there big enough tohold there own. Some how alter there phenotype.

Cactus genericlly can withstand tremendous cold. It's fuckin cold in the mojave anza borego, all around vegas arizona and new mexico.

House plants generally get pampered and become phenotypic pussies...

#8 TVCasualty

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Posted 23 December 2006 - 08:14 AM

In my case it was the top inch or two that froze, and when thawed they got yellow then grey and mushy. So I hacked them off at an angle and after they callused over there were eventually new tips popping up around the edge of the cut. It wasn't a happy cactus, but it did grow.

#9 loochypooch

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Posted 26 December 2006 - 10:07 PM

An outdoor cactus farm in the desert I went to had a lot of San Pedros. I heard that it got down to 8 degrees there a while back. And the only reason any of the Pedros survived was because they had have not been watered in months (less water in the ribs to freeze). Some died and many probably will have deformed growth at the tip when spring comes, but foam cups were put over the tips of the cacti to avoid this.

My take is that you can grow these in colder climates but it takes skill and the end result is not pretty. Among other things it seems they get etoliation from lack of water. My cacti come in for the winter and are very fat and healthy.

#10 gardentoad

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Posted 28 December 2006 - 05:03 PM

When I had a hard freeze the tips of my Pedros froze and turned black. They then calloused off and sprouted new pups from the area. The hard freeze was very unusual weather for us and only lasted 2 days. They only suffered for a short while, not a whole season.

#11 Guest_zekesdream_*

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Posted 01 February 2007 - 07:15 PM

I think Mother Nature has answered my question. The pics speak for themselves. Again, USDA Zone 7 - Tips suffered a little more and more each night that it got below about 28-30 degrees F. Never got lower than about 23F.

These are pachanoi. Perhaps other species will prove more cold hardy, or less (bridgesii, peruvianus, terscheckii).

Anyone else been testing the limitis on your cacti this winter?

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#12 loochypooch

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Posted 01 February 2007 - 07:43 PM

Well, I'd certainly never keep them out in a snow, especially not without covering them with something. That's cactus cruelty...

#13 Boombloom

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Posted 01 February 2007 - 08:07 PM

Definately do not water in winter once the temp drops below 40. Ifyou cant bring em indoors at least cover them or block from wind. You can start to expect loss down at 20f.

#14 Jetson

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Posted 01 February 2007 - 10:00 PM

Poor little fella... :(
I'm still trying to nurse my baby through its rooting stage. It started sending out little roots, but a couple broke off from a careless repotting after a little spill.

#15 Guest_zekesdream_*

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Posted 02 February 2007 - 11:54 AM

Well, I'd certainly never keep them out in a snow, especially not without covering them with something. That's cactus cruelty...


some of us are stubborn and have to cross the line to accept that we've found it. or maybe it's just me that's stubborn.:eusa_wall

#16 rocketman

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Posted 02 February 2007 - 01:01 PM

seems as if they have really etiolated too during the winter. id keep them indoors, as i am in zone 7 and find now way to keep them happy outside without a greenhouse....winter months.

#17 Bobcat

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Posted 02 February 2007 - 01:31 PM

It all depends on how important that cactus is to you. I typically leave some things out that shouldn't be out. Mostly its a failure, but sometimes you get a winning strain. Im in zone 5/6 and have a calla lilly that survived last winter. We'll see about next year. I left some cannas in this year too.

These things also depend on the location of your planting. The side of the house, how near it is to large bodies of water (or other microclimates), close to foundations, amount of mulch, etc.

Good luck to you! We can grow various cacti outdoors in my area (like the optunia- but there are many more). Also some bananas and palms. It would be very cool if someone found a strain of T.pach. that could move north!

#18 Guest_beautypath_*

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Posted 24 June 2008 - 06:53 AM

My place in Southern Arizona at about 2700 feet has T. pachanoi, bridgesii, peruvianus, macrogonus and terscheckii, all permanently rooted outdoors. It got down to 20 degrees F here 2 winters ago and all except the terscheckii suffered some frost damage. Most damage was at the tips which either turned black or deformed.

#19 cactuswren

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Posted 24 June 2008 - 06:18 PM

In zone 8A, macrogonus and terscheckii [rooted and over 12" when planted] have survived several winters for me. I did cover them on a few occasions. More than a night or two below 20 would most likely be too much. All my other Trich's are in pots and indoors for the winter when the temp drops below 40.

#20 Phungivore

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Posted 16 May 2021 - 11:56 PM

bump , heard of some wrapping cacti in xmas tree lights and blankets or bubble wrap for coldest days, the guy i was talking to said when temps where dropping below 30 he would plug the lights in.


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