Totem pole cacti are one of the most popular plants in the garden. They grow well in almost any climate conditions. They prefer moist soil with good drainage. They require lots of sunlight, but they will tolerate some shade if it’s not too hot or cold.
They need a little water once every two weeks during dry seasons, but don’t overwater them because they tend to rot very easily when that happens!
Cultivars have been developed to produce a larger yield than their parent variety. Some cultivars are known to produce up to three times as much fruit as the parent variety. Cultivar names include “Gardenia”, “Dwarf” and “Pineapple”.
The best time of year for planting totem pole cacti is between April and June. During these months they’re ready for transplanting into your home’s ground space.
In order to get the best results from your new plant, make sure that it gets plenty of light. If you live in a shaded area, then you’ll want to place your totem pole cactus in a sunny window. Otherwise, you can put it outside where there’s some indirect sun exposure. Make sure that the soil around the base of the plant is loose and free draining so that roots do not rot underfoot.
The totem pole cactus is an evergreen succulent which usually grows to a maximum height of around 2,3 feet. It has thick stems and pads with scale-like leaves that grow in clusters.
It produces flowers in late winter to spring that are a pale yellow color. The flowers are tubular shaped, up to 4 inches long and have a faint sweet smell. Pollination is done by insects such as honeybees, bumblebees and thrip.
There are two main groups of totem pole cacti. They are distinguished by their number of ribs, which can either be one or several.
The one-ribbed type tends to have a more upright growth pattern and a taller stature. The fleshy pads that grow on the stems may take on a star-like shape. This type is believed to produce sweeter and richer flavoured fruit.
The multi-ribbed type has shorter stems and are broader in shape. The fruit are also believed to have a less sweet and less rich flavour.
The totem pole cactus is also known as the Hylocereus Undatus
Totem pole cactus can be grown from seed. The seeds should be sown in spring or autumn in well draining compost that isn’t too wet. Place the seeds 1 inch deep in the soil and keep it evenly moist, not soaking but not too dry either. Germination should occur in 2 to 4 weeks.
The seedlings should be planted out when they are around 6 inches high. Space the plants 2 feet apart.
If your climate doesn’t have enough frost, you can grow a flowering plant all year round by using protection such as a cold frame or greenhouse.
Totem pole cacti can suffer from a few different types of pests such as aphids, mealy bugs and spider mites. They can be treated using recommended pesticides.
Like most cacti and succulents totem pole cacti are prone to fungal infections if the conditions are too damp. Make sure that the area where you’re growing your plants is well draining and doesn’t stay wet for long periods of time.
Sources & references used in this article:
The great cacti: ethnobotany & biogeography by S Asakawa, J Bagnasco, S Buchanan – 2014 – Cool Springs Press
Patterns on Desert Plants by D Yetman – 2007 – books.google.com
Selecting and Growing House Plants by J Phillips – 2014 – Cool Springs Press
Indoor Landscaping with Living Foliage Plants. by AC Newell, PD Shipman, TJ Cooke – 2012 – repository.arizona.edu
Foliage Plants in the Home. by HM Cathey – 1962 – books.google.com
Care of house plants (revised 1970) by AF DeWerth – Texas FARMER Collection, 1972 – oaktrust.library.tamu.edu
Care of house plants (revised 1979) by AF Dewerth – Miscellaneous Publication/Texas Agricultural …, 1956 – oaktrust.library.tamu.edu
The jaguar that roams the mind: An Amazonian plant spirit odyssey by RE Widmer – 1970 – conservancy.umn.edu