Focus On: Pachycereus pringlei 'Cardón'

Welcome to our Focus on post for this week. 

This week it's the turn of one of our favorite new little cactus friends. The Pachycereus Pringlei. Or more commonly known by it's Spanish name 'Cardón'. This is derived from a word meaning thistle in Spanish. 

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(Scroll all the way through for our Fun Fact 🤓)


 Focus on Pachycereus pringlei Cardon

Name Pachycereus Pringlei 'Cardón'
Common Names Cardón
Family Cactaceae
Max. height 19.2m/63ft (approx.)
Max. Spread 1m/3.3ft (approx.)
Foliage Evergreen 🌿
Type Tree-like (Arborescent)
Sunlight Full sun ☀️
Exposure Grows taller in protected environments. 
Watering Hardly ever. These hardy cacti can survive even where there's no soil!

 Full desert. Hot & Dry is perfect for these. 

Propagation Cuttings ✂️
Toxicity ☠️

Use extreme caution when handling due to prickly spines! A set of succulent tongs will really help in this regard!

cactus care


The  Pachycereus Pringlei ' Cardón' is a hardy cactus. It can survive in the harshest of desert environments. In these conditions they can also grow to enormous heights, giving it the nickname the elephant cactus or the Mexican giant Cardón. In the wild they have been known to grow up to 19.2m/63ft! To achieve this size can take hundreds of years. Its flowers come out at night and they are pollinated by bats!


These cacti have the incredible ability to grow actually without soil altogether. Growing on rocks in the middle of the desert. They have a special relationship with the bacteria and fungus that grow on their roots allowing them to all survive together with minimal water or soil!. Your  Pachycereus Pringlei ' Cardón' will rarely if ever need watering. Overwatering even slightly will definitely upset this one! For more tips on succulent watering check out our succulent care series.

How to plant🍴:

Plant in a very dry sandy soil. A specific succulent and cacti mix would work well, perhaps adding some extra pumice or sand. Cacti fertilizer may help, but again it may not even ben necessary.  


Your Cardón will propagate from cuttings. If you are cutting, make sure to cut off a whole branch. Be sure to use sharp shears and leave it to callous over for 3-5 days. Standing the cutting up in an empty pot when drying over will help it to grow roots from the calloused end when planting. 


Moisture - These cacti can survive month or even years with out being watered. Over watering will kill them. 

Nasties - Mealy bugs are the main one to watch out for. 

Fun Fact 🤓

Check out this video showing some of the largest of these Pachycereus Pringlei in the wild and the conditions they survive in. 


The Largest Cactus in the World from San Pedro River Videos on Vimeo.

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