Here’s some collected Tricochereus pachanoi questions we’re often asked – a San Pedro cactus FAQ. We’ll be greatly expanding this page over the coming months, so do keep checking back if you’re interested in the subject…
A San Pedro Cactus FAQ
Are Trichocereus cacti toxic?
As with many other cacti and plant species, some Lophophora and Trichocereus cacti contain chemicals called alkaloids, so should be kept out of reach of small children and animals. Although unlikely to cause serious injury or death, accidental ingestion of these cacti may cause nausea, and vomiting, as well as variations in blood pressure, heart rate and breathing. Please don’t eat these beautiful cacti!
Do Trichocereus cactus produce fruit?
It’s a fact that the majority of Trichocereus cacti do produce fruit, which is apparently somewhat akin to a Dragon Fruit in taste and texture (flavours reportedly range from quite mild to sweet). Commonly vibrant shades of red, green or yellow on its outer surface, mature Trichocereus fruit splits to indicate its ripeness, exposing its white-to-cream-coloured flesh to all. Top tip: We’re told that Trichocereus fruit taste sweeter when the inner flesh is allowed to turn slightly brown over a few days before harvesting!
How to grow San Pedro cacti from seed?
Personally, we always prefer to start our Trichocereus cacti from seed using this slight variation on the popular ‘Takeaway Tek’ (which works very well for many other species of cacti too).
Essentially, growing a San Pedro (or other) cactus via this route involves simply filling a plastic takeaway-type container with growing medium,(two parts sieved soil to one-part Perlite and one-part Moler clay works well), adding adequate water to make it moist but not soggy, then sowing the seeds. The last step is to seal the whole thing inside a labelled transparent plastic Ziploc bag and leave it alone somewhere warm in bright to partial shade. Don’t open the bag for at least six months (unless mold starts to form)!
Using only common household materials (and several of these can be recycled at that) and being very much “set and forget” in style, this is a great technique whether you’re new to growing or an experienced cultivator!
Should I fertilise my San Pedro cactus? What kind of fertiliser should I use?
As with most cactus species, all Trichocereus cacti welcome an occasional dose of low-nitrogen, high-phosphorous fertiliser. We usually add some to roughly every fourth watering over the spring and summer months. In sensible amounts, this type of cactus fertiliser should help to encourage faster growth, optimal tissue consistency and root development.
One other thing: although it might seem tempting to try applying a higher-nitrogen fertiliser to dramatically increase growth rate, this can also result in damaged and generally weaker plants in long run. You have been warned!
What is the legal status of Trichocereus cacti?
As many Trichocereus cactus species contain alkaloids, some countries consider their possession illegal in one form or another. Please note that it is your responsibility to confirm any seed or plant you order from Arkham’s Botanical is legal in your country, as it’s impossible for us to keep up with the entire global legal framework!
We will only sell you these beautiful cacti for ornamental purposes, and will only ship to countries which permit this usage. In light of this, please do not ask us any questions relating to illegal activity of any kind – any such requests will be ignored and we may refuse to do business with you in future. We bear no responsibility for your actions!
Where to find San Pedro cactus? or Where’s the best place to buy San Pedro cactus seed online?
Well, if you’re looking to order San Pedro seeds, we’re of course obliged to offer ourselves forward as a good place to start… When you buy San Pedro seeds from Arkham’s Botanical’s wide range of Trichocereus standard, hybrid and other species types (the largest in the UK and Europe, we believe), you know that you’re in good hands! To maximise the chances of good seed germination rates, it’s essential to ensure your source sells fresh and correctly-identified genetics. Moreover, we believe it’s vital to only deal in sustainable and ethically-harvested seed. Why not try us out and see whether we deliver on our promises?
Which soil is best for growing San Pedro cacti?
San Pedro are pretty hardy cacti which are happy to grow in a variety of soils and other growing mediums. In an attempt to mimic their plants’ natural habitats, serious Trichocereus collectors often choose a growing mixture comprising materials such as animal faeces, blood and bone meal, limestone, peat, perlite, potting soil, sand and vermiculite.
For the more casual San Pedro (or other cactus species) gardener, however, we recommend growing the cacti in an equal mix of John Innes No.2 (or generic) cactus soil (always break up and/or sieve out any larger pieces of organic matter) and perlite (or a similar volcanic rock). To improve drainage, we also recommend adding a one to two centimetre deep layer of stones or clay fragments at the bottom of the pot.