Saturday, October 15, 2011

Octopus Cactus

I've become one of "those" people as I plant varieties of cacti around the gardens.  Recently, I have been interested in different kinds of cacti for the landscape.  The more unusual the better.  This year has, in part, been a chronicle of those journeys.  It has been about identifying plants in the landscape which thrive here in our Tucson gardens.  It's no secret that cacti do extremely well here.  A lot of people think all cacti look alike and well, maybe at first they do.  But the more you work with them, the more you begin to see the subtle differences. I'm getting really good with the Opuntia varieties!!  Today's plant focus is on the Octopus Cactus.  A friend had this large cactus growing in her yard and offered me a segment.  I took a piece and put in the gardens at El Presidio.  Since May, it has rooted and grown, in my opinion, pretty quickly.  There are some fun names for cacti and this particular plant carries on that fine cacti tradition.  A close up on the areole's reveal some color and beautiful looking spines....just be careful.

A lot of people want to know what this cactus looks like large.  Look at my friend's pool by the chairs and you'll see how big this tentacled monster can get.  It actually looks like an octopus!  It likes sun with a little bit more water than other cacti during our hot summer months.  I do give this variety a little shade, but once it's established you don't need to worry too much about sun. What I love most about this prickly plant is the color changes that it makes throughout the year.  It sometimes will look all purple while at other times, it's green with hints of purple underneath.  The species is native to Mexico and can be found around the Sonoran region near Hermosillo. It makes a great barrier and will keep people out.  It can be frost tender.  If you're looking for a little variety in your cacti and succulent garden, I highly recommend you try this plant out.  It's really unique and will add some color contrast to all the greens from the other plants.  More tomorrow.....


  1. What an interesting cactus! I like the pattern of the spikes. I'm also fascinated by the different designs of cactus.

  2. My friend has a fascination with cacti and has her whole sunroom filled with them, which makes it very dangerous to clean in there. Can't tell you how many various body parts she has gotten cactus spines in.

  3. Wow - what an amazing cactus! Looks like a man-eater!

  4. Neat cactus! It really does look like an octopus.


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