Pterocactus tuberosus

My Pterocactus tuberosus in bloom in May

     Native to northern Argentina, Pterocactus tuberosus is a thin stemmed trailing cactus that forms a large underground caudex over time. It is related to the Opuntias but has been given it's own tribe and genus. Like other Opuntoids, Pterocactus stems break off easily and root easily. It is the plants primary means of propagation.
     Pterocactus should be grown in a fast draining cactus mix. They need full sun and moderate water spring through fall, but should be kept dry through the winter. In most cases Pterocactus stems break off or die back by winter, but most growers prune them back at this time to produce more cutting stock and encourage fresh new growth in spring. Flowers are yellow and produced from the tips of the stems.

May Flowers
Closer View
Closer Still

Ugly Duckling becomes a Swan.
The tale of "Pterrence the Pterrible" Pterocactus

     I love poking around in our nurseries greenhouses. You never know what you might find forgotten and neglected in some cluttered corner. One day at Tanque Verde Greenhouses I came across Terrence. Terrence was horribly overgrown, in dire need of a haircut and a shave, and just begging to have his caudex raised a few more inches. So I took him home, cleaned him up and re-potted him. He didn't grow much the first year but did give me a few flowers. Then season two 2013, Wow! The incredible flower display above is after two years of growth since his rescue.

Overgrown and Neglected
Cleaned up and Re-potted
Close Up of the Caudex
First Growth
Off to a Slow Start
Gnarly Stems and First Buds
Flower Buds Closeup
First Flowers, Spring 2012
All images and text are copyright 2005-present D.S. Franges, unless otherwise noted.