A Cephalocereus senilis in my garden
Native to Mexico, Cephalocereus senilis is a slow growing columnar cactus known for their hairy appearance. The hairs are actually modified spines that help protect the plant from sun and cold. Real spines are hidden underneath. So the urge to pet them should be discouraged. Extremely slow growing, a Cepahlocereus can take twenty years to reach a height of two feet. It is reported that very old specimens in the wild can grow to fifty feet but rarely exceed three feet in cultivation. A night bloomer, plants at least twenty years old can produce trumpet shaped pink, yellow or white flowers followed by rose colored fruits.
Cephalocereus is similar to other cacti in cultivation but care must be taken in watering. They are rot prone when young. Some additional pumice or perlite added to the mix is essential. Water moderately during the growing season and very little in winter. If the silky hairs become dirty, they can be washed with a mild shampoo and carefully combed. Propagate cephalocereus from seeds or cuttings.