How to care for a Peruvian Old Man Cactus

Peruvian Old Man Cacti, also called Snowball Cacti or Cotton Ball Cacti, are easy plants to care for. They’re desert plants so they require plenty of sunlight and don’t need to be watered for several days after their soil has fully dried. In the winter, you can water them even less. Be careful or their hair though, it may look luxurious but it’s good at hiding pests. No sweat, just don’t overwater your cactus. If cared for properly, these plants can live to be 200 years old!

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  • Very little
  • Once every three years
  • Bright, direct
  • Not toxic but thorny
  • Once a month in summer

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  • Peruvian Old Man Cacti occur naturally in Peru and Ecuador. They belong to the genus Espostoa, named in honour of Peruvian botanist Nicolas E. Esposto
  • Cacti make awesome air purifiers. Easy!
  • While Peruvian Old Man Cacti aren’t toxic, they’ve got sharp thorns hidden under all that hair. We recommend you keep them away from pets and children.
  • Water your plant until the water drains from the pot. Wait until the soil has been fully dry for several days before watering again. In the winter, you can water it even less to encourage dormancy.
  • Peruvian Old Man Cacti need bright, direct sunlight. The more light you can provide the better. In the winter, you can place your cactus somewhere cooler than usual to encourage dormancy. Otherwise it produces weak growth that only serves to sap nutrients from the rest of the plant.
  • Peruvian Old Man Cacti appreciate a cactus fertilizer every month or so in spring and summer. Leave it altogether in winter months when the old man is sleepoing zzZZzz.
  • Peruvian Old Man Cacti are slow growing and don’t need to be repotted until their roots have wrapped around their current pot. This may take several years
  • These plants don’t usually flower when kept indoors. Pruning is also not recommended, but it’s not a bad idea to comb their hair once in a while.
  • Unfortunately, their thick hair is the perfect environment for pests like scale and mealybugs. To keep your plant healthy, avoid overwatering.

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