Cleistocactus strausii

Cleistocactus strausii in bloom. Amazed!?!? We are!
Beautiful crimson flowers.
This species long, funnelform flowers never open past what is pictured here.

Cleistocactus strausii is indigenous to the mountainous regions of Argentina and Bolivia. This species requires well-draining soil and prefers strong, full sunlight. Conversely, it does not like extremely high temperatures. Mirroring what the Cleistocactus strausii's natural habitat provides, a regular watering schedule should be followed during the summer months.

During the winter months (50°F - 59°F -- natural habitat), keep the cactus nearly completely dry. Amazingly, this cactus is reported to be hardy down to 14°F for short periods. It is always best, however, to either cover the plant or bring it inside if a cold snap is predicted. When sheltering your friend, make sure to prop the cover up with a stick or pole to ensure that they do not get crushed under the weight.

The Cleistocactus strausii has a green stem that takes on a silvery-grey appearance due to its short, whitish spines. These little spines cover the entirety of the cactus. Its columnar stem sports 25 narrow ribs with approximately 30 longer, white spines and 4 thicker pale yellow spines. At the base of the plant, branching is typical. The newer stems normally grow in an upright fashion, attached to their mother plant. This species has deep red, tubular flowers that grow from its areolas at the top of the main stems. Flowers are 3" - 4" in length, bloom throughout the summer months and never fully open. Hummingbirds are drawn to the cactus' flowers. At full maturity, this species reaches an approximate height of 10'.

The Cleistocactus strausii is a good choice for beginners wanting an exotic houseplant. As long as close attention is given to the watering schedule, it is quite easy to cultivate. Even when cultivated indoors, this cactus is likely to flower when provided with adequate light. This species is often used as a landscape plant and/or as a potted patio accent piece. As this is a drought tolerant species, it is certainly suitable for xeriscaping (i.e., cactus/succulent gardens, rock gardens etc...).



1. Great choice for beginners wanting an exotic houseplant (avoid overwatering)
2. Easy to cultivate (indoors/outdoors)


1. This cactus is likely to flower indoors when provided with adequate light
2. Hummingbirds are drawn to/pollinate the cactus' flowers


1. This species is often used as a landscape plant and/or as a potted patio accent piece
2. Drought tolerant species, suitable for xeriscaping (i.e., cactus/succulent gardens, rock gardens etc...)


Borzicactus strausii (Heese) A.Berger
Cephalocereus strausii (Heese) Houghton
Cereus strausii (Heese) Vaupel
Denmoza strausii (Heese) Frič
Pilocereus strausii Heese
Cleistocactus nivosus Borg

Plant Details
USDA Zone Information: 
9a - 11
Flower : 
Ideal Light Conditions: 
Sun to partial shade (avoid extremely hot temperatures)
Ideal Water Conditions: 
Moderate in summer/Dry in winter
Speed of Growth: 
Mature Height: 
Mature Width: 
Latin Name: 
Cleistocactus strausii
Common Name: 
Silver Torch Cactus

Corporate Clients (The King hangs hard)


RoboCop (1987)
RoboCop 2 (1990)
Hot Pursuit (2015)


USA Network's Queen of the South (2019)

Botanical Gardens:

New York Botanical Gardens
Oklahoma City Zoo/Botanical Gardens
Mercer Arboretum in Houston, Texas
Meijer Gardens in Grand Rapids, Michigan


Houston, TX Zoo
San Antonio, TX Zoo

Other Clientele:

Houston, TX Rodeo

The Cactus King's cacti and succulents have gone international! If you ever find yourself in China with a little spare time, head to the Chimelong Ocean Kingdom. It is the largest Aquarium in the world (no big deal, pun definitely intended).

The Cactus King's plants are also featured in the Chimelong Ocean Kingdom's partner parks. These include their water park, amusement park, crocodile park and botanical gardens.

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Addresses & Contact Information

Physical Address (IN-PERSON VISITS):
7900 I-45N
Houston TX, 77037

We're located directly next to the Tajj Inn.
Mailing Address (WEB ORDER PAYMENTS):

Lyn Rathburn
PO Box 16099
Houston, TX 77222

Please make checks/money orders out to "Lyn Rathburn."
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