Austrocylindropuntia subulata is a giant, tree-like cactus that can add a splash of color to any garden.
This guide will discuss how to grow Eve’s Needle Cactus from young seedlings all the way to mature cacti. Included are tips for properly watering and instructions on repotting your cactus when needed.
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About Austrocylindropuntia subulata
Austrocindropuntia subulata is an incredibly large tree-like branching succulent or cactus, growing to almost 13 feet in the wild. However, it remains much shorter in cultivation and can be kept as a potted houseplant.
It branches heavily, dividing into multiple sections that all grow simultaneously. The trunk or stem is divided into cylindrical sections, each bearing one or two leaves. The awl-like leaves are usually yellow-ish green in color but have been known to mature into a darker green color. They can grow to a maximum length of 5 inches on mature plants.
Related Article: Different types of Cactus Plants
Areolas are interspersed all along the length of branches bearing one or two large yellow spines.
This cactus is native to the Peruvian Andes, where it can be seen growing on rocky slopes or even on the sides of sandstone cliffs. However, it is undergone extensive naturalization in other areas of the world as well, like Argentina, Bolivia, and Europe.
|Botanical Name||Austrocindropuntia subulata|
|Common Name||Eve’s Needle Cactus|
|Origin||Peruvian Andes, Bolivia, Argentina|
|Bloom color||Red, Orange, Green|
|Soil||Well-Drained, Loamy, Sandy|
|Tolerant||Deer, Drought, Rabbit|
Austrocylindropuntia subulata Care
Eve’s Needle Cactus are hardy and easy to care for but require special attention to keep them healthy. The best way to care for this type of aloe is in pots with excellent drainage so as not to overwater the plant.
These cacti do best in full sun or bright indirect light. They can tolerate some shade, but it will result in a shorter plant with less-vibrant coloration.
Indoors, they need to sit by the sunniest window you can provide.
The best soil for Eve’s Needle Cactus is a light, sandy mix with excellent drainage. You can achieve this by combining perlite, vermiculite, or sand in your potting mix.
The best way to water Eve’s Needle Cactus is by allowing the soil to dry out completely between watering. This way, you can always avoid the risk of overwatering or standing water.
These plants are drought-tolerant once established and don’t need as much water as other plants. Reduce watering cadence in the winter.
Temperature and Humidity
The best temperature for Eve’s Needle Cactus is between 55 and 85 degrees Fahrenheit. In addition, this plant is native to arid regions and does not appreciate high humidity, so keep it away from drafty windows or doors and provide plenty of airflow in your home.
Avoid frost at all costs. It can’t handle below-freezing temperatures unless kept bone dry. Even a little bit of moisture when cold can spell disaster.
Eve’s Needle Cactus doesn’t require fertilizer but can benefit from adding slow-release balanced fertilizer or water-soluble plant food. If you choose to fertilize your plant, only do so in the spring and summer months. It’s important not to overfeed this desert dweller, as too much nitrogen will cause it to grow faster but with less attractive growth.
Eve’s Needle Cactus is best pruned in the springtime when it’s starting to grow. You can remove any dead or damaged stems and leaves with a sharp pair of scissors, ensuring that you don’t cut into any live portions of the plant.
Potting and Repotting Eve’s Needle Cactus
Austrocylindropuntia subulata can be potted in a variety of ways. If the plant is small, you can place it directly into a container with drainage holes at the bottom; for larger plants, start with a saucer and then add soil on top.
Be sure that your cactus has enough space in its container to grow freely before placing it outside; otherwise, you may need to transplant it again later on.
Repot in the spring or summer when the growth period is in full swing.
How to Repot (Step-by-Step)
- Remove the cactus from its old pot. Carefully loosen the soil around it with your fingers and gently pull it out.
- Fill in the new pot with potting soil.
- Place the cactus in the center of its new pot and gently pack in more soil around it, ensuring there are no air pockets.
- Water thoroughly to help settle the new soil around your plant.
Propagating Austrocylindropuntia subulata by Stem Division (Step-by-Step)
Austrocylindropuntia subulata is incredibly easy to propagate by stem division. Select a healthy stem with plenty of pads (sections), and plant these pads separately.
In only a couple of months, you will have juvenile specimens growing in however many pots you desire.
- Choose a healthy plant with many pads on it.
- Cut off a branch with the desired pads.
- Separate each pad individually and allow their cut ends to callus over for a few days.
- Place these pieces in a separate container filled with potting soil or sand.
- Water the soil or sand and place it in a warm location. Keep the soil moist.
- Once new roots have formed, transplant each piece of your new plant into its own pot filled with potting soil.
Blooms are produced on the tips of the stems. These are usually red and orange in color and add a burst of color when they appear.
Unfortunately, cultivated Eve’s Needle Cacti rarely flower and rarely display flowers unless particular conditions are met.
Austrocylindropuntia subulata is non-toxic. However, its spines are incredibly sharp and can injure on contact. Avoid planting near pets and small children.
NOTE: This page is not intended as a substitute for veterinary advice. The toxicity of an ingested substance varies depending on the amount ingested, the animal’s weight, and its sensitivity to specific allergens. Contact your veterinarian or local animal poison control center immediately if you think your pet may have ingested a toxic substance.
Mealybugs are a common pest in all cactus plants. They are small, white insects that will appear on the stems and leaves of your cactus. If left untreated, they can spread to other plants in your collection and cause damage. Mealybugs can be treated using neem oil or insecticidal soap.
Scale insects are another common pest of cactus plants. They appear as small bumps on the stems and leaves of your plant. If left untreated, they can spread to other plants in your collection and cause damage. Scale insects can also be treated using neem oil or insecticidal soap.
Spider Mites are common pests of succulents and cacti. They are tiny, red in color, and move quickly over the surface of your plant. These pests can cause yellowing or browning leaves and distorted new growth. If you see small webs on your plant’s stems or leaves, you likely have spider mites.
- Placing under harsh sunlight
- Using poorly drained potting mediums
- Fertilizing during dormancy