San Pedro Cactus FAQ

Here’s some collected Trichocereus pachanoi questions we’re often asked – a San Pedro cactus FAQ. We’ll be greatly expanding this page over time, so do keep checking back if you’re interested in the subject…

A San Pedro Cactus FAQ

Are Trichocereus cacti toxic?

As with many other cacti and plant species, some Lophophora and Trichocereus cacti contain chemicals called alkaloids, so should be kept out of reach of small children and animals. Although unlikely to cause serious injury or death, accidental ingestion of these cacti may cause nausea, and vomiting, as well as variations in blood pressure, heart rate and breathing. Please don’t eat these beautiful cacti!

Do Trichocereus cactus produce fruit?

It’s a fact that the majority of Trichocereus cacti do produce fruit, which is apparently somewhat akin to a Dragon Fruit in taste and texture (flavours reportedly range from quite mild to sweet). Commonly vibrant shades of red, green or yellow on its outer surface, mature Trichocereus fruit splits to indicate its ripeness, exposing its white-to-cream-coloured flesh to all. Top tip: We’re told that Trichocereus fruit taste sweeter when the inner flesh is allowed to turn slightly brown over a few days before harvesting!

How to grow San Pedro cacti from seed?

Personally, we always prefer to start our Trichocereus cacti from seed using this slight variation on the popular ‘Takeaway Tek’ (which works very well for many other species of cacti too).

Essentially, growing a San Pedro (or other) cactus via this route involves simply filling a plastic takeaway-type container with growing medium (two parts sieved soil to one-part Perlite and one-part Moler clay works well), adding adequate water to make it moist but not soggy, then sowing the seeds. The last step is to seal the whole thing inside a labelled transparent plastic Ziploc bag and leave it alone somewhere warm in bright to partial shade. We ventilate such seedlings whenever we remember to, although some people prefer to leave the bags sealed for many months at a time.

Using only common household materials (and several of these can be recycled at that) and being very much “set and forget” in style, this is a great technique whether you’re new to growing or an experienced cultivator!

Should I fertilise my San Pedro cactus? What kind of fertiliser should I use?

As with most cactus species, all Trichocereus cacti welcome an occasional dose of low-nitrogen, high-phosphorous fertiliser. We usually add some to roughly every fourth watering over the spring and summer months. In sensible amounts, this type of cactus fertiliser should help to encourage faster growth, optimal tissue consistency and root development.

One other thing: although it might seem tempting to try applying a higher-nitrogen fertiliser to dramatically increase growth rate, this can also result in damaged and generally weaker plants in long run. You have been warned!

What is the legal status of Trichocereus cacti?

As many Trichocereus cactus species contain alkaloids, some countries consider their possession illegal in one form or another. Furthermore, some species are considered endangered in the wild, and so may be restricted in your local area. Please note that it is your responsibility to confirm any ornamental seed or plant you order from Freaky Cacti is legal in your country, as it’s impossible for us to keep up with the entire global legal framework!

Where to find ‘San Pedro’ cacti? And where’s the best place to buy ‘San Pedro’ cactus seed online?

Well, if you’re looking to order ‘San Pedro’ cacti, we’re of course obliged to offer ourselves forward as a good place to start… When you purchase from Freaky Cacti’s wide range of Trichocereus standard, hybrid and other species types (one of the largest in Europe, we believe), you know that you’re in good hands! Moreover, we believe it’s vital to only deal in sustainable and ethically-harvested plants and seeds. Why not try us out and see whether we deliver on our promises?

Which soil is best for growing ‘San Pedro’ and other Trichocereus cacti?

‘San Pedro’-type plants are pretty hardy cacti, which are happy to grow in a variety of soils and other growing mediums. In an attempt to mimic their plants’ natural habitats, serious Trichocereus collectors often choose a growing mixture comprising materials such as animal faeces, blood and bone meal, limestone, peat, perlite, potting soil, sand and vermiculite.

For the more casual Trichocereus (or other cactus) gardener, however, we recommend growing the cacti in an equal mix of cactus or potting soil (always breaking up and/or sieving out any larger pieces of organic matter) and perlite (or a similar volcanic rock). To improve drainage, we also recommend adding a one to two-centimetre-deep layer of stones or clay fragments at the bottom of the pot.