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One of Anne Swithinbank's favourite cacti, Cephalocereus senilis gets the common name of old man cactus from the bristly white hairs that cover it. It is found growing wild in rocky areas in Central Mexico and so enjoys good drainage. Plant in cactus compost with added grit and grow in a well-lit spot. Water moderately during the growing season and give a low-nitrogen liquid feed once a month. During the winter, keep completely dry and move to a cooler spot, away from radiators which may cause it to carry on growing when it should be resting. Its pink flowers are produced in summer, although you may not notice them as they only appear at night.
Plant type: Cactus or succulent
Flower colour: Pink
Sun exposure: Full sun
Soil: Well-drained/light, Dry, Sandy
Hardiness: Half hardy
Skill level: Beginner
Time to plant seeds: March to April
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