Carnegiea gigantea- photos, root questions

elpaninaro(z9 TX)March 24, 2006

Hi all,

The big kid arrived today- just barely fit into a 3 foot long box and over 50 pounds. The plant looks beautiful, but the roots are quite a bit fewer in number and more dried out than I expected. This is my first time using the gallery forum, so I will try to upload shots of both the total plant (in box, I am waiting for help to get it out) and then a closeup up the roots. Any commentary on the rootstock and any special treatment I need to give is most welcome. Thanks! Tom.

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imjustgil(Z6 TN)

Did it come from calplants? I got several large plants from them last year. In fact, one Ferocactus (litispinis) came in with a short tap root and a small trailing root. I treated the plant like any other, and disinfected, added root hormone and potted it into its new home. I didn't water for about two weeks... it took about a month before I saw any actual new growth, but it did and is still doing wonderfully.


    Bookmark   March 24, 2006 at 1:45PM
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shrubs_n_bulbs(z8/9 UK)

Doesn't look great. Make sure that the brown area is firm and it should be able to grow new roots. The small brown roots don't look alive to me, but if they are then it will recover faster. You will basically have to treat it as a cutting and re-root it.

Here are the roots you can expect on even a small healthy F. latispinus. Imagine what there should be on a three foot Saguaro!

    Bookmark   March 24, 2006 at 2:03PM
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elpaninaro(z9 TX)

Thank you both for your comments. These did just come via mail from an eBay seller- and I should note that the photos showed root systems about like these. So there was not any deception.

I think just seeing them in person kind of got me wondering. The plants (this is the largest of 3- and the other 2 have dried roots, but far more extensive) were sure larger than I expected lol- so the few roots on this one worried me.

To answer your query shrubs n bulbs, yes the brown areas are very firm and so I think I am ok on that score.

In any event, luckily there is a cactus show here in Austin next weekend so I will go there in search of rooting hormones. I was wondering if that might be the answer- we have the same sorts of solutions in orchids when plants are transplanted or divided and few roots remains.

Thanks for the help!


    Bookmark   March 24, 2006 at 2:37PM
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When the saguaro starts to die, it turns black at the base & liquefies. If that is what is happening, I would not start it, but would get my money back. They are not easy to start at all.

    Bookmark   March 24, 2006 at 10:34PM
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greenlarry(UK 8/9)

crikey shrubs, them is some roots!

    Bookmark   March 25, 2006 at 4:15PM
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elpaninaro(z9 TX)

Hi baci,

Fortunately, nothing like that is going on with the plant. I have checked it over very carefully (and I have the scratches to prove it lol) and everything is as it should be. I was just worried about the actual root count. While it clearly is not ideal, I showed the plant around today and was told I am in good shape even though it may need some extra time to get going this spring.

I am so overwhelmed looking at this plant. It is so beautiful. This summer I think I need to visit the Saguaro Park in Arizona and get a look at the grown-ups. For all the times I have been to that part of the country, I cannot believe I have yet to see the really big saguaros up close.

    Bookmark   March 25, 2006 at 9:13PM
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Just watch that black spot. I know you said it is not mushy, but bacterial necrosis is what concerns me. I have lost a couple due to this, & they look good on top for a very long time, while the base slowly disintegrated.
The saguaro forests are beautiful, but it can get boring looking at just one cactus. There is not much cacti diversity in the forests. If you are going on vacation to that area, you might consider going to the Phoenix botanic garden - they have exceptional international cactus diversity there. They also have some Cardón cacti, which will likely not be seen elsewhere in the US. Also, you could hit the saguaro park & go down to Organ pipe. If you have your travel papers, you could travel down to Rocky Point. It is a local hot spot on weekends & the Sea of Cortez is beautiful.

    Bookmark   March 26, 2006 at 8:09AM
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Don't worry, that's normal for a saguaro (sparse roots). The main problem is keeping them from falling over after planting!


    Bookmark   March 26, 2006 at 11:39AM
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This post is kind of old but I just wanted to ask if anyone knows the average growth rate of a Saguaro? Pictures can't lie and my wife can't shrink but can a Saguaro grow 6.2 inches a year?

    Bookmark   September 16, 2013 at 8:49PM
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