Potted Columnar cactus for hot Phoenix wall?

dstefanMarch 16, 2014

Hey guys, I have a west facing block wall where I want to put a 2' tall 20" diameter thick glazed mexican pot with a tall, sculptural cactus. I have a chihuahuan sage, ocotillo, and yucca whippilii growing happily in the ground on that same wall. It's sunny from about 9am to about 4:00 in the summer when it goes into some shade from the house. I have a 2 1/2 y.o. rapidly growing hybrid paloverde about 10 feet due west that's already casting shade on that spot starting mid afternoon, but the cactus will get some reflected heat in the summer until maybe 1ish.

My first thought was a Mexican fence post or two, but have been told by AZ cactus sales they'll fry, and indeed, a couple I have in the ground further along that wall have to have shade cloth, but they don't get the tree and house shade.

Have considered the Mexican Pipe organ, San Pedro, Argentine toothpick, and others. I know a totem pole would work, but I don't love their look that much. We walk near there, so killer cactus like the toothpick are not a great idea.

Anybody got some experience or ideas with columnar or bigger cacti in hot spots in pots? There is no height limit in this spot, but don't want too much spread out of the pot. I may just try the Fenceposts, but don't want to do that if they're just going to fail.

David in Phoenix

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Hi David,
I have a Mexican fence post on a west-facing wall which has been there several years now. In the picture you can't see a third smaller one coming up, which wasn't there when I originally planted them. The plant in front (I can't remember what they are called) also wasn't there when I originally planted the Mexican fence post but self-propagated a couple years ago. Looking at this picture (which I just ran out and snapped) makes me think I need to give the poor guy some fertilizer. Have you been up to the Old West Cactus Farm? I love that place!

    Bookmark   March 17, 2014 at 8:10PM
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hijole(9 Sunny California)

Another fence post pic with a variety of succulents hanging around .


    Bookmark   March 17, 2014 at 10:36PM
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Greg, what is it you have the two pots of - one on the left and one in front of the Fence Post?

    Bookmark   March 18, 2014 at 2:20AM
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Those are Echeveria agavoides, azp, perhaps the cultivar 'Lipstick'.

    Bookmark   March 18, 2014 at 1:34PM
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It's all about acclimation. When you do plant your MFPC (Pachycereus marginatus) or another columnnar, maybe some shade cloth on it for a month or so, along with weekly waterings, will help it not get burned. If you plant it soon, it will be able to ease into summer acclimated.

    Bookmark   March 18, 2014 at 8:14PM
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hijole(9 Sunny California)

Well thank you Jeff, I was hoping Rosemarie or yourself would comment on what I had going there next to the Mexican Fence post, I had an idea but not 100% and once again, I really appreciate what you bring to the garden web forum.


    Bookmark   March 19, 2014 at 5:55PM
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hijole(9 Sunny California)

I like all the ones you mentioned David but since I cant get my hands on them all I just compliment the ones I do have with other succulents to make um look different & it adds to them.


    Bookmark   March 19, 2014 at 9:05PM
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