How to Grow a San Pedro Cactus

Rows of potted San Pedro Cacti

A San Pedro Cactus is more than a plant, it’s an investment. With an impressive lifespan of up to 70 years and fast-growing columns that grow both upwards and outwards quickly, San Pedro is an excellent, standout plant to cultivate your green thumb. Known for its strength and hardiness, the San Pedro Cactus can serve as a symbol of resiliency inside or outside of a home.

While its imposing nature can seem a little intimidating, we’re here to give you a few tips to set up your San Pedro Cactus for sustained success:

1. Light, light, and more light!

While many cacti and succulents thrive in indirect light, the San Pedro Cactus needs bright light or even direct sun to live its best life. This cactus is grown naturally in full sun and thrives in 6+ hours of daily light.

Blooming Wild San Pedro Cactus

2. Everything starts with a solid foundation.

We ship our San Pedro Cacti bare root, so they are ready to be planted upon arrival. Use a well-draining cactus soil mix and a pot with drainage holes. These cacti require a little more support to stay grounded in the soil. Make sure to plant your cactus deep enough so that it can be anchored in the soil, giving it a strong base to grow from. You may notice slight discoloration on the bottom of the plant - that’s where it was planted in soil before shipping, so we recommend planting to that depth or deeper. You should plan to repot your cactus annually to give it the room it needs to continue its fast growth.

3. The tried and true watering method.

Like many succulents and cacti, San Pedro Cacti should not be watered often. Wait until the soil is completely dry (test soil with a stick) and then give the cactus a healthy, full soak. Always let the soil dry out completely before watering again. When in doubt, it’s always best to lean towards underwatering, especially in the cooler winter months. 

4. Fertilizer - use it.

San Pedro is a fast growing cactus and can benefit from fertilizing in the primary growing months (spring and summer). We recommend sporadically using a liquid fertilizer at 50% strength. We do not recommend using a slow release fertilizer as this can lead to nutrient burn in the plant.

San Pedro Cactus Field - closeup

5. Bring on the heat.

We’ve already discussed how much San Pedro Cacti love sun. That’s why It should come as no surprise that they also adore the summer heat. A San Pedro Cactus will thrive in the hotter spring and summer months, growing rapidly and expanding beyond its single columns. 

6. Protect from frost

Be careful to protect your cactus from frost in the winter. Reduce your watering frequency drastically, watering once every 4-6 weeks. Dry conditions will help prevent frost damage to the roots and base of the plant. If temperatures drop below freezing, consider bringing the cactus under shelter or indoors, or use a frost blanket to prevent frost damage. 

7. Branching off isn’t a bad thing

Growth is great, and a San Pedro Cactus will not only shoot up to the sky, but will also branch off and outward, resembling more of a tree than a cactus. It will also produce many pups and branches over time, which can be repotted to grow on their own or cultivated alongside the original San Pedro.

The San Pedro Cactus is a massive, beautiful specimen that can provide a lifetime of joy and strength with just a little easy care and a whole lot of love.