How to Grow Stetsonia – Toothpick Cactus

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Stetsonia is a candelabra-type cactus that can grow to 25 feet (7.6m) tall. When young it is well suited for growing indoors or in a greenhouse.

Stetsonia is a genus of just one species, S. cornye, commonly known as toothpick cactus. The common name comes from the long white radial spines that surround each areole which contains a black central spine.

Toothpick cactus, Stetsonia coryne
Toothpick cactus, Stetsonia coryne

Get to know Stetsonia

  • Plant type: Cereanae, candelabra cactus
  • Hardiness temperature: 35℉ 1.7℃); Stetsonia is fairy tender and should be kept well protected from frost during winter.
  • Shape and size: Grows to a height of 15 to 25 ft (4.6 to 7.6 m) tall.
  • Flowers: White flowers are nocturnal and appear only on mature plants
  • Bloom time: Spring into summer
  • Common name: Toothpick cactus
  • Genus name: Stetsonia
  • Family name: Cactaceae
  • Origin: Argentinia, Boliva, Paraguay

Planting Stetsonia

  • Stetsonia can be planted outdoors in the garden or in a pot where temperatures do not fall below 35℉ 1.7℃) in winter.
  • Stesonia can be grown indoors in a bright window or in a greenhouse with bright light. Stetsonia requires more light than other houseplants.
  • Light: Stetsonia require full sun or bright light grown indoors.
  • Soil: Stetsonia cactus requires an average soil mixture.

How to water and feed Stetsonia

  • Water: Regular light watering.
  • Feeding: Feed Stetsonia with a cactus fertilizer during the growing season.

Stetsonia care

  • Stetsonia is fairy tender and should be kept well protected from frost during winter.

Stetsonia species to grow

  • Stetsonia coryne (toothpick cactus). Excellent potted plant suitable for green house or indoors when young; eventually grows to treelike size. Each areole contains black central spine surrounded by long white radial spines. Funnel-shaped white flowers are nocturnal and can be expected only on mature plants.

Written by Stephen Albert

Stephen Albert is a horticulturist, master gardener, and certified nurseryman who has taught at the University of California for more than 25 years. He holds graduate degrees from the University of California and the University of Iowa. His books include Vegetable Garden Grower’s Guide, Vegetable Garden Almanac & Planner, Tomato Grower’s Answer Book, and Kitchen Garden Grower’s Guide. His Vegetable Garden Grower’s Masterclass is available online. has more than 10 million visitors each year.

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