How long does it take for Saguaro Cactus to grow? Saguaros are not the fastest-growing cacti. It normally takes around ten years for this plant to produce its first flower buds. Once it reaches twenty years of age it should be able to produce blossoms and fruit regularly, but growth still slows down after that. The average height of a full-grown saguaro is around twenty feet, and it takes about fifty years for it to achieve this height.
What is Saguaro Cactus?
Saguaro cactus is a plant that can be found in the Sonoran Desert, which makes up a large part of Arizona and some parts of California. Saguaro Cactus is a plant that lives off of rocky desert soil. They prefer some shelter from the sun and are found more often on hillsides than flat land. The soil must be well-draining so the plant does not rot. They will only grow in areas where they get an average of two to three inches of rain a year.
During the summer, Saguaro Cactus is dormant so they are “sleeping”. They will lose their leaves in this state and it can look like they have died when in fact they are not dead but just sleeping through the hot summer months. When winter comes around again with its cooler temperatures, these cacti will once again sprout leaves. In the winter months, Saguaros have beautiful white flowers that bloom and attract many insects. These blossoms only last a few days so it is important to be quick when viewing them in person or by a camera! The fruit of this plant takes about nine months to mature.
The saguaro is the largest type of cactus in the world (in terms of physical stature, not in terms of mass). It is a slow grower and doesn’t reach its full size until it is sixty years old. It can be fun to watch it grow, but getting one for your yard requires patience because it doesn’t get very big in the first forty years of its life.
Saguaro cactus can grow up to three feet approximately in one year, but the average growth is only about an inch per year. The typical lifespan of the Saguaro Cactus is between 80 and 150 years.
A young Saguaro cactus that was just planted has a stem that is only about 2 inches long and it takes several years for them to start flowering. The saguaro cacti grow extremely slowly and take between 5 and 20 years to grow one arm. When the cactus reaches the age of 20, it can grow up to two feet a year.
In general, a saguaro cactus takes between 10-30 years to develop its first arms and then several decades to achieve its mature height (40-50 feet) and flowering. Older specimens may reach 60-80 feet tall after 50 or more years.
The saguaro cactus lives on rocky desert soil. They prefer some shelter from the sun and are found more often on hillsides than flat land. The soil must be well-draining so the plant does not rot. They will only grow in areas where they get an average of two to three inches of rain a year.
When to plant Saguaro Cactus
Planting saguaro cactus is best done in the fall, so it has time to become established before summer arrives, but early spring or late winter can be successfully planting times too. If you plan on putting it in the ground, choose an area where there is no other plant life. Dig a hole twice as wide and just as deep as the cactus’ root ball. Leave all of its roots intact during transplanting because they will establish better if they are not disturbed. After planting make sure to water thoroughly to settle the soil around the roots. Place a two to three-inch layer of mulch in an area around the base up to 18 inches wide. This will keep weeds from growing and give your saguaro cactus a healthy environment to grow in.
Planting Saguaro Cactus in a cold climate
If you live in a colder climate where temperatures drop below freezing, it is best to move your saguaro cactus into a container. Be sure it is large enough to hold the root system. A five-gallon bucket would be adequate for this size plant for many years. Use well-draining soil that will dry quickly after you water. You can use a regular potting mix or one that has added fertilizer like azalea mix. If your saguaro cactus is especially large, you may need to transplant it into a larger container every two years.
Saguaros grow slowly, but they are still worth growing if you have the space to fit one in your yard. They are more cold-hardy than many plants that grow in low desert regions and can take some cold. However, if the temps drop below twenty degrees you should bring it in. They don’t like wet feet so make sure they have well-draining soil when in a container. When your saguaro cactus is young, water it regularly and fertilize it every month. Once established, watering once a week will be enough to keep them happy.
Saguaro cactus is a desert plant and prefers the warm sun. You can put your saguaro cactus outside once night-time temps are in the fifties. If you keep it inside, provide it with plenty of bright light and water when needed to maintain its shape and color. Growing saguaros indoors is possible, but they require a large container and need lots of light.
How long it takes Saguaro Cactus to grow an arm
Over the years your saguaro cactus will grow one or two arms. The first arm should appear when it is between twenty and thirty-five years old. The first few branches are called “keets.” They do not produce flowers and fruit as other adult saguaros do, but you should remove them because they can get in the way of growth. After two to three years a small arm will appear and it will slowly grow until it is about twenty feet long. When your saguaro cactus has reached this height it could produce its first flowers and fruit if there are male flowers nearby for pollination.
Pruning is not necessary for this plant except to remove keets and any other growth that is getting in the way of your saguaro cacti’s growth or its shape.
How Long do Saguaros Live?
This plant can live up to 150 years. They are threatened by the destruction and overgrazing of their natural habitat, as well as diseases that affect the growth of this cactus. It is illegal to pick or destroy a saguaro flower or fruit.
How do You Transplant a Saguaro Cactus?
The Saguaro cactus is a difficult plant to transplant or move. You should only attempt this if you are sure that the root ball will fit into the new bed without issue. The roots of these plants are very shallow, so be careful when moving them around to avoid breaking any major root sections by accident! Dig down deep enough to get a firm grip on the plant and take extra care when moving it around.
Saguaros have become popular in recent years because of Tucson’s slogan “The Old Pueblo”. They are the state plant of Arizona and appear on many souvenirs. We hope we’ve been able to answer your question on how long does it take for Saguaro Cactus to grow.