More about Bolivian Torch
In La Paz, Cochabamba and possibly Santa Cruz, where it is commonly found, the Bolivian Torch is also called achuma or wachuma. This name is not specific for this species, however, and the Echinopsis Pachanoi (or San Pedro) is given the same name by some indigenous populations.
Usually found at altitudes that range from 2000 to 3000 meters above sea level, the Bolivian Torch can be found on cliffs alongside rivers in the valleys in La Paz or at the edge of fields in more isolated areas. Previously known as Trichocereus bridgesii, the Bolivian Torch is a shrubby, treelike columnar cactus species that can grow up to 30 cm per year. It has a pale green colour, can reach anything between 2 and 5 meters in height and is easily recognised by its long though uneven honey-cloloured spines.
As it grows, the cacti can go from a light green colour to a more bluish tone. As its diameter increases (up to 20 cm!), the amount of ribs might also increase. On average, a Bolivian Torch cactus can have anything between 4 and 8 ribs. 4 ribs cacti are sometimes called “Trichocereus of the four Winds” and are thus sold as a special kind of cactus, for a higher price. This differentiation, nevertheless, is nothing but a marketing tactic as cacti are constantly undergoing changes, with ribs appearing and disappearing somewhat regularly.
When it comes to spines, each rib may hold a series of large, well-spaces areoles with 2 to 6 yellow-brown spines, ranging from 6 to 10 cm long. In some cases (usually on larger plants), these spines may fall, making it easy for people to mistake the Bolivian Torch with other types of cacti like the Echinopsis peruviana or the Echinopsis pachanoi.
As for the growth, the Bolivian Torch can be taken as the typical stereotype of the cactus that thrives in poor soil. Simple cactus soil should suffice, it might even be recommended to mix this soil with a purely mineral mix, including coarse river sand and pumice. The Bolivian Torch is possibly one of the most drought resistant cacti out there. Capable of surviving on very little water, this cactus can also handle strong rainfalls and is barely ever affected by mould or fungal infections. Despite its resistance, however, it is always good to avoid letting your plant pet go through such extremes.
A tip when watering the plant is to put it on a pot with holes and leave a plate with water at the bottom, so only the necessary water is absorbed by the soil. During winter one might refrain from watering it. Humidity can be a big problem for your cactus during the cold season! In fact, moisture can be way more dangerous than the cold, which should never be lower than 10° C. During summer, you can go back to watering your plant, though never more than what it needs!
Keeping up with the typical cactus conceptions, the Bolivian Torch is one of those that do enjoy some good sunlight. A bit of direct sunlight everyday will make your cactus very happy. Too much of it, however, and it might become a bit too dry. The recommendation is to leave it under direct sunlight for only a few hours during the day. The remaining time, it should be under indirect sunlight.
After delivery, place the unrooted cuttings in a pot with dry, well draining cactus soil and place them in a light spot but not in direct sunlight. After about a month, you may give it a little bit more sunshine and very carefully start watering the cutting.
Make sure that you don't overwater the plant before it has roots and let it get used to full sunlight gradually to prevent sunburn. Allow for the soil to dry out between waterings, in spring or autumn you're going to water less then in summer and in the winter you don't need to water your cactus at all.
Echinopsis lageniformis (= Trichocereus bridgesii)