More about Peruvian Torch
Yet another member of the Echinopsis family (genus!), the Peruvian Torch, scientifically classified as Echinopsis peruvianus (syn. Trichocereus peruvianus) is one of the most magical of its kind. Known by indigenous population in northern Peru for a very long time, shamans from pre-Inca civilizations would make use of a special brew of this cactus called “cimora”, “achuma” or “huachuma” during spiritual and medicinal ceremonies.
It is very easy to confuse the different Echinopsis species with each other. The best way to recognise the Peruvian Torch, however, is by analysing the colour of its spine, which goes from brown to grey as it ages, and its size. For instance, the Peruvian Torch has much longer spines than those of the San Pedro (Echinopsis pachanoi).
Like most of the Echinopsis genus, the Peruvian Torch is usually found in the Andes mountains, specifically in the mountains in Peru and Ecuador. At altitudes that range from 2000 to 3000 meters above sea level, this cactus is used to harsh conditions, which makes it an excellent opinion for those new to cultivating cactus.
The Peruvian Torch is a fast-growing, columnar cactus, capable of growing up to 30 cm per year. It has a green bluish colour and grows to heights of up to 4 meters, with a diameter that ranges between 15 and 20 cm. In special conditions this cactus may even reach 6 meters in height! It tends to have 6 to 8 ribs with large areoles that are 2 to 2.5 cm apart. The spines grow in groups of around 10 and can grow to around 4 cm long. The spines are not at all swollen at the base.
Cultivating a Peruvian Torch is somewhat similar to cultivating a San Pedro. It can take somewhat more water than most other cactus, as long as the soil is kept dry. During winter, it is a good idea to induce a winter dormancy to prevent the cactus from etiolating. As it starts growing, you should keep it under the shadow. As it grows you may intercalate direct sunlight periods with indirect sunlight periods. Standard cacti soil is a good option for this plant. It is recommended to then mix the soil with a mineral substrate like pumice or lava.
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 peruvianus (= Trichocereus peruvianus)