How To Use San Pedro Cactus

The most well-known name for the common cactus Echinopsis pachanoi (syn. Trichocereus pachanoi) is “San Pedro.” It’s likely that you’ve seen this cactus before. We frequently have it in stock at Flora Grubb Gardens, our San Francisco nursery. yet there is a tonne to learn if you dig deeper.

From Argentina to Ecuador, along the length of the Andes mountains, Echinopsis pachanoi thrives in rocky, well-drained soil. This plant, which is native to high elevations (6000–9000 feet), thrives in temperatures as low as 15 degrees Fahrenheit.

A minimum temperature recommendation normally means “when dry,” but not with San Pedro, as any cactus grower will tell you. While San Pedro, in its mountain habitat, receives plenty of rainfall while still enduring quite cold temperatures, most cacti only receive rainfall during their warm season and are therefore likely to fail when exposed to a wet winter, even though they can tolerate much colder temperatures in habitat. The best candidates for a Mediterranean climate are as a result of this (like ours in the Bay Area). It merely requires a little extra water in the summer to thrive.

Archaeological evidence indicates that healers used San Pedro for religious divination as far back as 3000 years ago, and the history of the plant is closely linked to Andean culture and traditional medicine.

We adore Echinopsis pachanoi for its garden ornamental applications. It is unmatched as a strong vertical design element that can fit into small areas and grow 10–20 feet tall. A single stem will pupate and branch, forming an evenly spaced clump of quickly expanding spires. San Pedro is a generally unspined columnar cactus, which increases its usefulness around patios and pathways, in pots, and even inside in a sunny area.

These plants can endure overwatering and have good drainage because they are indigenous to regions with heavier rainfall, which makes it easier for designers to contrast them with softer plants. In fact, during the drier months, these cacti prefer even watering. The only real issue we run into is yellowing, which occurs when individuals completely stop using water, grow in dense clay, or never fertilise. San Pedro cacti are more receptive to fertiliser than other cacti, and they will repay you with quick growth and vibrant colour.

The large, white flowers that are abundant on mature specimens of Echinopsis pachanoi are perhaps its most prominent feature. These tubular, fragrant blossoms have approximately 10 inches of length and width! Although they are also moth-pollinated, the remarkable size is related to the very big hummingbirds that pollinate them in the Andes. These enormous white flowers emerge at night because the pollinators are nocturnal, making San Pedro the perfect choice for a moon viewing party in your new garden!

We frequently have this plant in stock here at FGG because we grow it ourselves at Grubb & Nadler Nurseries in the breathtaking Rainbow Valley. Visit us soon!

What are the uses of the San Pedro cactus?

Currently, treating illnesses that are supposed to have been brought on by witchcraft is the most popular usage of Cimora and San Pedro.

[13] For the hallucinogenic effects of the mescaline present in the Trichocereus pachanoi cactus, however, there are also casual drinkers of the concoction. [16] San Pedro is grown legally, however it is banned in some countries and decriminalised in others to use it for its mescaline. [4]

Toms Tello’s album Cimora has been credited as being inspired by cimora and its curative qualities,[17] demonstrating how persistent the brew’s influence is.

Is it permitted to possess San Pedro cacti?

The San Pedro cactus contains a variety of alkaloids, however not all of them are equally abundant. They may be concentrated in a little layer beneath the skin, where they are scarce and highly challenging to obtain in their purest form. There is no way to calculate how much plant must be destroyed throughout the procedure without knowing precisely how it was collected by curanderos.

Growing San Pedro cacti for decorative purposes is permitted, but taking the mescaline out of them is prohibited. Making homemade preparations from this cactus is equivalent to having any type of mescaline in your possession, which is punishable by up to a year in jail and a $5,000 fine.

Smith’s book introduced me to the intriguing biochemicals of the Cactaceae that indigenous peoples have used in the past and are currently using, but only under the guidance of the curandero. Literature demonstrates that some patients “don’t survive the ceremony” even then.

Can a San Pedro cactus be kept indoors?

A San Pedro cactus can be grown indoors. One substantial cactus species that can be cultivated indoors is the San Pedro cactus (Echinopsis pachanoi, USDA plant hardiness zones 8 to 10). They are no harder to care for than any other cactus because they need the same fundamental maintenance as other plants.

What is the cost of a San Pedro cactus?

Mescaline, an alkaloid and Class A chemical that has hallucinatory effects like to those caused by psychedelic substances like LSD and magic mushrooms, is known to be present in the cactus. According to Small, it was “not his problem” what the consumers did with the plant.

Many people have expressed interest in developing it into a medicine of some kind, but I’d prefer to see it put to good use.

Small then clarified that he was examining the Facebook accounts of prospective purchasers to make sure they only wanted the plant for growing purposes and did not want to sell it to anyone interested in using it to make drugs. He claimed that although he was ignorant of the requirement, he would look into it if he sold the plant to potential foreign buyers.

The extremely huge tree has stunned online cactus appreciation groups, and numerous bidders are interested in a top cut.

A Christchurch-based Facebook gardening community posted the cactus for sale, and since then, hundreds of bidders from across the world have volunteered to pay for shipping and purchase many metres of the plant.

Small claimed that transporting his plant hundreds of kilometres away had been simple. Prior to the cactus passing biosecurity rules, interested buyers from Germany and Spain had expressed their interest.

The majority of cacti must be imported and exported with a permission, according to the New Zealand Customs Service.

According to a representative for the Ministry for Primary Industries, in order to export plant material, the exporter must comply with the biosecurity laws of the country of destination, most likely by obtaining an import permit and a phytosanitary certificate. Most nations also had limitations on size.

Small thought about giving it to a museum, but ultimately opted to scatter pieces of the plant around the globe so that it might keep growing. Pieces that have been measured have been stuffed into a PVC drainage pipe where they should live for up to three weeks.

A 30-centimeter slab of cacti typically cost $15, but costs for roots, the cacti’s little offshoots known as pups, and midsection sections varied slightly.

According to him, the value of the entire plant was well over $5000, with a sizable portion of a healthy root fetching up to $200.

San Pedro cacti typically grow half a metre per year despite the fact that most cacti are labor-intensive, famously sluggish to sprout, and grow at a rate of only two centimetres annually. Buds open and die on the same day during flowering.

“They hardly ever get this large so quickly. Clearly, the conditions have been favourable for growth “Little stated.

Although he was aware of a rival North Island plant, he thought his, a member of the Trichocereus family, was the largest in the nation.

A hallucinogenic San Pedro cactus?

Since many cacti contain phenethylaminealkaloids like mescaline, they are known to be psychedelic.

[1] The most hallucinogenic species of the Echinopsis genus, which includes the San Pedro cactus (Echinopsis pachanoi, also known as Trichocereus pachanoi), and the Lophophora genus, which includes peyote (Lophophora williamsii), are the two primary ritualistic (folkloric) genera. Other species from various genera are likewise psychoactive, however they are not necessarily utilised for ritualistic purposes. [2] [3] [4]

What can you eat from a San Pedro cactus?

Cacti are fleshy and appear to be suitable as vegetables. It’s crucial to understand that there are edible and deadly cacti varieties before you start eating them.

All authentic cactus fruit is safe to consume. After the spines are removed, some varieties of cactus, including cholla, dragon fruit, and prickly pear, can be used as vegetables. Other cactus species, such as peyote, Bolivian, and San Pedro, are poisonous and should not be consumed.

Cacti of many types are frequently planted as indoor and outdoor ornamental plants. Check to see if the cactus variety is poisonous or suitable for people or pets to eat before choosing it for your garden.

What distinguishes a San Pedro cactus?

First off, the San Pedro cactus belongs to the Echinopsis Pachanoi species of cactus. Trichocereus Pachanoi is another name for it, which we discuss in more depth below. San Pedro refers to one specific species, Echinopsis Pachanoi, despite the fact that some people (inadvertently) use it to refer to a variety of various columnar Echinopsis cacti.

Before we dive into the nuances of identifying the San Pedro cactus, there are a few key terms you should be familiar with.

The projecting rows that extend vertically from the plant’s crown to its base are known as ribs. Always growing along the border of the ribs are spines and blooms. By forming shaded troughs or pockets between them and boosting the surface area to disperse heat, cactus ribs assist in keeping the plant cool.

Areoles are tiny, spherical, pale or black bumps that develop centrally down the ribs. The areoles produce clusters of spines. The areoles also produce flowers.

The sharp needles that emerge from the areoles to form the spines are quite self-explanatory. Cactus spines are leaves that have undergone extensive modification over a long period of time to minimise moisture loss and protect themselves from herbivores.

What are San Pedro puppies used for?

It’s time to pot up offsets from cacti after removing them and letting them callus. The ideal medium is grippy and well-draining. You can buy cactus mixes or make your own by mixing 50 percent peat or compost with 50 percent pumice or perlite.

Cuttings only require a pot that is slightly larger than their base diameter. In order to prevent the offset from toppling over, cover one-third to one-half of the base with the medium. Keep the medium mildly moist and place the pup in indirect but bright sunlight.

Although some cacti can take months to root, most do so in four to six weeks. By observing any fresh green growth, which shows that the roots have taken hold and the plantlet is receiving nutrients and water, you may determine when it has rooted.

The San Pedro Cactus

In Mexico, Central America, and South America, you can find the San Pedro Cactus, a species of wild cactus. Cocaine is made and distributed using this particular species of cactus.

Because of the presence of mescaline, which can induce hallucinations or delusions in people who consume it orally while drinking alcohol, the San Pedro cacti are poisonous.

The Peruvian Torch (Echinopsis Peruviana) Cactus

In the wild, the Peruvian Torch (Echinopsis Peruviana) Cactus is a species of cactus that may be found all across South America.

The Peruvian Torch Cacti are dangerous because they contain alkaloids that, when swallowed orally, make people feel sick and can also give them hallucinations or delusions, so once more: USE CAUTION!

The Prickly Pear

The Prickly Pear also contains spines on its pads, but they do not contain any poisons that make them more harmful than other varieties. just the stems of this plant’s latex sap are present (which will irritate your skin).

However, it does yield prickly pear fruits, which are edible and used to make jams and jellies.

Peyote Cactus (Lophophora Williamsii)

Native American rites and rituals involve the use of the Peyote Cactus, a particular variety of cactus. Because it contains the psychedelic mescaline, which can result in hallucinations or delusions when taken by humans, it is often referred to as the “meat of God.” Again, BE CAREFUL!

The Barrel Cactus

The ribs of the barrel cactus carry a poisonous secretion that can irritate the skin. In order to defend itself from predators, it too has sharp needles on its pads, although these merely contain latex-like liquid instead of the toxins discussed earlier (which will irritate your hands).

The Cholla Cactus

A cactus that shoots needles is called a cholla cactus. It contains some of the same poisons as those previously listed, but unlike barrel cacti, it does not produce any latex-like fluid; instead, just the spikes are harmful to people (and animals).

This species may be found all over North America, from Canada to Mexico, where it thrives best at elevations of 2000 to 7000 feet above sea level. Depending on where you are in this region, winter temperatures can range from 20 degrees Fahrenheit (-12 Celsius) to 100 degrees Fahrenheit (+38C).

The Saguaro Cactus

Despite having several sharp, pointy spines that can irritate both humans and animals, the Saguaro Cactus is not harmful.

Many residents of Arizona’s desert regions, where these cacti thrive best, have said that they are one sort that will give you shade.

Can San Pedro cacti be purchased in the US?

San Pedro cacti are available for purchase online and in many local garden centres due to their legality. To make sure you’re getting the real deal, you can search online for “Buy San Pedro Cactus” or even some of its synonyms, such “Echinopsis pachanoi.”

But keep in mind that while it is acceptable to grow San Pedro cacti, it is not acceptable to harvest the plant’s mescaline.

How frequently should my San Pedro cactus be watered?

Make sure you have the proper tools before starting to grow a San Pedro cactus. The equipment you’ll need for gardening includes:

  • Water
  • potting soil for cacti
  • a 5- or 6-inch pot for plants
  • Container soil
  • Trowel
  • gloves for gardening
  • Fertilizer

All of the aforementioned gardening tools are available from your neighbourhood plant and gardening supply store.

Choosing the Right Soil and Putting it in the Pot

The initial step is to fill the pot with the appropriate soil once you have all of your tools. First and foremost, a San Pedro cactus needs porous, easily-draining soil. This is to prevent the water from rotting the cactus’ base. San Pedro cactus also prefer a dry soil because they thrive in drier environments naturally. A soil can be made more permeable by adding substances like:

  • Pearlite
  • Sand
  • Gravel
  • Pumice

These can be added to an existing soil mixture to assist keep the soil healthy for your cactus. You can either make your own or ask a gardening supply store expert for a high-quality starter cactus soil mix.

Transporting the Cactus from Nursery Pot to Permanent Pot

After gathering your soil, fill the selected pot approximately halfway with it before levelling it with a trowel. To help with drainage, you can also place a 1/4- to 1/2-inch layer of any of the previously mentioned draining materials on the bottom.

  • With your finger, make a two to three-inch-diameter hole in the middle of the earth.
  • Putting appropriate gardening gloves, carefully take the cactus out of its nursery container and set it into the newly dug hole.
  • Up until the cactus’ roots are completely covered, tuck and compact the soil tightly around it.
  • The cactus should get water until the soil is moist but not drenched.

It normally takes four to six weeks for your cactus to become securely planted, at which point you can fertilise it to provide it with more nutrients. This should only be done once it has been planted. A cactus is prepared to ingest nourishment as its roots begin to expand.

Watering and Fertilizing Your San Pedro Cactus

Once a week of watering is advised for cacti. It is advised to water your cactus twice a week until you notice something emerging from the dirt if you are starting from a seed. One way to go about it is to put about two inches of water in a sink big enough to fit your cactus.

Through the pores in the plant pot, let the water seep into the cactus’s soil; once the dirt is somewhat damp, remove it. Additionally, you can water it with a watering can the old-fashioned manner, but water it in intervals over the course of the week to prevent the soil from becoming wet.

When the colder months roll along, stop watering it. Watering the cactus during its dormant period, which lasts from October to April, will only cause it to deteriorate more quickly. Overwatering can create the perfect conditions for germs to flourish and infect the cactus. Another factor that makes it difficult to properly hydrate a San Pedro cactus is cold weather. It may prevent water from evaporating, resulting in damp soil and a decaying cactus.

Your cactus is fed by fertiliser, which provides it with the nutrients that water by itself is unable to provide. You can purchase liquid fertilisers for cacti to add to your plant container and watch the cactus grow. Adult cacti can receive an undiluted fertiliser, however seedlings will require a somewhat diluted version of the fertiliser.

Giving Your Cactus Plenty of Sun

The San Pedro cactus requires a lot of pristine sunlight because it is a desert-adapted plant. Especially if your cactus is a seedling, start by gradually exposing it to sunshine. Direct sunlight usually causes seedlings to burn and eventually perish.

When introducing your cactus to sunlight, set it where it will receive both shade and light to temper the intensity of the sun. You might also begin by exposing the cactus to only the early or evening sun, which is less strong than the noon sun. If you have any larger plants, you can also place your San Pedro cactus beneath their shade.

Your cactus will require more sunlight after it gets used to it if you’re growing it indoors. They will benefit from being placed near a window or a porch so they can absorb the nutrients they require from the sun. Make careful to regularly water your cactus if it is outside in direct sunlight because it can dry out more quickly.

Propagating Your San Pedro Cactus

Your cactus needs to be properly divided into individual plants by being chopped into smaller pieces. In addition to making your garden develop quicker and healthier, it’s a terrific method to avoid spending more money on more plants. You need the following to begin propagating your cactus:

  • a blade
  • a planter
  • Soil
  • a towel or a piece of cardboard

Once you have all of your supplies:

  • Before cutting, cleanse your knife with an alcohol-based cleaner, and make sure it is completely dry. Your cacti won’t run the risk of contracting an infection thanks to this.
  • Choose a healthy, thriving piece of cactus, then carefully cut it to the desired length.
  • Lay your completed cactus artwork out in the sun for a few days. If it’s in direct sunlight, cover it with a piece of cardboard or a towel to prevent burning. This will help dry it out and facilitate the cactus’s ability to establish itself in its new pot.

The cactus may begin to take on some colour as it dries. Calluses are these coloured dots, which might be white, brown, or even black. This is a positive indication that the cactus piece is prepared for planting. They are prepared to be potted as long as their calluses don’t have a mouldy green or blue tint.

This step’s procedure is quite similar to that used to pot the original cactus. The only difference is that you must use smaller pots because the cactus are smaller. It is advised to have a diameter of one to one and a half inches.

For about two weeks, place it in a shaded area without providing any water. This will enable the cactus to establish roots and adapt to its new environment. As with the original cactus, you may begin watering and fertilising it once it has taken root.