Oreocereus celsianus

Source: Dornenwolf

Oreocereus celsianus

Oreocereus celsianus or Old Man of the Andes is a column cactus from the Andes.

It is a very hardy cactus, provided he is planted in a very well drained and dry place.


It is branched at the base, with thick stems with 10-25 straight ribs of 8-12 cm in diameter. It grows up to 3 m high.

The areoles are large and white, with long white hair of 5 cm long and yellowish to reddish brown spines, 1-4 spines of central 8 cm long and 7-9 radial spines up to 2 cm long.

The pink flowers are funnel-shaped, 7-9 cm long and 3 cm in diameter. They appear almost at the top of the plant and only after the plant is several years old. It flowers during the day.

The fruits are globular and burst open at the base.



Pilocereus celsianus


Oreocereus: from the Greek oreo (mountain) and cereus (candle).
Celsianus: in honor of Cels, the first collector of this cactus.

Oreocereus celsianus


Bolivia, Chile, Argentina


Mountains, at over 3,000 m altitude in the Andes


USDA zones 8-10. The frost resistance depends on the place: it must be as dry as possible.



Dry, sandy and very well drained




Water sparingly


Fertilize sparingly with specialized cactus fertilizer


  • always use gloves when handling a cactus
  • for repotting fold up a few sheets of newspaper into a thick flat band. Surround the cactus with this band handle him
  • remove the spines from the skin by applying a patch of adhesive tape and removing it
Oreocereus celsianus flower

Source: Sascha Grabow

Oreocereus celsianus flower



Sowing instructions:

  • use a mix of topsoil, sand and gravel (1:1:1) and sterilize that (eg in the microwave)
  • fill a pot with it and wet the substrate by placing it 2 hours in a bowl with water so the water is sucked up
  • sow the seeds on the surface and press very lightly
  • place the pot with seeds in a plastic bag and close it
  • place the pot in a bright location out of direct sunlight
  • 20-25°C
  • regularly check that no fungi develop
  • when the seeds begin to germinate make a few holes in the plastic bag and then every week 2-4 additional holes for the seedlings to get used gradually to drier air
  • germination: 5-180 days