This is another common, easy to grow cactus sold to folks all over the world for their indoor collections. The branching Austrocylindropuntia subulata can grow to 13 feet tall. Easily propagated with cuttings, it does extremely well in the low desert even though it is native to high elevations in the Andes. It takes full sun, but it received some frost damage this past winter. New branches quickly developed and it has grown at least a foot this summer.
I planted this A. subulata in my garden from a pot when one of my many Bush Morning Glories died last summer. It needed repotting and I took the easy way out and just put it where the dead plant had been. At the time, I’d forgotten how large the A. subulata could get. If left where it is located, it will eventually interfere with a Palo Verde tree growing nearby.
Sometimes called Opuntia subulata, (AKA Eve’s Needle and Eve’s Pin Cactus) it is one of the 11 species placed in the Austrocylindropuntia genus. All the cacti in this genus have tube shaped stems and leaves. The leaves on my specimen remain for most of the year.
This cactus has never had flowers. When it blooms, the flowers will be large and red. I’ve read that it rarely blooms in cultivation, but if it happens, I’ll be glad it’s located where it is because I can see it from my breakfast area windows. I'll worry about its size later.