Saturday, September 29, 2007

Mexican Fence Post

It’s easy to see why the Mexican Fence Post (Pachycereus marginatus) is used as a living fence in Mexico, where it originates. Cuttings are planted where a fence is desired. They soon take root and form an effective and attractive barrier. The Mexican Fence Post will eventually reach 20 feet tall, and will remain as straight as it is in this photo.

I think it’s an exceptionally attractive cactus, and I wish I had acquired a few more. The P. marginatus does not grow arms. It branches from the bottom. I planted this specimen on the east side of my garden, as it prefers partial shade. This cactus does require some protection at temperatures below 25°. I protect the growing tips by placing Styrofoam cups on the tops, as is the practice in this region.


Julie said...

These plants are like your children...take a lot of work and care...especially at freezing time! This one is really neat...I like the idea of a fence of it!

Anonymous said...

I just bought a tiny one at Home Depot and hope it will grow fast!


Anonymous said...

I'm hoping to plant these by a south facing stair/wall. I'm new to the horticulture and have seen various references to it loving sun and being slow growing. Can some one give me an idea about the real life growth rate? 1 ft/year or less, reflected heat off the wall issues? I live on a hillside lot abutting mountain preserve in phoenix.


Aiyana said...

My cactus was planted in 2006 and one stem is approximately 14 ft. tall, so I'd say it grows at least one foot a year, or even more. It now has seven stems of various heights. It receives southeast sun but it is sheltered from the western sun to some degree. It is near a patio pillar; that's what protects it from the western sun. I've seen them growing with exposure to southwest sun and they are not all that worse for wear except for slight sunburn--more unsightly than damaging. The only way you'll know for sure if the area you choose is suitable is to try it. Buy a small one and see how it does over a year's period.