Oreocereus celsianus “Old Man of the Andes”

Oreocereus celsianus or also called “Old Man of the Andes”, is a phanerogam species belonging to the family of Cactaceae.

Which is endemic to Chile, Peru, Argentina, and Bolivia.

The areolas are large, white in an oval shape and very woolly in the young parts of the plant. 

Another characteristic of the plant and what is different, they are long, thin and silky hairs

They are covered by abundant woolliness that protects them

from sunlight, and probably from abrupt variations of temperature

Flowering sometimes takes a long time to appear, although the Oreocereus are appreciated above all for its amazing texture.

The flowers are dark pink and arise in the vicinity of the apex.

The radial spines are conical and rigid, are yellow-brown and measure about 2 cm in length.

The central spines, are thicker, measure up to 8 cm in length, and they are brown.

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Tips to take care of the Oreocereus celsianus “Old Man of the Andes”

The Oreocereus celsianus are ideal for beginners of succulents since it is easy to grow and low plant cares.

And for succulent collectors, this plant will add a different touch to the collection.

Illumination

Place the Oreocereus in full sun all year.

Indoors, it must be placed under a skylight or near a window where it receives good lighting.

Rotate the pot regularly so that all faces of the cactus receive the same amount of light and so grow perfectly.

Temperatures

Tolerates a minimum temperature in winter of 0ºC, at lower temperatures the plant could die. 

In the case of strong winters, the best option is to locate the plant inside.

It is important to take care of the plant from environmental humidity since hairiness are very prone to rot if the atmosphere is humid and to that, we must add that succulent and cacti are susceptible to moisture.

In the cold, the Oreocereus celsianus “Old Man of the Andes” they stop their growth.

Irrigation

You can water this plant every 7 or 10 days from spring until the end of summer. 

In winter, very light or zero. 

The important thing is to let the substrate dry completely before the next watering especially in wintertime (it is advisable at this time to leave the dry substrate for several days).

Fertilizer

This plant appreciates a good fertilizer from spring to early fall. Just add liquid fertilizer to specific for cacti.

Transplant

if you have to transplant the plant it is best to do it in springtime, once a year in the case of young plants, and then, that the plant is mature enough to do it every 3 or 4 years or when necessary.

Multiplication

The Oreocereus celsianus “Old Man of the Andes” can

multiply by seeds in spring and cuttings.

Seeds germinate rapidly and seedlings tend to be quite resistant from an early age.

The best time to plant this plant is in spring. You should only use a small pot and add a special substrate for cacti and succulents with good drainage.

Then spread the seeds on top of the substrate, and add a very light layer of the substrate to the seeds.

Keep the substrate moist (but avoid waterlogging), and keep the pot in a place where it receives good sunlight.

Once the plant is ripe and suitable for manipulation, it can be transplanted into a definitive pot.

Pruning

This plant does not need to be pruned. Only remove the leaves that are battered or dry, so that the plant looks better.

Plagues and diseases

The Oreocereus celsianus “Old Man of the Andes” is mainly attacked by mealybugs, which invade bare stems. 

Usually, the highest concentration of this pest is observed at the end of growing stems where the epidermis is softer.