Stenocereus thurberi care infographicStenocereus Thurberi of the Cactaceae family, also known as the organ pipe cactus, is a slow-growing plant with no definite trunk, making it different from other cacti. Stenocereus Thurberi has a clump of stems that develop from its base and is as wide as its height.

This article will nourish your knowledge on how to care for this Stenocereus Thurberi succulent of the genus Stenocereus.

What Is a Stenocereus Thurberi?

The Stenocereus Thurberi is a cold-sensitive, tree-like cactus with green stems with spines, short shoots, and many ribs.

Organ Pipe Stenocereus Thurber

This succulent grows well at 4809 feet above sea level. Originating from northwestern Mexico in the Sonoran Desert, this Thurberi does well in slopes and plains where it is protected from frost.


Stenocereus Thurberi Care

Parenting the Stenocereus Thurberi is not as difficult as you might think. It is one of those plants that grow healthy with minimum effort, thus allowing you to grow as many as you wish. The Thurberi is cost-effective in that you can also grow them for sale to others who are starters. 


Stenocereus Thurberi is prone to root rot, so it does not need to be watered regularly. We advise that you implement the soak and dry method so that the Thurberi will not be sitting in excess water for an extended time.

Watering your plant once or twice per month in summer will be enough. You can then leave it dry in winter because evaporation and transpiration are minimal during this season. 

The Stenocereus succulent can grow without water after the rainy season if it is well established. It will survive on the water and energy that it would have stored during its active period. 


The Stenocereus Thurberi flourish in full or partial sun. That’s why its origins are in a desert where there is limited vegetation, as this will allow it to have more of the much-needed sunlight.

If it is grown in densely populated areas, the Stenocereus succulent will grow as tall as it can as they will be competing for sunlight. We recommend that you grow this plant outdoors where it can get full sunlight, though you can also place it inside to beautify your house.

Indoor Requirements

If you are growing your organ pipe cactus indoors, you need to move it outside during the day or place it in a position where it strategically gets enough light. Those windows that are facing the direction of the sun would be best.

You should switch off gadgets that produce heat like heaters in a place where your Stenocereus Thurberi is in a bid to preserve the sap from drying up.


Well-draining soil is a requirement for the Stenocereus Thurberi to grow well. If you are growing it indoors, use cactus soil. Avoid soil that retains water for a long period to improve aeration and healthy root development. The Thurberi grows perfectly in porous fertile soils.


Temperatures as low as 25 F are favorable to the healthy growth of the Stenocereus Thurberi plant. Still, if they fall lower than that, they can limit the succulent’s chances of survival.

In areas where temperatures can reach the freezing point, you can cover the Stenocereus Thurberi with a styrofoam cup to protect it from harsh conditions. You should also grow the Mexican organ pipe cactus indoors if the outside temperature is 70 to 80 F.


Fertilizers are not necessarily needed for survival by the Stenocereus Thurberi. Your plant can do well without it, but if you feel like giving your Thurberi a little extra food, the fertilizer should be high in potassium content.

Fertilizer for Succulent Plant

Summertime is preferable for fertilizing your plant as it is the blooming time of the succulent.


The Stenocereus Thurberi does not require pruning. You should plant it away from the walkways so that you will not mistakenly remove some of its stems as you walk. The beauty of this plant comes from those bulky stems.

– Repotting 

In case you buy your plant from the market, there is a need for repotting. This is when you remove it from a temporary pot to a permanent one. Make sure you use a big pot that will accommodate the roots as your Stenocereus Thurberi grows bigger. You can also disinfect the potting soil mix before planting your Thurberi to reduce the chances of pathogen proliferation.



Propagating the Stenocereus Thurberi succulent should be done in early spring to late summer. Like other succulents, it is possible to multiply the Stenocereus Thurberi using seeds and offsets.

– Using Seeds

Seeds can be used to propagate the Stenocereus Thurberi plant, but it will take a long time to have a blooming succulent. The plant grows slowly, although the seeds can germinate within a short period, between seven to fourteen days.

Great Purpose of Planting Seeds

The seedlings take more time to be mature enough to be transplanted. Therefore, if you want quick results, go for better options like offsets.

– Using Offsets

The organ pipe cactus can be propagated using offsets. This is a fast and effective method. Your Stenocereus Thurberi will be established without having to wait for long. What you need is a prepared land or pot where you will grow your succulents. 

Cut the offset using a clean, sterilized sharp knife to avoid infecting the plants. Remove the offsets with their roots and instantly plant them in your garden or pot. Start treating the offsets the same way you do for the mother plant.

You should take your pup from a healthy mother plant to avoid spreading diseases and pests, as well as to reduce the risk of failure. 


The organ pipe cactus is prone to pests and diseases, so you should be careful with maintenance procedures. Red spiders, mealy bugs, and scales are the pests you should constantly check out for. The Thurberi can also be affected by root rot.

– Red Spiders

The red spiders affect the Stenocereus Thurberi by sucking the plant’s chlorophyll. The sap sucked determines the color of the spiders, but in most cases, they will be red in color with two black spots at their backs. Red spiders have short legs, and they will be walking slowly as they suck the sap.

One of the Problem of the Plant

The Stenocereus Thurberi is prone to these pests as they favor the same climatic conditions of high temperatures, dusty, and low humidity environments as the plant. They are active when it is hot and hide in winter. If the Thurberi is affected, it may turn yellowish and die if not treated. 


It can be difficult to control the red spiders as they cover themselves by spinning silk threads to avoid being affected by pesticides. You should repeat your spraying after every three to five days to enhance the effectiveness of the interventions.

Spraying insecticides more frequently helps break the spiders’ life cycle as they can reproduce within a short space of time. You can use BT spray, Pure castile soap, Diatomaceous earth, and Neem oil to kill the spiders. 

– Mealybugs and Scales

Like red spiders, mealybugs and scales also feed on the sap of the plant, thus affecting the stems of the organ pipe cactus. You can also use the same pesticides as the ones you use for red spiders to deal with mealybugs and scales. 

– Root Rot

It is difficult to notice that your Stenocereus Thurberi is attacked by fungal diseases as the symptoms are usually invisible for long, up until the stem is infected.  Once the stem is infected, the Thurberi is at risk as the disease will be difficult to cure.

A browning stem, wilting, and extreme weakness that makes the plant fall off are all signs of fungal infection. Fungicides might not work well to stop the development of these symptoms.


The best way to deal with fungal infections is by trimming the infected roots if the disease is still at its primary stage. If the Thurberi is already damaged, you should remove the plant and grow a new one in a fresh pot and potting mix. Be sure to get rid of the rotten ones to avoid spreading the diseases among your other plants.

Your Stenocereus Thurberi will not suffer from root rot if you adhere to proper water requirements. The gritty soil helps to avoid waterlogging conditions that increase the vulnerability of your plant to fungal infection. The more the soil stays soggy, the higher the chances of the Stenocereus Thurberi succulent being attacked by fungi. 

Features of the Stenocereus Thurberi

– Stem

The Stenocereus Thurberi has green stems with spines, short shoots, and many ribs. The succulent’s stems can grow up to 16 feet tall and six inches in diameter.

– Growth

The Stenocereus Thurberi reaches maturity at 16 feet when it’s about 35 years old but can live for 200 years.

– Flower

This plant also produces the funnel-shaped organ pipe cactus flower that is light pink in color, with a white center. The flowers bloom at night to early morning only.

– Fruit

The succulent also produces red fruits that split when they reach maturity.

The fruits are juicy and sweet, and they have a flavor that imitates a watermelon. The Stenocereus Thurberi fruit juice can make wine, juices, jams, and fruit leather.

– Health Benefits

The seeds are also used to produce oily paste-like butter.

Benefits of the Stenocereus Thurberi

The stems of the Stenocereus Thurberi are used for relieving pain and aches, while the cortex of the stem is useful in making boat caulking.


What are some interesting facts about Stenocereus Thurberi?

Here are some interesting facts about Stenocereus Thurberi:

  1. Stenocereus Thurberi, commonly known as organ pipe cactus, is a large columnar cactus species native to the Sonoran Desert in North America.
  2. It gets its name “organ pipe” from its resemblance to a pipe organ due to its multiple vertical stems.
  3. It can reach impressive heights, with some specimens growing up to 20 feet tall.
  4. The cactus produces beautiful white flowers that bloom at night and are pollinated by bats and moths.

Is Stenocereus Thurberi edible?

Yes, Stenocereus Thurberi is edible. The fruit, known as pitaya dulce or sweet pitaya, is consumed and enjoyed by people. It has a sweet and juicy taste, similar to other types of pitaya or dragon fruit.

Can you fishbone Stenocereus Thurberi fruit?

No, the fruit of Stenocereus Thurberi does not have a fishbone structure. It typically contains numerous small black seeds.


Go ahead and buy your own Stenocereus Thurberi plant today. If you already have one, start using these tips to benefit your Thurberi. Below is just a summary of the main ideas in this article:

  • Stenocereus Thurberi thrives well in hot or partial sun conditions
  • The plant cannot tolerate frost temperatures.
  • The Thurberi can do perfectly without the addition of fertilizers.                  
  • The Stenocereus Thurberi is good for humans because it produces non-toxic, healthy fruits.       
  • It is easily affected by red spiders and fungal infections that can lead to the death of the plant. 

Now, your mind is fully loaded with the crucial information that you learned from this article, there is no time to waste.

Go use the knowledge that you now have for caring for this wonderful plant whose various parts have worth-noting uses to you and others. Enjoy the exciting journey with your Stenocereus Thurberi!

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