San Pedro cactus care

The Echinopsis pachanoi , commonly called the San Pedro or wachuma cactus, is a prickly columnar cactus native to the Andean mountain range, where it grows at a variety of altitudes between 1000 and 3000 meters. Despite this, like many other cacti and succulents, it is an extraordinarily resistant plant whose use has now spread throughout the world and requires little care to be cultivated. It is a plant highly appreciated for its ornamental value and frequently used in traditional Andean medicine. In this article we are going to see the care of the San Pedro cactus .

Main characteristics of the San Pedro cactus or Echinopsis pachanoi

The San Pedro cactus can reach heights of up to 7 meters, and it is an arboreal cactus that tends to branch a lot from its very base. It bears edible dark green fruits , and the San Pedro cactus flower , large, nocturnal, white in color and with an intense aroma, always forms in the upper part of the stem. Since its habitat is a high altitude area with frequent rains, this species can withstand low temperatures better than most cacti.

Effects of the San Pedro cactus

As we have mentioned above, the San Pedro cactus was commonly used in traditional Andean medicine both in people and in the veterinary field. Due to its high alkalinity, the fruits and the cactus itself have strong hallucinogenic properties if ingested, in addition to causing an acceleration of the heart rate and dilation of the pupils. You must be very careful in this regard, as high doses of San Pedro can be dangerous to your health.

The cactus is also traditionally used to treat a multitude of pain and as a healing agent, as well as to treat some skin problems, but it is important not to use it without prior knowledge or without consulting an expert.

San Pedro cactus care - Main characteristics of the San Pedro cactus or Echinopsis pachanoi

San Pedro cactus care – basic guide

Despite being a strong and resistant plant, the San Pedro cactus will enjoy much better health and appearance if some basic guidelines are followed in its care. Therefore, we encourage you to follow these instructions on the care of the San Pedro cactus .


The San Pedro cactus can be grown without problems in a pot despite its large size, since it is a plant with shallow roots and a trunk that is not too thick for its height. With regard to the sun, unlike other cacti, the San Pedro will appreciate a location in a semi-shadow area, since direct light at intense times or hours can cause burns.


We have already said that this plant withstands low temperatures better than many cacti, but frost is still very dangerous for it. If you plant it outdoors, keep in mind that if the temperature in your area falls below 3ºC it is very likely that your cactus will not survive.

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If you plant your San Pedro outdoors, you should do it on fertile soil. In pot, use a substrate for cacti and succulent plants, with black peat, perlite and that contains material that favors water drainage. This is important because, like most succulent plants, this cactus does not want to suffer accumulations of humidity or puddles, or it is likely to suffer from fungal attack. 

Adult cacti also need a supply of clay in their substrate. If you have it in a pot, a transplant every two years and in spring will be enough.


Overwatering should be avoided. As usual, the best measure here is to water only when the substrate is visibly dry. As a guide, a weekly watering should be adequate in summer and spring, while in the cold season once a month is sufficient.


If you want to help the cactus grow strong and give beautiful flowers, it is important to add specific fertilizer for cacti once a month in the spring and summer months. 

How to make the San Pedro cactus bloom

The San Pedro cactus is fast growing , but its pretty nocturnal flowers often make you wait. There are many who have copies of this plant with many years and have never seen them bloom yet.

However, if you want your San Pedro cactus to bloom , all you have to do is make sure you follow all the directions above. If you maintain adequate conditions of temperature, light, humidity, substrate and compost, your San Pedro could begin to bloom when it reaches approximately one meter in height,

San Pedro cactus care

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