The popular cactus Echinopsis pachanoi – ‘San Pedro’ – is one of the best candidates for a Mediterranean climate.
When you mention cactus you think hot, dry conditions along with rocky, well-drained soil – but San Pedro will thrive with rainfall and endure temperatures, as low as 15 degrees F, needing a bit of additional water in summer to thrive.
Used for its ornamental sturdy vertical design element, it’s able to fit into tight spaces and will grow between 10-20 feet tall.
A single stem will pup and branch, creating a staggered clump of fast-growing spires with a well-balanced form.
Unlike other columnar cactus, San Pedro is relatively un-spined, increasing its usefulness around patios and walkways.
They will tolerate over-watering, with good drainage, making them easier to intermingle with other plantings, allowing you to set softer plants against them for contrast.
A problem you will encounter is yellowing, which happens when water has been relinquished entirely, planted in heavy clay, or never fertilised.
San Pedro appreciates fertiliser more than other cactus and will reward you with fast growth and vibrancy.
San Pedro huge white flowers are found in abundance on established specimens – forming huge tubular fragrant flowers.
The unusual size relates to the overly-large hummingbirds that pollinate them in the wild, although they are also moth-pollinated.
Since the pollinators are nocturnal, you’ll find that these huge white flowers open at night.