Carnegiea gigantea (Saguaro Cactus)

Scientific Name

Carnegiea gigantea (Engelm.) Britton & Rose

Common Names

Saguaro, Saguaro Cactus, Sahuaro, Giant Cactus, Sage of the Desert


Cereus giganteus (basionym), Pilocereus engelmannii, Pilocereus giganteus

Scientific Classification

Family: Cactaceae
Subfamily: Cactoideae
Tribe: Echinocereeae
Genus: Carnegiea


Color: White
Bloom Time: April to June


Carnegiea gigantea is a tree-like cactus that grows up to 65 feet (20 m) tall. The ribbed stem can reach up to 2.5 feet (75 cm) in diameter. It is the largest columnar cactus native to the United States but is extremely slow-growing, reaching only 0.24 inches (0.6 cm) in height after two years. It flowers once it has reached about 30 to 35 years of age and a height of about 6.6 feet (2 m). The first branches appear after it has reached a height of about 16.5 feet (5 m) and an age of 50 to 70 years. The white flowers appear just below the top of the stem. They are up to 5 inches (12.5 cm) long and up to 2.4 inches (6 cm) in diameter. The red fleshy edible fruits are up to 3 inches (7.5 cm) long. The Saguaro blossom is the State Wildflower of Arizona.

Carnegiea gigantea - Saguaro Cactus

How to Grow and Care

Saguaro cactus needs to grow in well-drained grit and receive low water levels, with the soil drying out completely between irrigation. Annually fertilizing with cactus food in spring will help the plant complete its growth cycle. There are common cactus pests, such as scale and mealybugs, that will require manual or chemical controls. It is not legal to procure a Saguaro cactus for home cultivation by digging it out of the desert. Beyond that, mature Saguaro cactus plants almost always die when transplanted. See more at How to Grow and Care for Saguaro Cactus


Native to the Sonoran Desert in the United States state of Arizona, the Mexican state of Sonora, and the Whipple Mountains and Imperial County areas of California.


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