Totem Pole Cactus: A Guide to Low-Maintenance Succulent

Totem Pole Cactus

In this post, you will learn basic information about this type of cactus, its propagation, care, and price range with buying tips.

Do you know?

Some cactus can survive without water for one or two years, and the totem pole is one of them.

But imagine if you propagate like a professional and do some care, how this plant can increase your room’s beauty!

That’s useful information you’re going to know Now.  

Totem Pole Cactus (Fun and Facts)

The scientific name of the totem pole cactus is Lophocereus schottii. Pachycereus schottii is a synonym of this plant. The central regions of growth of this cactus are southern Arizona and north-western Mexico, particularly Baja California and Sonora.

The color of the flowers is light pink. They bloom at dusk and close up by mid-morning. So, it is a night bloomer that blooms in late spring.

It grows 3 inches per year and is a slow-growing plant. The Lophocereus can grow up to 3 feet to 10 feet in height. At the same time, the shoot diameter is 5 to 10 centimeters.

Totem Pole Cactus fruit is red and has red pulp. It is not poisonous to humans and pets and is edible.

Some poisonous cacti are Peyote cactus, Fishook Barrel Cactus, San Pedro cactus, Cholla cactus, and Barrel cactus.

It cannot be grown with seeds. Only stem cutting is a way to propagate because it is a mutant of the Pachycereus schottii cactus.

Totem Pole Cactus Propagation

Totem Pole Cactus Propagation

Propagating the totem pole cactus is not difficult. You need a stem length of 5 to 7 inches. You can buy it online or from a nursery or cut the stem from your already existing plant.

When it comes to soil, most people find it hard to prepare, and this is right. But a good option is buying the cactus soil. However, if you are stuck preparing by yourself, arrange loamy soil and mix it with peat moss, coconut coir, and charcoal. Don’t forget to add a small amount of fungicide. 

Soil should drain water, and you can check it by simply putting in some water. If water stays for a long time, then it is bad soil for the cactus.

Plant the cutting up to half an inch in a clay pot. Don’t give water for a week. If it is winter season, then avoid watering for weeks. Put the newly planted totem pole cactus in bright light but not in direct light at the start. 

Repotting Totem Pole Cactus

If you want to repot the plant, do it once in 2 to 3 years. The reason is that it grows slowly. As the plant growth is good in the summer or spring season, repot it in these two seasons. Select the new pot that is a few inches larger than the previous one. 

Totem Pole Cactus Care

Totem Pole Cactus Care

Although Pachycereus can survive harsh conditions perfect soil, low watering, and adjustable size of pot can increase the growth rate.


It is very important for soil to drain the water. A totem pole cactus is a succulent plant, and it can’t survive in high amounts of water. If water stays for longer than needed, it can cause the plant to grow slowly.


You don’t need to care about watering. Even don’t give water in the winter season until the soil of the pot becomes dry. And give water in summer once a week or after two weeks. 

Be sure to cover the plant in fog or extremely cold weather as it is desert native.

Keep in mind, the totem pole cactus is one of those plants that can become a victim of root rot easily. (a disease that deteriorates the roots of the plants due to high volume of water).


Always select a clay pot for cactus, as it allows passage of water and has many other benefits. Select the size of the pot according to plant size, as the roots of the totem pole grow fast.


It can bear high temperatures as you know its region is desert. Keep the cactus at a temperature range of 15 °C to 27 °C. But take special care if you are living in extremely cold or dry weather. 


Light is very good but essential for the optimum growth of any plant. And it is more important for those plants that grow in direct, bright light. The totem pole cactus is one of these plants. So keep it in direct light.

If it is part of the decoration of the room, its place must be the south window or the window from where light comes.

But don’t keep it in the intense light of the full sun for more than five hours, as water can evaporate, causing plant growth to slow down or even die.


Fertilizer can be given once a month or two to the schottii. But once in a whole year is enough. Slow-release high-potassium and low-nitrogen liquids are the best options for its good growth.

Totem Pole Cactus problems

Mealybugs, Aphids, and Scale can affect the plant. So take proper pesticide for it. If any plant is affected by pests, keep it away from others.

Neem oil is a good and natural pesticide. Mix it with water and spray. Also, prune the affected part from the plant. Insecticidal soaps can be good as well.

Drooping and a squishy texture can be a sign of being over water. Fading color can be the result of intense light.

If you observe the black spots on the cactus skin, it is a fungal or chemical infection. Open cut areas or damage can be reasons for fungal infection. Apply fungicide on these areas. 

Excessive use of fertilizers or high amounts of iron or zinc can be the reasons for chemical infection.  

Landscaping of Totem Pole Cactus

It grows vertically and adds beauty to the garden. So grow it against a wall or through landscape lighting. 

You can increase the beauty of walkways and swimming pools by growing them there. 

When it becomes tall and mature, it falls to the side. You can cut the stem or stack it.

Totem Pole Cactus Price

You can buy it for only $6 from Etsy. But if you are going to buy online, Check the following things for buying healthy plants;

  • Best selling
  • Most reviewed
  • High rating
  • Good reviews
  • Best price

So far, you have learned a lot about the totem pole cactus. I tried to enclose important information in a brief way. 

If you liked this guide, then you’ll definitely love to read my blog post about the boobie cactus, monkey tail cactus, and cactus juice.

If I missed any important information, let me know in the comment section.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top