10 April 2011

Argentine Giant - Echinopsis candicans

A few years ago I posted about a handful of desert plants in our yard, including the Argentine Giant - Echinopsis candicans. Well, this year has been an amazing year for several of our cactus, and I thought it was worth a revisit.

One unique aspect of these flowers is that the sepals are actually decorative, creating the pinkish-red border of the flower.  

The Argentine Giant (aka Easter Lily Cactus) is known for its sprawling stems that originate from a central point. But its better known for the giant flowers, measuring up to 8 inches across, that it gets:

Argentine Giant Easter Lily Cactus
Argentine Giant Snapshot

Unfortunately, these flowers only last about 1 day, opening at night. If the weather is hot, as it was the day I shot the above photo, they start to wilt by mid-morning. And the one-day duration really worked against me. With a new baby at the house I was not able to get out in time to take a photo while the morning light was nice, leaving me with the harshly lit snapshot above.

Argentine Giant Flower Bloom
Argentine Giant flowers

The above cactus has been planted for over three years and has grown maybe 3 inches. I understand that they will grow faster in the right conditions. This year's bloom of 6-8 simultaneous flowers was much more vigorous than any previous year, where two or three simultaneous flowers was the max. If we're lucky we'll get another handful of blooms sporadically through mid-May.

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