Establishing a Saguaro Cactus in Your Yard Establishing a Saguaro Cactus in Your Yard

A saguaro cactus is among the slowest growing of plants. If you are going to establish one in your yard you either need great patience or to buy one that is already well grown.

Growing Your Own

You can buy saguaro seeds and they need to be potted in a mixture of potting mix and sand. The seeds need to be planted very shallowly. Spray the pot with water rather than water it and keep it out of direct sunshine.

The first indication of growth will be a few spines sticking out of the soil. After a year you might have a plant an inch tall. Over ten years you will see a miniature cactus develop and grow to about 6 inches in height. After 35 years it might start to bloom and after 75 years it might start to develop arms.

Buying one Ready to Plant

If you want a saguaro that looks like a cactus and has some presence, you will have to buy one. Because of the length of time taken for a seedling to develop a saguaro cactus is quite an investment.

Enormous Weight

A mature saguaro can weigh several tons and need special handling for successful transplantation. You will need to have a good soil enriched with a potting mix. Depending on the height of the saguaro you buy.  For a small 10 foot plant, you need a hole at least 18 inches deep. The width of the hole only needs to be enough to take the cactus because the root system is very shallow.

Elevating the Cactus

Only use a specialist company to move your saguaro. They need to have a vehicle capable of transporting the cactus and elevating it once it is delivered. It is necessary to get the plant into position carefully or the danger to the plant if it should fall is catastrophic.

Because of the weight of the cactus, you will need one or two people able to help you to get it upright and into the hole. The saguaro will not straighten out a slight lean caused at planting time so it is very important that you make certain it is vertical when planted.   


Although the cactus does grow in very arid conditions it is important to water it well in the first few years. Apart from that it needs hardly any attention at all. You will not see a great deal of growth but if your cactus is over 35 years old, you can hope to see it blossom.

After 75years, the cactus will develop the branches or arms that everybody associates with the saguaro but even these can take several years to develop. Since the saguaro can live for more than 200 years, your purchase will pass down the generations. The cactus is also quite valuable so as well as getting it established in your yard, it should also have a place in your will.

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