Xique-Xique Cactus - Pilosocereus gounellei

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Scientific Name
Pilosocereus gounellei (Hairy candle plant, Gounelle's species)

This has recently been moved to a new Genus- which is named after this cactus' common name! Its new name is: Xiquexique gounellei

Common Name
Caatinga Cactus, Xique-Xique Cactus

Native to Mexico and Brazil

This is the kind of cactus you'd picture when someone says 'cactus'; the sort of thing which wouldn't look out of place in the Wild West. The Xique-Xique (pronounced shee-ki shee-ki) cactus' deep green flesh is covered in, and surrounded by, large white spikes. Full of personality, give this plant a nice bright spot and not too much water and it will reward you with its majestic, spotlight-stealing appearance. This plant is full of personality- just look out for its spikes!


This cactus is happiest in full sun, though it can tolerate some shade. A window that gets a few hours of sun per day will be a great place to put this plant!


Allow all the soil to dry out between watering; if the plant becomes crispy it may have too much sun and too little water; if it starts to grow mushy or rot at the roots, likely too much water and too little sun.

Low humidity is perfect for cacti; a hose down to clean now and again is fine as long as the plant dries and doesn't sit damp.

Needs a well-draining pot and potting mix; look for specific 'cacti and succulent' soils with plenty of sand and other well-draining materials. Repot every couple of years in the spring, once the roots crowd the pot.

Feed every two months in the growing season, and every three in autumn and winter. Use 'cactus' labelled feed.


Likes temperatures of 10-28°C; on the warmer end in spring-summer and preferably around 12°C in its autumn-winter dormancy period.

This plant is not toxic to pets when nibbling but it is very spiky so it's a good idea to put it out of reach of small hands and paws!

Sprouts Top Tips
Cacti don't need much water. The best way to water is to give it a big water once all the soil has dried out. This will be more frequent in summer, when it is warmer and the soil dries out more quickly. Be especially careful not to overwater in winter! It may not even need water in the coldest part of the year- ideal for the lazy gardener!



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