About me

About me
๐ŸŒฟ I've been gardening ever since a child, when I spent time with my father in his vegetable garden. But my fascination with Echeverias started in the 1980's, when my father gave me a pot with five Echeverias, which turned out to be E. imbricata. At first I wasn't much interested in them and planted them in some obscure corner of the garden and completely forgot about them. How great was my surprise when, a couple of months later, I noticed that they had spread and made a beautiful display - I was hooked!
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Wednesday, 5 November 2014

Eve's Needle

(Austrocylindropuntia subulata)
Family: Cactaceae (kak-TAY-see-ee)
Genus: Austrocylindropuntia (oss-troh-sil-in-droh-PUN-tee-uh)
Species: subulata (sub-yoo-LAH-tuh)

In February 2014, my dear friend Elizabeth Kendall sent me a tiny piece of this Eve’s Needle through the post. Unknown to us, the Post Office was on strike and after a month of being missing in action, the parcel finally arrived with the poor little Eve’s Needle definitely looking worse for the wear. I immediately prepared a pot with some good soil, ample drainage and carefully transplanted her to her new home. Now, almost 8 months later, she has transformed into a beautiful specimen, standing almost 40cm (15") tall.

Austrocylindropuntia subulata is a large tree-like cactus, up to 13 feet (4 m) tall with round cylindrical joints, up to 2 feet (60 cm) tall and 1.5 – 2.5 inches (4 – 6.5 cm) thick. The green leaves are nearly cylindrical, up to 5 inches (13 cm) long. The spines are light yellow, 1 – 2 per areole, up to 3 inches (8 cm) long. The flowers are red, 2 – 4 inches (5 – 10 cm) long, followed by reddish to red fruits up to 4 inches (10 cm) long.

This plant is suitable for growing indoors or in containers, is drought-tolerant and produces beautiful red blooms. Needs regular watering but be careful not to over-water.

 Eve spent a couple of days under cover as we had a lot of rain over the past two days
Native to the higher elevations of Ecuador and Peru, this plant was originally introduced to South Africa for the biological control of Opuntia ficus-indica, Eve’s Needle has been declared a Category 1 weed in South Africa as it is a great invader. When the plant gets top-heavy, pieces break off and take root where they fall, soon forming a dense wall of cactus killing anything that grows in its path. So I will be very careful to contain Eve in her pot, trimming regularly and keeping an eye out for any fallen leaves, needles or little pieces that might break off.



  1. I have an Eves Needle about 14 yrs old now...
    Its approximately 6 ft now, but I have NEVER seen a flower or fruit on it
    How often does it produce?

    1. Hi Unknown, I've had many Eve's Needles over the years, some for as long as 28 years, and I have also never seen a flower. I have found one picture on Google, which you can see here : http://www.virboga.de/Austrocylindropuntia_subulata.htm.


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