Care and Keeping of Saguaros | Desert Botanical Garden

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Do you have a saguaro in your yard? Want to learn how to care for them? Here are some helpful tips to make sure your saguaro survives during hot summers.

  • The saguaro cactus is a desert plant that doesn’t need to be connected to drip irrigation. However, they do benefit from some supplemental water during periods of drought.
  • The best way to water your saguaro is to run a hose 2′-3′ feet from the base with a trickle of water for 4-6 hours. This will allow the water to reach deep into the soil (2-3 feet) where the bulk of the roots are. Doing this process once per month during the hottest month of the summer will be enough to help the plant stay hydrated until it rains. There are many factors in determining if a saguaro needs supplemental watering. The goal is not to overwater and initiate rot in the plant. Saguaros are built to live in arid conditions.
  • Make sure that water doesn’t sit around the base of the cactus as it can lead to it falling down.

Here are some tips to spot the difference between a healthy and unhealthy saguaro.

  • Is it standing up straight?
  • If your saguaro leans, it could be at risk of falling over.
  • Saguaro can get sunburned too! This is evident if you spot any dark brown patches on its skin. They can also have bacterial infections, which typically being from the ground up. You can tell if your saguaro has an infection if its skin starts turning light brown and then black with thick cracks.

If you have more questions or need help, contact the Garden’s plant hotline at planthotline@dbg.org.

Learn more about saguaros with Save Our Saguaros, a project led by Girl Scout Gold Award recipient Ella Werre. 

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