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this genus includes some columnar cacti, originating from South America, also present in high altitude areas. They have erect stems, high in nature even 6-7 m, of dark green or bluish color, with numerous little pronounced ribs; they tend to branch out in the upper part of the stem, sometimes producing a dense crown of intertwined branches. The young stems have areolas fitted with numerous thorns, which the plant tends to lose over the years. In summer it produces large tubular flowers, white or pink, which bloom at night; the chalice and the ovary are covered with scaly leather. In late summer, large oval, fleshy fruits appear on the flowers, containing many small seeds.
these plants need to be planted in very sunny positions, which receive at least 5-6 hours of direct sunlight per day; browningias fear temperatures below 0 ° C, to avoid damage caused by cold they are cultivated at winter temperatures not less than 8-10 ° C.
from March to October water regularly, without exceeding in quantity, and waiting for the soil to be completely dry between one watering and another; in the cold months it is good to thin out the waterings, until almost suspending them in winter, especially if the plant is sheltered in places with temperatures below 15 ° C. During the vegetative period, provide fertilizer for succulent plants, poor in nitrogen and rich in potassium, every 10-12 days, mixed with the water used for watering.
these cacti prefer sandy, loose and very well drained soils; use a mixture consisting of a third of garden soil, a third of balanced soil and a third of sand, also adding a small amount of medium-fine grain pumice; they especially love the rich limestone soils. To allow a harmonious development of the plant, which can reach 90-100 cm in height in a container, it is good to repot every 2-3 years.
in spring it is possible to remove the branches of the previous year, which must be buried in a mixture of peat and sand in equal parts, after allowing the wound to dry for at least 14-16 hours; the small seeds can be sown in late winter, in seedbeds, keeping the soil constantly moist until germination has taken place.
Browningia: Pests and diseases
pay attention to cochineal and root rot and stem; if grown in places that are not very bright, these plants tend to take sinuous conformations and become too long.