Bolivian Torch Cactus (Echinopsis lageniformis): Ultimate Care Guide

Common Name(s)Bolivian Torch Cactus, Bolivian Torch, Cactus of the Four Winds
Scientific NameEchinopsis lageniformis, syn. Trichocereus bridgesii
Sun ExposureFull Direct
Soil pH6-7
Watering RequirementWater when completely dry
Hardiness ZoneUSDA 10a
Plant Height16 Ft
Plant Width6 inches

Bolivian Torch Cactus has four to eight wide set ribs with spines set 1-2 inches apart in clusters.  The main body can be a variety of hues from green to a bluish color. Their spines can be a light golden color to a deeper brown. The spines grow in groups of four from the areoles of the cactus. With two to four inch long spines Bolivian Torch Cactus is a plant you want to take seriously.

This cactus grows straight like a pole but tends to be shorter than many other cacti in its region.  Some might even call it unimpressive.

Contrary to this belief Bolivian Torch Cactus is often highly sought out by ornamental cactus collectors.

The Scientific name for Bolivian Torch Cactus is Echinopsis lageniformis it was previously Trichocereus bridgesii. More common names for Bolivian Torch Cactus include Bolivian Torch and Cactus of the Four Winds.

Cactus of the four winds is actually a variety of the Bolivian Torch Cactus that has four ribs, representing the four directions, and is believed to bring good fortune to anyone who finds it.

As its name suggests Bolivian Torch Cactus is native to the high deserts of Bolivia. It can also be found in Ecuador, and Peru.

Bolivian Torch Cactus (Echinopsis lageniformis)
Bolivian Torch Cactus (Echinopsis lageniformis) Edited. Santamarcanda, CC BY-SA 4.0

Bolivian Torch Cactus Care

Because it is highly adaptive and drought resistant Bolivian Torch Cactus is the easiest mescaline cactus to care for.  They require very low humidity and only require intense care when it comes to fertilization and repotting.


In the wild Bolivian Torch Cactus can grow to be 16 feet tall.  Its diameter can be up to 6 inches.  The amazing size fact about the Bolivian Torch Cactus is that its spines can grow between two and four inches and are quite needle like and sharp.

Growth Rate

Bolivian Torch Cactus has a pretty fast growth rate, although some of the variations and clones of Bolivian Torch Cactus are slower. If you’re starting your Bolivian Torch Cactus from seed it will take one to two years to reach a size where it will need to be transplanted.

Lighting Requirement

Bolivian Torch Cactus likes to be in the sun it requires full light 6-8 hours per day. If the sun becomes too blazing in the summertime your Bolivian Torch Cactus will need to be shaded and given a break to avoid being scorched. 

Soil Type and pH

Gravely, well draining soil that is fertile is best for Bolivian Torch Cactus. You can use a mix of two parts vermiculite, one part peat moss, and one part sand.  A small amount of organic potting soil could also be added to the mixtures.

The best pH for Bolivian Torch Cactus is between six and seven.

Watering Requirement

Only water your Bolivian Torch Cactus when the soil is completely dry, but not so dry that it starts to harden into a puck.  When watering allow the excess water to completely drain out of the holes in the bottom of the pot.  Make sure to empty any tray or dish under the container to avoid excess moisture.

Bolivian torch cactus is drought resistant and stores water inside itself to survive the high temperatures and dry environment it naturally grows in.


The best temperature for Bolivian Torch Cactus is between 68F and 95F. If temperatures reach below 50F or above 95F it can stunt your cactus’ growth.  Your Bolivian Torch Cactus will move into dormancy at these temperatures.

Hardiness Zone

The optimum hardiness zone for Bolivian Torch Cactus is USDA 10a.


In the spring, summer and fall fertilize your Bolivian Torch Cactus once a month with a liquid fertilizer.  A small amount of fertilizer such as eggshell powder or vermicompost can be added to the soil during repotting in early spring or fall.

When you have Bolivian Torch Cactus seedlings use a nitrogen fertilizer.  When it is blooming time for your cactus use a phosphate fertilizer.

Be careful not to over fertilize as the base can turn yellow and your Bolivian Torch Cactus will stop growing.

Bolivian Torch Cactus (Echinopsis lageniformis)
Bolivian Torch Cactus (Echinopsis lageniformis) Edited. Santamarcanda, CC BY-SA 4.0

How to Propagate Bolivian Torch Cactus

There are two methods to propagate Bolivian Torch Cactus, cuttings and grafting.

To propagate through cutting, you must behead your cactus.  Use clean, sterilized scissors to cut off the top of your Bolivian Torch Cactus leaving a few inches at the base. Leave the cut part out in the free air until it starts to dry and forms a callous.

Once the bottom of the cactus has its callous you can then plant it in a commercial cactus soil mix or use the soil recipe above in your container.  Water your Bolivian Torch Cactus and care for it as usual.

You can also cut a limb or offshoot from the bottom of the cactus.  You may need to have patience while waiting for your Bolivian Torch Cactus to produce an offshoot for your to propagate as it can take several years.  If you are fortunate enough to have an offshoot to cut.  Use clean, sterilized sheers or a blade to remove the offshoot at the thinnest part where it attaches to the parent plant. Leave it in the open air for a few days to form a callous.  Once the callous has formed, the offshoot can be planted in its own container and cared for as usual.

Can you grow Bolivian Torch Cactus from seed?

Bolivian Torch cactus can be grown from seed. Use either shallow germinating trays or small pots. Be sure that the containers you’re using are clean and have a fresh cactus potting mix. Dampen the soil. You’ll want to so several seeds in order to maximize your success rate. They should be placed 3 cm apart and gently pushed into the cactus potting mix. Place a thin layer of perlite on top of the soil and missed your potential cactus garden with water. Cover the seed containers with plastic film or a clear see-through plastic lid.
They should be placed in an area with a temperature of 74° f and should have 6 to 8 hours of sunlight per day.
Only water your baby cacti when the soil dries out.
Your seeds should germinate within 30 days.
You’ll want to thin out the seedlings and gradually wean them from the plastic covering to avoid having your new little Bolivian Torch Cactus go into shock.

Bolivian Torch Cactus Flower

Bolivian Torch Cactus has a beautiful white blossom that is 8 inches long and 4 inches in diameter. The bloom comes out of the top of the cactus head.

Bolivian Torch Cactus Fruit

Once the flower has been pollinated it will start to grow into a fruit. The fruit of the Bolivian Torch Cactus is edible. The fruit is ready to be picked when it turns red.

Do Bolivian Torch Cactus have psychedelic effects?

There are several psychedelic compounds in Bolivian Torch Cactus, the most widely known one is mescaline.
Although the mescaline levels in Bolivian Torch Cactus are much lower than other popular mescaline cacti such as San Pedro, you can still experience a powerful trip if you ingest it.
When you first eat the cactus there is an unpleasant nausea side effect. It does go away as time passes in your experience. Indigenous people believe this is your body being cleansed to prevent a negative trip.

There are a few ways to ingest Bolivian Torch Cactus.  You can eat it raw, but it is very bitter and it’s a miracle to be able to get it down. If you choose to go down this path remove the skin and spines and only eat the flesh.

Making a powder out of the cactus and mixing it into smoothies or capsulizing it will help you avoid the nasty taste.

Boiling Bolivian Torch Cactus into a tea and adding honey can also be a more pleasant way to experience its magic.
The psychedelic encounter of Bolivian Torch Cactus is similar to LSD with sound and sight altered. 

Eight to twelve hours is the normal length of a trip with the height of the event happening at around two to four hours.

Where can I find Bolivian Torch Cactus for sale?

Bolivian Torch cactus is mostly sold online.  The cactus seeds can also be ordered online and shipped directly.

Bolivian Torch Cactus Price

Bolivian Torch Cactus prices range from 20 USD to 110 USD.

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