Red Torch Cactus (Echinopsis huascha): Ultimate Care Guide

Common Name(s)red torch cactus, red torch, and deserts blooming jewel
Scientific Name(s)Lobivia grandiflora Lobivia grandiflorus Helianthocereus grandiflora Helianthocereus grandiflorus Helianthocereus huascha Trichocereus rowleyi Echinopsis huascha Echinopsis spachiana Cereus andalgalensis  
Sun ExposureFull Direct
Soil pHNeutral to acidic
Watering RequirementEvery 10 days to 2 weeks
Hardiness Zone9-11 USDA
Plant Height3 feet
Plant Width3.2 inches

The cylindrical cactus known as the Red Torch Cactus has a plethora of different names. The most common ones are red torch cactus, red torch and deserts blooming jewel. It has several botanical names. (Rather than use up space in this article they will be available in the chart above.) A few of those names are Echinopsis huascha, Cereus andalgalensis, and Echinopsis rowleyi.

Red Torch Cactus is an erect cactus that grows vertically and has twelve to eighteen ribs.  The areoles have ten to fourteen spines coming out of each of them.  The spines range in color from yellowish to brown.  The cactus body itself is light green in color. They have red, orange, or yellow flowers that bloom during the day from early spring to summer.

Bolivia, Argentina, and other locations in South America are where Red Torch Cactus originates    and continues to grow wild.

They have become popular in rock gardens in Arizona.  They trade the dry desert climate for the spectacular floral display they produce in the spring and summertime.

In areas where the weather gets too cold for Red Torch Cactus to stay outside year round they can be a lovely indoor outdoor plant. They look great soaking up the sun on porches and patios in the spring and summer and can come indoors to be protected in the fall and winter. This is easier to do with Red Torch Cactus since they only grow to 3 feet tall.

Red Torch Cactus
Red Torch Cactus

Red Torch Cactus Care

In line with most torch cacti, Red Torch Cactus is easy to care for.  It requires minimal watering and likes to be in bright direct sunlight.  The most effort you will put into this cactus is watering about every 2 weeks and repotting every year with some once in a while fertilization here and there.

Red Torch Cactus Size

Red Torch Cactus grows up to three feet tall and about 3.2 inches in diameter.

It will have branches growing from the bottom of the cactus and will need space to accommodate them.

Growth Rate

You can expect your Red Torch Cactus to grow about six inches per year.

Lighting Requirement

Most cacti love to bask in full direct sun and Red Torch Cactus is no different. They grow best when they have full light for the majority of the day. That being said if the light becomes too intense the cactus can burn.  Watch to make sure you can give your cactus a short break in a shady spot or with some covering if it needs it.

Soil Type and pH

Well draining, sandy soil is where your Red Torch Cactus will thrive. You can use a commercial mix designed for cacti.  If planting your Red Torch Cactus in the ground outside make sure the soil is sandy and will not hold water. Red Torch Cactus does not like to have wet roots and can develop root rot.

Red Torch Cactus prefers a neutral to acidic soil.

Watering Requirement

Allow your Red Torch Cactus to dry out completely between waterings. If you need to set a reminder for yourself, add it to your calendar to check them every 10 days to two weeks.  Be sure not to overwater your Red Torch Cactus, and also don’t let the soil become so dry that it is a hard puck. In the winter you can water Red Torch Cactus less frequently.

Temperature Requirement

Red Torch Cactus is used to being in a warm environment.  Keep them in a space where the temperature is above 70 degrees Fahrenheit. They are a very hardy plant and could possibly withstand some mild frost. If there is a risk of temperatures below 40 degrees Fahrenheit bring your cactus indoors.

Hardiness Zone

The optimum hardiness zone for Red Torch Cactus is 9-11 USDA.

Red Torch Cactus (Echinopsis huascha)
Red Torch Cactus (Echinopsis huascha)


Fertilize your Red Torch Cactus with all purpose liquid fertilizer that is diluted to half its strength.  Be sure you are fertilizing during spring and summer when the cactus is in growth mode. This can be done once or twice a month when watering your Red Torch Cactus. Your cactus will not need to be fertilized in the fall and winter.

Red Torch Cactus Propagation

Red Torch Cactus produces branches from its base. The easiest way to propagate Red Torch Cactus is to remove one or two of its healthy, long branches with a blade sterilized with rubbing alcohol. Cut the branch at the narrowest part where it attaches to the parent plant. Allow the cut edge to be exposed to the open air until it forms a callus on the end.  Once the callus is formed you can use some rooting medium on it and then plant it in well draining, cactus soil in its own container. It will take about a month for the baby cacti to root.  Make sure to monitor them for signs of shock and water them sparingly.

Red Torch Cactus can also be propagated by cutting off the top 7 inches of the parent plant ant following the same callusing and planting process as above.

Growing Red Torch Cactus from seed is also a propagation option, although this takes a lot more time to accomplish.

Problems Growing Red Torch Cactus

Mealy bugs and red spider mites are the most common pests to invade your Red Torch Cactus. Mealy bugs like to hide in the crevices of the cactus and it is sometimes difficult to know they’re there until the infestation has become serious. Monitor your Red Torch Cactus for yellowing and diminished growth as well as any scaliness in the seems where the branches connect.  If the mealy bug problem is isolated you can use a cotton swap with rubbing alcohol to wipe away the insects. If there is a larger infestation fill a spray bottle with rubbing alcohol and mist the entire plant.

Red spider mites are fans of dry soil which make cacti particularly attractive to them. The best way to get rid of red spider mites is to bring in their natural enemies, ladybugs. If this is not a good option for you, you can try using neem oil.

Root rot is the most common disease for Red Torch Cactus.  The best solution for root rot is prevention.  Do not overwater your cactus. You can tell your Red Torch Cactus has root rot if the base starts to get mushy or black or brown spots to start to appear on it.  Another sign is soft spots on the usually hard body of the cactus.

If you must save your Red Torch Cactus from root rot, cut off the part above the soft bottom.  Allow it to sit out in the open air until it forms a callus on the cut end. Then replant the cactus in dry cactus soil in a well draining container.  Make sure not to overwater your cactus.

Red Torch Cactus Flower

Red Torch Cactus has an exquisite bloom that varies in color from red to pinkish orange to yellow. The blossoms are tubular and can be up to four inches long and three inches in diameter.  They grow near the end of the cactus. Although they are scentless, the Red Torch Cactus more than makes up for it with its aesthetic beauty. The flowers may contain mescaline, a powerful psychedelic.

How often does it bloom?

Blossoms appear on the Red Torch Cactus from Early spring to late summer and last about two or three days. They may bloom again within 30 days of the first blooming depending on the maturity of the plant.

Move your Red Torch Cactus to slightly less direct sunlight. They should be getting 4-5 hours of sunlight instead of 6-8 hours.  This will help your cactus bloom in the early spring to late summer.

Red Torch Cactus Fruit

Once the flowers have been pollinated they’re ready to produce fruit. The fruit of torch cacti is a delicacy and pairs well with strawberries, bananas, and pineapple. You eat it by peeling away the thick protective outside and eating the flesh and seeds.

The seeds can of course also be used to propagate more Red Torch Cactus.

Where can I find Red Torch Cactus for Sale?

Red Torch Cactus is a rare succulent plant and may not be easy to procure. While other torch cacti are more readily available there are only a few online shops to order Red Torch Cactus from.

A two inch Red Torch Cactus can be purchased for approximately 7 USD.

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