Ladyfinger Plant Care – Information About Ladyfinger Cactus

Ladyfinger Plant Care – Information About Ladyfinger Cactus

By: Mary Ellen Ellis

The more you learn about ladyfinger cactus plants, the more you’ll want to grow them in your desert garden or indoor windowsill. Not only is this an attractive, low-maintenance succulent, but it produces unusual stems and stunning pink blooms. Read on for some ladyfinger plant care.

Echinocereus Ladyfinger Plants

Echinocereus pentalophus is a cactus native to Mexico and known in English as ladyfinger cactus. The name comes from the stems that are long and narrow, like fingers. They grow from the center, erect when small, but more sprawling and spilling when longer. This feature makes the ladyfinger a great choice for a bed that needs a low spreading plant, or a container or hanging basket.

Ultimately, ladyfinger cactus plants will spread out to about three feet (1 m.) across with a height of about eight inches (20 cm.). The stems are attractive, but they are not all this cactus has to offer. It produces some of the loveliest and most show-stopping of succulent flowers. The ladyfinger cactus flowers are large and bright pink, with a white to yellow center and they bloom profusely in spring.

How to Grow Ladyfinger Cactus

As with other succulents, ladyfinger cactus care is pretty easy and hands-off once you set it up in the right conditions. This cactus is native to Mexico and as far north as southern Texas. If you are going to grow it outdoors, you need a similarly hot, desert-like climate. If you are not in an area like this, ladyfinger cactus can be successfully grown in containers and over wintered indoors.

Use a standard cactus soil mix and make sure the bed or container drains well. Your ladyfinger will not tolerate any standing water or soil that is too moist. Give it a sunny spot or some partial shade, and water the cactus only occasionally along with infrequent light fertilizing.

With just these few considerations, you can expect a ladyfinger cactus to grow rapidly and to be a low maintenance plant for indoors or outdoor cactus beds.

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Echinocereus Species, Alicoche, Dog Tail, Lady Finger Cactus

Family: Cactaceae (kak-TAY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Echinocereus (ek-in-oh-KER-ee-us) (Info)
Species: pentalophus (pen-ta-LOH-fus) (Info)
Synonym:Cereus pentalophus
Synonym:Cereus pentalophus var. leptacanthus
Synonym:Echinocereus leptacanthus
Synonym:Echinocereus pentalophus subsp. pentalophus


Water Requirements:

Drought-tolerant suitable for xeriscaping

Average Water Needs Water regularly do not overwater

Sun Exposure:


Foliage Color:




USDA Zone 9b: to -3.8 °C (25 °F)

USDA Zone 10a: to -1.1 °C (30 °F)

USDA Zone 10b: to 1.7 °C (35 °F)

Where to Grow:

Can be grown as an annual


Plant has spines or sharp edges use extreme caution when handling

Bloom Color:

Bloom Characteristics:

Bloom Size:

Bloom Time:

Other details:

Soil pH requirements:

Patent Information:

Propagation Methods:

Allow cut surface to callous over before planting

From seed direct sow after last frost

Seed Collecting:

Allow unblemished fruit to ripen clean and dry seeds

Unblemished fruit must be significantly overripe before harvesting seed clean and dry seeds

Properly cleaned, seed can be successfully stored


This plant is said to grow outdoors in the following regions:

Gardeners' Notes:

On Sep 1, 2006, frostweed from Josephine, Arlington, TX (Zone 8a) wrote:

Echinocereus pentalophus is Endemic to Texas.

On May 11, 2005, Xenomorf from Phoenix, AZ (Zone 9b) wrote:

The 'pentalophus' subspecies has stem that can be either prostrate or erect having 3 to 5 ribs and 3 to 7 spines per areole. It is the most common. The stems are slightly thicker and lighter green than the subspecies 'procumbens'.
The 'leonensis' subspecies has erect stems with 6 to 8 ribs and up to 9 spines per areole and is thicker than the other subspecies..
The 'procumbens' subspecies has stems that are semi-prostrate and thinnest of all the subspecies a deeper green in color with 4 to 5 ribs and 5 to 7 spines per areole.
The flowers on all subspecies are Bright pink & magenta with white or yellow throats.

On Feb 9, 2005, cacti_lover from Henderson, NV (Zone 9b) wrote:

This cactus is from southern Texas to norhteastern Mexico. The five-ribbed stems are about one inch thick and tend to creep as they aged. Good for hanging baskets. Bright pink flowers are 4" across with yellow throat and anthers, and green stigma. Hardy to about 20F.

How to Grow and Care for Echinocereus

The Echinocereus is closely related to the popular Echinocactus. Mostly native to the southern United States and Mexico, there are about 75 species of this pretty little cactus, a few of which sometimes find their way into garden centers. To further confuse you, they are often called Hedgehog Cactus, which is sometimes applied to other squat, globular cacti, such as the Echinopsis.

Among cactus growers, Echinocereus are known for being a bit easier than some of their fussier cousins. Some members of this genus can be found far to the north, growing in quite cold areas. In terms of their presentation, Echninocereus have a very wide range of shapes and sizes, ranging from small balls with spines to thin columns. Like other cacti, the Echinocereus have beautiful flowers.

Growing Conditions

Light: Echinocereus need bright light to perform their best. If you can provide nearly full sun, as in a western window, they will appreciate it. Plants that are grown in dim conditions are unlikely to flower well and will not thrive. Although these are cold-tolerant, most of the popular species need relatively warm temperatures to grow their best.
Water: Good drainage is essential for health. During the summer, water the cactus every two weeks or slightly less often, depending on how moist the soil remains. In the winter rest period, cut watering back to once a month, or in humid areas, not at all.
Fertilizer: During the summer, regular doses of a cactus fertilizer will help it grow its best. Use diluted fertilizer for best results.
Soil: A typical cactus mix is perfect. Some references say these plants can handle a slightly more fertile soil than other cacti, but it's never a bad idea to err on the side of caution.


Echinocereus can be propagated either through offsets or by seed. To take an offset, remove the small plantlet, then let dry until a callus forms on the cut. Carefully plant the cutting in cactus soil and keep warm and just barely moist under new growth emerges. These plants can also be reproduced from seed. Plant the seeds in a shallow mix and keep them warm and slightly damp. Germination takes place in about two weeks.


Echinocereus are slow-growing cacti that should only need repotting every other year or so. You can prolong the time to repotting by removing plantlets and potting them up in their own pots. When repotting a cactus, carefully remove it from its pot and knock away any clumped soil. These plants tend to be shallow-rooted with weak root systems, so take care not to damage their roots.

Grower's Tips

If you can successfully grow other globular cactus, you can most likely grow Echinocereus well. One of the key factors in success with these cacti is avoiding any hint of wet soil. Because their root systems are weak, they are especially prone to root rot, which will eventually kill your plant. Otherwise, they thrive on a program of intense bright light, little water, and a steady diet of light fertilizer. Echinocereus is vulnerable to mealybugs and aphids.


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  • lady’s fingers are mature in 50 to 65 days.
  • When the bloom faded okra is ready for harvest.
  • When pods length of 2 to 3 inches. Pick the pods at least every other day, otherwise, they will be stiff. Pods should pick easily.
  • Start harvesting a few days after the okra blooms fade.
  • At that point, the seed pods should be soft and two to three inches long.
  • Pick the pods at least every other day, as they quickly turn from tender to tough the bigger they grow.
  • Handle pods gently. The pods bruise easily.
  • Remove old seed pods so they do not inhibit new pods from developing. For maximum yield, prune older limbs beneath the already harvested
  • All varieties have spines, so wear gloves when picking the pods. The spineless varieties have fewer spines on the pods themselves, but spines on other parts of the plant make wearing gloves and long sleeves a good idea.

It is a perennial plant and it is cultivated in tropical and warm temperate climate annually. Ladies finger or okra is also called Bhindi in India, it is a very tasty and popular vegetable, which is cooked all over indigenously in the whole of India. Bhindi is not just delicious, but it also has a lot of nutrient content. Read more .

Read also: How to grow Lily in containers. How to grow Kidney beans (Rajma). Growing and caring Dahlia plants. Growing Papaya tree in containers. Poinsettia growing and caring tips. 8 Best Frugal Gardening tips. Turnips growing in containers. Peppercorns growing condition easy tips. Bhindi (Okra) Gravy masala recipe. Radishes growing in containers. Onion planting and care guide. Watermelon growing guide in containers. Oregano growing and caring tips. Soybeans growing guides at home.

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