Pencil Cactus

Cylindropuntia leptocaulis

Tasajillo, Pencil Cholla, Garambullo, Christmas Cactus

About This Plant

Sun or light shade. Evergreen. This tough shrub cactus forms a thicket of small cylindrical stems armed with sharp spines. Yellow blooms appear in August, followed by dramatic displays of red fruit at the end of the year. Pencil cactus is rugged but hardy, and provides a daunting, free-form native hedge barrier — a nice companion for more strongly formed plants like agave. It’s one of those much-maligned native plants that’s appreciated by wildlife, brush sculptors, native plant enthusiasts and cactus aficionados.

Origins: Southwestern U.S. and northern Mexico


Prune as needed to control; this is a fairly messy cactus that forms thickets if left to its own devices.

A Christmas cactus for fencelines, barriers and native effects.

Min. Height: 2'

Max Height: 4 feet'

Min. Width: 2'

Max Width: 4 feet'

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