Cacti

Austrocylindropuntia Subulata Guide: How to Grow & Care for “Eve’s Needle Cactus”

Read our guide to Austrocylindropuntia Subulata for everything you’ll ever need to know! Tips for planting & caring for “Eve’s Needle Cactus"

If your cacti family needs a new member, check out Austrocylindropuntia subulata a.k.a. Eve’s pin cactus. This cute plant is a great choice for any cacti and succulent lover! The peculiar and easy-going nature of this cactus is absolutely irresistible, but it is not what makes it a must-have species. Eve’s pin cactus is pretty rare in cultivation, so you will have something to show off with if you manage to get one!

Austrocylindropuntia subulata, commonly known as Eve’s pin or Eve’s needle, is an eye-catching species of flowering cacti. Member of the Cactaceae family, this plant is native to the Peruvian Andes Mountains in South America. Nowadays, the cactus has become naturalized in Bolivia and Argentina, but it is a very appreciated ornamental plant worldwide.

Keep reading to find out more about Austrocylindropuntia subulata a.k.a. Eve’s pin cactus!

About Eve’s Pin Cactus

  • This plant belongs to the Austrocylindropuntia genus that consists of exactly 11 species of cacti formerly included in the Opuntia genus. It shares this small genus with species like A. cylindrica, A. floccosa, A. lagopus, A. pachypus, and A. vestita.
  • Austrocylindropuntia subulata usually grows at high elevations of 9800 feet (3000 m) above sea level. The species shows up in inter-Andean valleys, woodlands, or scrub.
  • Eve’s pin cactus is very abundant where it occurs naturally. The populations of Eve’s pin cacti are stable. Due to its wide distribution, luckily, there are no threats to this beautiful and unique-looking species.
  • This cactus needs minimal care in general. It can perform well with lots of sunlight, slightly cool to warm temperatures, a well-draining cactus mix, and a bit of water every now and then.
  • Eve’s pin cactus can make for a wonderful addition to several landscape decorations, such as cacti & succulent gardens, along roadsides, along creek banks, along waterways, or in cute containers. Plant them near cacti or succulents with similar demands.
  • Since Eve’s pin cactus has spines, it can be quite harmful to curious kids, cats, and dogs if touched. For safety purposes, grow this cactus in a spot where your loved ones or cute pets cannot reach it.
Austrocylindropuntia Subulata
Austrocylindropuntia Subulata

Eve’s Pin Cactus Features: An Overview

  • Austrocylindropuntia subulata is a perennial, succulent cactus that takes the form of either a shrub or small tree with time. While the shrubby types usually feature several branches from their base, the tree-like ones have a simple erect trunk.
  • In its native habitat, this cactus can reach up to 13 feet (4 m) in height. In cultivation, however, the plant will only grow as tall as 24 to 30 inches (61-76 cm).
  • Its trunk measures from 2.4 to 4 inches (6-10 cm) in diameter and bears clusters of eight spines or even more. The many branches are erect, somewhat fragile, elongate, 12 to 20 inches (30-50 cm) long, and exhibit various shades of green.
  • Eve’s pin cactus produces awl-like, pointed, rudimentary leaves that grow up to 5 inches (12 cm) in length. The leaves can last more than a year in warm areas, but they tend to dry off in cooler regions during the winter.
  • Some specimens may not come along with spines. But those that do generally have one or two spines (more numerous on older stems) that are erect, slender, strong, straight, up to 3.2 inches (8 cm) long, and appear in yellowish to greyish-white hues.
  • In the wild, Eve’s pin cactus may bloom once in a while during the summer months. The flowers are red to orange-pink and show up covered or surrounded by tiny, rudimentary leaves. The blossoms may never appear in cultivated specimens.
  • Once the flowering season has ended, this cactus bears fruits where the bloomings were. The fruits are thorny, ovoid or club-like capsules that measure up to 4 inches (10 cm) in length.

Growing Eve’s Pin Cactus

Eve’s pin cactus is, like most other species of cacti, super easy to grow and care for. Believe us when we are telling you that you will have to pay attention to this cactus only during its first year in your company. Once this period comes to an end, Eve’s pin cactus will basically take care of itself alone and will require little to no effort on your part.

Eve’s pin cactus is a light-loving plant, so it will thrive in those areas where it can receive plenty of it. As mentioned above, however, the plant will benefit from some shade during its initial growth phase. In its first year of growth, it is wise to introduce your cactus to full sunlight gradually. But after this, you can let your Eve’s pin cactus in a location with lots of bright and direct light without worrying about its overall well-being.

In general, Eve’s pin cactus cannot tolerate cool temperatures that drop below 25 °F (-4 °C). In fact, you must keep your cactus in a spot where it will not experience temperatures of 41 °F (5 °C) at night regularly. If the temperature in your zone gets cooler than this, we suggest you grow your Eve’s pin cactus in a pot and bring it inside in autumn.

Luckily, Eve’s pin cactus is fairly resistant to pest infestations and fungal diseases. The only common problem with this plant is that it is pretty sensitive to both over-watering and under-watering. But do not worry! As long as you plant your Eve’s pin cactus in proper soil and adopt a suited watering routine, you will not encounter future unpleasant surprises.

Austrocylindropuntia Subulata, From Amazon

Planting Eve’s Pin Cactus

In terms of growing medium, Eve’s pin cactus is not as picky as you might think. This cactus can actually do just fine in any type of soil that features excellent drainage. Still, it will perform best in a loose mixture of 50% pumice, 25% potting soil, and 25% sand. If you cannot prepare this particular mixture at home, you can always plant your beloved buddy in a commercial substrate designed for cacti and succulents.

Eve’s pin cactus can usually do well without frequent fertilizing, but keep in mind that your plant will benefit from occasional applications of fertilizers. The ideal period to fertilize your plant is during its active growing season. Feed your cactus with a weak water-soluble fertilizer made for cacti once every month from spring to midsummer.

Since Eve’s pin cactus grows and spreads like crazy with time, it will need regular repotting. When the plant begins to outgrow its pot, you will have to move it into a new container that is slightly bigger than the current one. Make sure you transplant your cactus only during the spring months to avoid stressing it out too much.

Eve’s pin cactus is not that type of plant that demands constant grooming and maintenance. However, if you notice some minor outbreaks of rot or unhealthy stems, you should take action. All you have to do is cut the unwanted stems away using a sharp, sterilized knife.

Watering Eve’s Pin Cactus

Eve’s pin cactus can store impressive amounts of water in its trunk and branches. Because of this feature, it becomes fairly tolerant of drought for very long periods. As a rule, the amount of water Eve’s pin cactus needs directly depends on the environmental conditions of the season. In fewer words, the lower the temperature, the less water this cactus demands.

Eve’s pin cactus is a plant that will not hesitate to show you how dissatisfied is regarding its watering routine. In case of over-watering, you will start to notice brown to black spots on your cactus. On the other hand, an under-watered cactus will shrivel up and lose its firmness. But we have the perfect solution to avoid either of these issues from happening.

Make sure you always check the growing medium of your Eve’s pin cactus in-between waterings. You can provide your plant with a nice, deep drink only when the soil has dried out completely. We recommend you plant your Eve’s pin cactus in a pot with drainage holes at the bottom. After you water it, allow the water to drain well, then remove the excess from the tray to avoid waterlogging and root rot.

Eve’s Needle Cactus
Eve’s Needle Cactus

Propagating Eve’s Pin Cactus

If you have just one Eve’s pin cactus in your collection and dream of that shrubby overall look that this plant can exhibit, propagating yours is the greatest way to do it! The easiest and most common method to propagate this cactus is through cuttings.

But first things first! You should know that even the most experienced growers may fail to propagate their Eve’s pin cactus. As a result, it is better to take more cuttings from the mother plant to have more chances of success. You must propagate your Eve’s pin cactus when it is most vigorous, typically in spring.

Equip yourself with a sharp, clean knife and cut some stems from the base of the cactus. Once you have as many cuttings as you want, make sure you place them on a paper towel for a few days to allow them to dry a bit. Once the cuttings are dry, you can plant them in well-draining soil.

Fill a large container with fresh cactus mix and plant the cuttings in it. Place the container in a warm, shady to a well-lit area. For optimal growth, water the cuttings only sparingly until the small cacti develop their roots.

In Conclusion

The faster you will get your hands on Eve’s pin cactus, the sooner you will enjoy its unique appearance and low-demanding style. We know that you have already fallen in love with succulents and cacti and this little buddy will make a great addition to your plant collection.

Are you already growing Austrocylindropuntia subulata a.k.a. Eve’s Pin cactus? Let us know in the comments!

Miruna is an experienced content writer with a passion for gardening. She is the proud owner of an outdoor rose garden and an indoor collection of tiny succulents. She bought her first succulent 10 years ago - an adorable Echeveria Setosa. Now she owns more than 100 succulents and cacti of different colors, shapes, and sizes. Miruna is a versatile writer and, as you might have guessed, her favorite topic is gardening. Contact miruna@gardenbeast.com

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