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Pachycereus marginatus f. cristata

Botanical Name — Pachycereus marginatus f. cristata

Common Name — Crested Organ Pipe or Crested Mexican Organ Pipe Cactus

Plant Family — Cactaceae


Pachycereus marginatus f. cristata is an unusual, mutated form of a typically columnar Pachycereus marginatus. Its fan-like structure and interweaving white ribs on an olive green body make for a unique collector’s favorite. Native to central Mexico in their columnular form, they are often grown as property barriers and posts. The crested variety are nursery cultivars and rarely found in the wild. 

Growth Requirements


  • Crested Organ Pipe require plenty of full sun. Eight hours of direct sunlight a day is ideal but at a minimum these plants should be provided with at least five hours. 
  • If bleaching does start to occur on the skin, consider providing partial shade or dappled light at the sun’s peak hours.
  • If you are growing them indoors, a south-facing windowsill is ideal. 

Temperature/ Humidity 

  • Crested Organ Pipe thrive in warm temperatures and low humidity. They will thrive in temperatures above 70 ºF. 
  • They are cold intolerant, hardy to 28 ºF for short periods at the absolute coldest. It is advisable to bring them indoors once night time temperatures consistently fall below 50 ºF. 


  • Pachycereus marginatus f. cristata are extremely drought tolerant. Always allow the soil to dry out completely in between waterings. When you do water, soak the soil thoroughly.
  • If you are unsure whether or not the soil is dry, wait a few days before watering. It is much better to underwater than over water. Excessive moisture can quickly lead to root rot.
  • Water less frequently in the winter, every month to month and a half.


  • Pachycereus marginatus f. cristata plants prefer a gritty, sharply draining mix. Use cactus soil or amend regular potting mix with sand and fine pumice up to 50% to improve texture and drainage. 
  • In desert climates these plants can be potted directly in the earth and grown outdoors year round. 


  • During the warm season Pachycereus marginatus produces lines of beautiful ruby red flowers along its ribs, but keep in mind that crested specimens often don’t flower. 


  • Pachycereus marginatus f. cristata do not require fertilization, however a boost of nutrients during the growing season will help them thrive. Use a fertilizer formulated specifically for cacti and succulents, once a month, during the spring and summer only. 
  • Keep an eye out for a surprising amount of emerald green growth each growing season if conditions are right.


  • These plants can be reliably propagated from stem cuttings. Use a clean, sharp blade to sever a segment of a stem or an entire branch. Place the cutting in a shaded area for a few days to allow the wound to callous over, then pot in a well-drained cactus mix. 
  • Stem cuttings are the main form of propagation for this plant, as the crested mutation cannot be counted on forming from seed.



  • These cacti are not especially prone to pests and diseases. Root rot can easily occur if the plant is overwatered. Keep an eye out for common pests such as mealybugs, aphids and scale. 

Maintenance (pruning, legginess, repotting)

  • These hardy plants require very little maintenance. Container grown cacti prefer to be rootbound, so repotting should be necessary only once every two years. Repot into a planter 2” larger in diameter to give the plant plenty of room to continue growing. 


  • Pachycereus marginatus f. cristata have no known toxicity to humans or animals. 
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