Skip to Content

Totem Pole Cactus Growth Rate – How Fast Is It?

Totem Pole Cactus Growth Rate – How Fast Is It?

The Totem Pole cactus can last for years but it may take just as long to see it at its full size.

The growth rate of the Totem Pole cactus is dependent on many factors, such as sunlight availability, temperature, and water amount.

In this article, I’ll go over the growth rate of Totem Poles and other helpful tips when keeping one on your property.


Totem Pole Cactus Growth Rate

The Totem Pole cactus grows at a slow rate and will take years before reaching its maximum height of 10-12 feet (3-3.7 meters). The cactus will also reach about 4-5 inches (10-12.7cm) in diameter.


Growing Totem Pole Cactus Indoor

As long as your Totem Pole cactus is receiving plenty of sunlight, you can grow one indoors. The smaller the cactus is, the easier it will be to place around the home for access to sunlight.

Once the Totem Pole reaches adult heights it will be best to move outdoors. The cactus will start growing in several offshoots that extend in all directions, making it hard to keep indoors.

If left inside, you run the risk of someone getting cut by the Totem’s thorns. Transplanting the cactus to an outdoor area will need special consideration as well.

This is a major reason most people grow their Totems outdoors.

Your Totem Pole will love sunlight more than other cacti or succulents. I suggest leaving it in an area that receives the most light, preferably near a window.


Totem Pole Cactus and Pruning

You wouldn’t think a cactus needs pruning but it can be beneficial to maintain your Totem from time to time.

If it starts interfering with other elements of your home or yard, you’ll want to give it a good cut. Since the Totem will split off into several cacti, I recommend pruning to maintain its size.

Another reason you would want to prune a Totem is to propagate it in other areas of your property. You’re able to cut off the different offshoots and plant them in other areas of your property to produce more Totem Pole Cacti.

Shaping your Totem is another popular reason for pruning. The shape can become wider than what most homes need for their yard.

If the cactus becomes too wide, you run the risk of it harming your family or pets.

Your neighbors will also appreciate you pruning down your Totem Pole if you have it near any walking paths. I prefer to leave the cactus a couple of feet from any public walking path to prevent any potential harm.

The Totem Pole really doesn’t require any major pruning if it has enough room to grow naturally. If left by itself with plenty of sun, it could grow up to 15 feet in width (4.6m).


How Often to Water a Totem Pole Cactus

A totem pole cactus needs to be watered only when the soil is completely dry. Root rot is one of the main reasons cacti perish, so you want to err on the side of caution when watering.

If growing in a pot, check the top of the soil with your fingers to make sure it feels dry. I recommend watering it about once a week, at most.

When you first transfer a Totem Pole into the pot, it’ll take about 2-4 weeks in order for the cuttings to take root.

You want to make sure you put the Totem in a place that will receive sunlight but won’t be knocked over by anyone walking by.


What Kills a Totem Pole Cactus

If you overwater your Totem Pole cactus it will end up dying because the soil will stay wet and create a moist environment for root rot.

Besides overwatering, another thing that might kill your cacti is unexpectedly touching them. I have seen many people break a cactus or two when they try to move it without taking the time to study how they should properly handle the plant.

The younger the Totem is, the easier it will be to knock over or uprooted. Especially in the first couple weeks of transferring a cutting.

You don’t have to worry about any common disease or insects that could ruin your cactus. They can be particularly hardy and will last for several years even if you don’t interfere much.


Temperatures Totem Pole Cacti Require

Any temperatures above 70 degrees Fahrenheit are going to allow the Totem to thrive. In southern places in the US like California or Texas, you can expect the Totem to grow year-round.

Cacti don’t fare well in freezing temperatures. Any temperature below 50 degrees Fahrenheit and you need to transfer your cactus inside. You’ll need to find a sunny spot inside the home when you move your Totem.

Of course, if your Totem is planted outdoors you can leave it there, but try to get a cover over your cactus to keep it warm.


Frequently Asked Questions about Totem Pole Cactus Growth Rate


How Long Do Totem Pole Cactus Live?

If you plant a Totem on a large property it will live for hundreds of years. Indoors, a Totem can be expected to live around 10 years.


Do Totem Pole Cacti Grow Arms?

A Totem Pole cactus can grow multiple upright arms. Batches of Totem are very common and if not maintained, can grow as wide as 15 feet.


Growing a Totem Pole Cactus

Your Totem Pole Cactus will grow slowly over the years but it won’t need much care while you’re waiting.

As long as you give it lots of sunlight, you can keep it indoors or outdoors, just don’t leave it in the cold.