Oreocereus hendricksenianus also called as Old man of Andes is a clustered columnar cactus that form groups up to 1.4 m tall and 2 m in width. The 3- to 4-inch-wide stem grows to about 3 feet tall and branches freely from the base, forming a many-stemmed clump up to 6 feet across. The cactus is also armed with up to 2-inch-long, sharp, central spines growing from large areoles.
At first the body is club shaped, becoming cylyndrical with age, though growth is slow. The beauty of this plant lies in the covering of silky white, yellowish, red-brown to black hair, completely concealing the stem, protruding through which are stout, brightly coloured spines.
It flowers from spring to summer. The diurnal red tubelike flowers appear near the ends of the stems.
Oreocereus cactus need full sun exposures with ample airflow to produce dense hairs, but, as a former mountain dweller, does not care for extremely high temperatures in summer.
Grow it in a rich and particularly draining substratum, as it is very sensitive to rottenness when in presence of humidity and low temperatures and let the soil dry out between waterings.
In summer, during the vegetative period, it must be regularly watered, but allowing the substratum to completely dry up before irrigating again; in winter, it’s to be kept dry. Preferable not to water on overcast days, humid days or cold winter days.
A slow-release fertilizer applied in the spring will be sufficient for the whole year. Repot in the spring, when their roots become cramped. Generally, they should be repotted every other year in order to provide fresh soil. After repotting, do not water for a week or more.
Excellent as landscape or patio plant. It is suitable for small “desert” gardens.