Espostoa lanata


The Espostoa lanata is indigenous to Ecuador and Peru. The majority of individuals are located on the western slopes of the Andes Mountains. A tree-like, columnar species, this cactus sports an average of 20 - 30 ribs with white areolas. Spines are short and white to pale yellow in color. Central spines are up to 3 1/4 inches long. As pictured, whitish hairs cover the plant's green stem.

Flowers are nocturnal, funnel-form and protected by the plant's whitish wool. Purplish-white flowers are large, up to 2 1/4 inches long and 1 1/4 inches in diameter. Blooming season takes place during late spring, concluding in mid summer. Fruit is near spherical, typically 1" in length and diameter. Fruit is purplish-red, edible, juicy and sweet! The stark contrast between this plant's wool and bright fruit makes for a stunning show.

The Espostoa lanata is an easy species to grow. Great candidate for containers. Hardy down to 30 degrees F (USDA hardiness zone 10). Good choice for xeriscaping.


Centerpiece plant-

1. Maintains manicured appearance 365 days a year
2. Sports short white/yellow spines and long radial, yellow spines
3. Stunning, purplish-white funnel-form flowers
4. Large/showy flowers (2 1/4 inches long and 1 1/4 inches in diameter)
5. Fruit creates a beautiful contrast with the whitish wool

General gardening-

1. Hardy down to 30 degrees F
2. Great candidate for containers
3. Easy species to cultivate (a good choice for novice gardeners)
4. Good choice for xeriscaping

Edible fruit-

1. Fruit is edible, sweet and very juicy
2. Fruit can be eaten raw or cooked
3. Fruit is often used to make wine, preserves etc...


Cactus lanatus Kunth
Cereus lanatus (Kunth) DC.
Cleistocactus lanatus (Kunth) F.A.C.Weber in Rol.-Goss.
Oreocereus lanatus (Kunth) Britton & Rose ex Rose
Pilocereus lanatus (Kunth) F.A.C.Weber in Bois

Plant Details
USDA Zone Information: 
10 - 11
Flower : 
Ideal Light Conditions: 
Sun to partial shade
Ideal Water Conditions: 
Moderate in summer/Dry in winter
Speed of Growth: 
Mature Height: 
Mature Width: 
Latin Name: 
Espostoa lanata
Common Name: 
Peruvian Old Man Cactus, Snowball Old Man Cactus, Snowball Cactus, Cotton Ball Cactus

Corporate Clients (The King hangs hard)


RoboCop (1987)
RoboCop 2 (1990)
Hot Pursuit (2015)


USA Network's Queen of the South (2019)

Botanical Gardens:

New York Botanical Gardens
Oklahoma City Zoo/Botanical Gardens
Mercer Arboretum in Houston, Texas
Meijer Gardens in Grand Rapids, Michigan


Houston, TX Zoo
San Antonio, TX Zoo

Other Clientele:

Houston, TX Rodeo

The Cactus King's cacti and succulents have gone international! If you ever find yourself in China with a little spare time, head to the Chimelong Ocean Kingdom. It is the largest Aquarium in the world (no big deal, pun definitely intended).

The Cactus King's plants are also featured in the Chimelong Ocean Kingdom's partner parks. These include their water park, amusement park, crocodile park and botanical gardens.

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Sunday: Closed

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Find your dream plant!

Addresses & Contact Information

Physical Address (IN-PERSON VISITS):
7900 I-45N
Houston TX, 77037

We're located directly next to the Tajj Inn.
Mailing Address (WEB ORDER PAYMENTS):

Lyn Rathburn
PO Box 16099
Houston, TX 77222

Please make checks/money orders out to "Lyn Rathburn."
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