Natural Growing Conditions
Peyote is a slow growing, spineless cacti, native to Central Mexico and Texas. It grows in many areas throughout the Chihuahuan Desert, but is becoming scarce due to overharvesting. Although the areas it is commonly found in are usually very dry and receive much harsh direct sunlight, the cactus itself often grows in the shade of another cactus or nearby shrub. Once it reaches a diameter of around 7cm, Peyote begins producing side pups, and may eventually form large clumps.
Growing from Seed
Like most cacti, Peyote is fairly simple to propagate from seed, although it may take anything from three days to a year for seeds to germinate. Also, even though cultivated Peyote can grow much faster than plants growing in the wild, it may still take more than five years to reach adult size. Thus, Peyote is an entheogen for those willing to wait for their rewards.
Please see the Growing Cacti form Seed technique. Peyote will respond well to this method, particularly with the addition of a small amount of dolomite, gypsum, or crushed limestone to the potting mix.
Trout suggests putting lumps of limestone next to small Peyote plants to provide shading from direct sun. I simply plant them lower than usual so the rim of the pot provides some shade.
Due to it’s naturally slow growth rate, some growers prefer to graft Peyote onto faster growing species to cut down on the time it takes to produce fully grown plants. Peyote usually responds well to grafting, a six month old seedling, once grafted, may reach flowering size in as little as six months. This is a vast improvement on conventionally grown Peyote, which may take 3 to 5 years to reach flowering size.
As with all cacti, never graft Peyote just for the sake of it. As not all grafts are successful, it can be a terrible waste of plants.
To graft Peyote, choose a fast growing collumnular cacti as the grafting stock. Most collumnular cacti will be fine, but Trichocereus pachanoi and Myrtillocactus geometrizans are both excellent choices because they are fast growing, water tolerant, and reasonably spineless. Unless you have no choice, do not use stock plants grown from seed. They often taper at the base, and may topple once used for grafting, rooted cuttings from these plants will be far more stable.
Perform a flat graft on Peyote. Under optimum conditions, the graft will heal within days and new growth may be seen within weeks (although this may take considerably longer). As with other slow growing cacti, grafted Peyote may become bloated or misshaped due to increased growth rate. Once your grafted Peyote has reached flowering size and possibly has side pups, you may wish to remove the Peyote scion from the stock and reroot it on it’s own roots for a beautifully productive parent plant.
Peyote will do well in any free draining compost mix. Although to promote flowering it is recommended to add Gypsum or Dolomite. Calcium is also thought to benefit Peyote. A good mix would be:
- 1/3 Washed sand
- 1/3 Perlite
- 1/3 Potting compost
Or for a more free draining variety:
- 1/3 Smooth cactus top dressing or round fish tank gravel
- 1/3 Perlite
- 1/3 Potting compost
Feel free to experiment with other mixes. You can use various types of composted manure, crushed lava rock, coconut coir, leaf mould, etc. Avoid vermiculite in adult plants, as it has a tendency to break down and become compacted. Aim for about 1/3 organic matter and 2/3 aeration, drainage, and inert additives. It will also benefit Peyote to add powdered limestone to keep the soil slightly alkaline, and bonemeal as a slow release fertilizer.