The Basics of Saguaro Cactus

While out and about in the desert, Jeff came across some gorgeous saguaros. In this video he shares some great info to share about these majestic cactus!

The Basics of Saguaro Cactus

From the video:

Hey, this is Jeff with Southwest Land Deals.

Out here in the Sonoran Southwest, down here in Southern Arizona. And I ran across, not run across, but they’re all over the place, these Saguaro Cactus. You can see a couple amazing ones right over my shoulder here. And then this one right behind me. So I thought I’d just talk a little bit about these amazing cactus.

They’re actually only found in the Sonoran Desert, which is basically Arizona and Mexico. They can live, they’re very slow growing. They only can grow maybe a few inches over the first five to ten years. And then as they grow, they don’t even start to blossom or get their first flower until about 35 years and they don’t get their first arm, so you can see the arms there growing out of the cactus, until they’re about 50 years.

And really aren’t even considered a mature saguaro until about 125 years. And they live north of 200 years. So they’re really cool cactuses that are pretty unique.

And what you can see on this one right behind me, is you actually have these ribs and these creases. And when it when it rains those actually expand out to store the water. And so what makes them great for the desert is when it rains they absorb all this water in these creases, and they actually get smaller and becomes more round. Over time when it’s during a drought, it starts to use that water reserve.

And a mature saguaro can grow up to about 60 feet in height and weigh over four tons. So that’s four, eight thousand pounds.

I’ve got another one that was really cool to see the inside of it which is pretty unique. And this one is, so these are called the ribs. And so each one of these pleats corresponds with one of the ribs in the saguaro. And sometimes you can find, I don’t think this has it. But sometimes you’ll have a cactus wren and they will actually make a home inside the saguaro. And the saguaro grows a boot–it’s called the boot around it and it’s an interior, like nest for the cactus wren. So it’s really kind of cool.

Something else that’s unique about the saguaros that are just in the Sonoran Desert here, is they really only grow in about under 4,000 feet in elevation. So they don’t like the cold. A frost and the snow can potentially, you know, harm them when they’re little.

Another thing that you’re going to see a lot is, you can see this the bushy tree here, this is a mesquite tree. And a lot of times, because they’re so slow growing, they actually start underneath these trees and over time they grow up and grow through them. So a lot of times you’ll see a young saguaro growing right up, right up through a tree. And the reason that is, is because they like their protection because they are so slow growing.

Let’s see, so hopefully that’s helpful.

And always, you know, coming out here looking at the land, being in the Southwest one of my favorites is seeing these amazing saguaros, especially like this one right here behind my shoulder here, that’s just massive. Lots of growth, lots of arms, and very unique.

Something else to note, in Arizona it’s actually illegal to take one of these. So if you do run across one you think it’s really cool, there’s a huge fine associated with taking a saguaro home with you, if you can even pick it up or even the ribs here. So if you were to cut these ribs down and take those with you there’s a big fine on that. Like I said they are filled with water so even a small saguaro weighs quite a bit.

Again this is Jeff with Southwest Land Deals. Our website is Thanks!

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