Succulent/Cactus identity and care


Hi there,

I’m hoping to identify this plant! The convenience store owner I bought it from could only tell me that it is a cactus or succulent. I would love to know its name and any tips on care! I water about once per month.

Thank you!


Thank you for writing. This is indeed a cactus, and a very nice find!

The first thing I notice are a few white-ish spines at the lower level that seem to be flexible. And so I suspect this is the Tephrocactus articulatus var. papyracanthus.  The ‘papyra’ in the species name is of the Latin ‘papyrus’, or paper, and this refers to its oddly soft, white, paper-like spines. Your Paper Spine Cactus plant is young, and will eventually grow vertically with several nodes, that somewhat resemble green pine cones, each sporting a bundle of harmless, almost decorative, ‘thorns’.

Regarding watering: be sure the soil has completely dried, and only then give the cactus plant a deep warm-water soak, and watch until you see water draining out, into the saucer, below. This thorough drench will promote the roots to grow deeper, and sturdier. Repeat this pattern, and you should never have concerns about root rot.

Please click HERE for a related Toronto Master Gardener reply to another concerned cactus owner. And may your lovely Paper Spine Cactus thrive and grow over the years to a healthy, wonderful plant.