Planting a Saguaro Cactus

  • 01 of 10

    Order Your Saguaro Cactus

    Saguaro Cactus
    Planting a Saguaro Cactus: Step 1. ©Judy Hedding
    The saguaro cactus is protected in the State of Arizona, which means that you just can't go out into the desert, find one, dig it up, and plant it in your yard. There are reputable growers and dealers who can find a saguaro cactus for you. You should only purchase a saguaro cactus from some one has a permit and will give you the documentation, just like transferring title to a vehicle, upon payment.

    The larger the saguaro cactus is, and the more arms it has, the more expensive it will be. The saguaro cactus in the gallery you are about to see costs thousands of dollars. It has thirteen arms. Why do I say that you shouldn't try transplanting a saguaro on your own? This saguaro weighs eight tons. That's right, 16,000 pounds!

    So, on to step 1. You've purchased your saguaro cactus from a reputable source, and they bring it to your home. This saguaro traveled about 40 miles, at 25 miles per hour, to get to our house.

    Continue to 2 of 10 below.
  • 02 of 10

    Get It Home

    Saguaro Cactus
    Planting a Saguaro Cactus: Step 2. ©Judy Hedding
    Because of the weight of this saguaro cactus, the transport people had to change trucks. It turns out that they had it loaded on the first truck, but the saguaro was so heavy that it lifted the front two wheels of the truck off the ground. Obviously, the saguaro has to be positioned and braced onto the truck so that the arms wouldn't be damaged in transit.
    Continue to 3 of 10 below.
  • 03 of 10

    Dig a Hole

    Saguaro Cactus
    Planting a Saguaro Cactus: Step 3. ©Judy Hedding
    Once the saguaro has made the trip to your home, decide where you'd like it. Make sure you are certain--you can't change your mind later!

    They dug a hole that was about 4 feet deep. This saguaro cactus was about 25 feet tall when it arrived.

    Continue to 4 of 10 below.
  • 04 of 10

    Position the Saguaro

    Saguaro Cactus
    Planting a Saguaro Cactus: Step 4. ©Judy Hedding
    Angling and positioning for delivery of the saguaro cactus into the hole in the right position is very tricky. This probably took most of the time of the saguaro planting project.

    You'll notice that the saguaro cactus, for all its size and weight, has a very shallow root structure.

    Continue to 5 of 10 below.
  • 05 of 10

    Back the Saguaro into the Hole

    Saguaro Cactus
    Planting a Saguaro Cactus: Step 5. ©Judy Hedding
    Once you feel the angle is correct, they must s-l-o-w-l-y back up the truck so the saguaro cactus can be moved into position.
    Continue to 6 of 10 below.
  • 06 of 10

    Make Sure the Angle is Correct

    Saguaro Cactus
    Planting a Saguaro Cactus: Step 6. ©Judy Hedding
    These guys used a combination of chains and a knowledge of leverage to deliver the saguaro into the hole.
    Continue to 7 of 10 below.
  • 07 of 10

    Finish Positioning the Saguaro

    Saguaro Cactus
    Planting a Saguaro Cactus: Step 7. ©Judy Hedding
    The truck is used to push the saguaro into an upright position.
    Continue to 8 of 10 below.
  • 08 of 10

    One Chance to Get it Straight

    Saguaro Cactus
    Planting a Saguaro Cactus: Step 8. ©Judy Hedding
    Once you are sure that the saguaro is vertical, the hole can be filled in and the braces can be removed.
    Continue to 9 of 10 below.
  • 09 of 10

    Remove Saguaro Brace

    Saguaro Cactus
    Planting a Saguaro Cactus: Step 9. ©Judy Hedding
    Once the braces are removed, the job will be done. The entire process took about 1-1/2 hours.
    Continue to 10 of 10 below.
  • 10 of 10

    Admire Your Saguaro Cactus

    Saguaro Cactus
    Planting a Saguaro Cactus: Step 10. ©Judy Hedding
    Now you can step back and admire your new saguaro cactus! You'll notice that no watering system has been installed for this tree of the desert--it doesn't need it. We have a name for our saguaro, just like it is one of the family. Although we know it is four feet into the ground and very stable, we are always relieved after a monsoon storm to find it standing proudly in front of our desert home.