Decorating Cacti for Christmas in Tucson, Arizona

In Tucson, many people put Christmas lights on saguaro cacti (pronounced ‘sah-wah-roh’). Saguaros are found exclusively in the Sonoran Desert. [The Sonoran Desert straddles part of the United States-Mexico border and covers large parts of the U.S. states of Arizona and California and the northwest Mexican states of Sonora, Baja California, and Baja California Sur.]


Saguaros, the largest cacti in the United States, are very slow growing. A ten-year-old plant might only be 1.5 inches tall. Saguaro can grow to be between 40-60 feet tall. When rain is plentiful and the saguaro is fully hydrated it can weigh between 3200-4800 pounds.

This cactus is one of many desert cacti that put out both flowers and fruit; the saguaro flower is the state flower of Arizona. But the saguaro doesn’t produce its first flower until it is about 50 years old! The white blossoms open only at night, last less than 24 hours and are pollinated by moths and bats.

Our favorite kind of saguaro is called the crestate saguaro. It is a mutation that occurs in one of every 200,000 saguaros.

At Christmas, we love to drive around at night and see all the beautiful lighted saguaros.

Merry Christmas from Tucson, Arizona!!!


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32 Responses to Decorating Cacti for Christmas in Tucson, Arizona

  1. How awesome from the perspective of a New Englander!

    Wanted to wish you a wonderful Holiday; hope it means special time with family and friends.

  2. Pingback: Merry Christmas 2011 from Tucson, Arizona « Rhapsody in Books …: HOLLY CHRISTMAS

  3. Kay says:

    Thanks for sharing the cacti trivia, Jill! The saguaros are indeed beautiful, lighted or not. I had no idea that they were that old, the ones I’ve seen I mean. Fascinating!

    Merry Christmas to you guys! Hope your day is very special. Hugs!

  4. BermudaOnion says:

    I love that you’re always educating me! I had to read your post out loud to Carl and we were both amazed. Merry Christmas to you and Jim!!

  5. JoAnn says:

    Merry Christmas, Jill! Lights on a cactus are such an exotic sight to my northeastern eyes 😉

  6. JoV says:

    Always love to see pictures of your Tucson Christmas especially the one you did last year…. it is beautiful and it doesn’t have to be snowy to call it Christmas. It didn’t know on South England this year, a bummer, but hey-ho Merry Christmas to you and your family!

  7. Trisha says:

    Gorgeous! Merry Christmas.

  8. softdrink says:

    Merry Christmas, OJ!! And Merry Christmas, Jim!!

  9. Margot says:

    Thanks for the gorgeous photos and info on the saguaro. It’s fun knowing about lights on them. Merry Christmas Jill.

  10. Nymeth says:

    Merry Christmas, Jill! That last picture is beautiful.

  11. They are so gorgeous! I would love to see some one day. Merry Christmas, Jill!

  12. Patti Smith says:

    I love reading and hearing about everyone’s traditions in their parts of the country! The SouthWest is one of my favorite parts of the U.S. after an absolutely wonderful vacation to Taos, New Mexico a few years ago:) Merry Christmas!!

  13. Darlene says:

    Just stopping by to wish you a very Merry Christmas and all the best in the New Year Jill!

  14. harvee says:

    Just love the idea of decorating the cacti with lights. Happy holidays to you!

  15. isabel says:

    From Portugal to all of you Merry Christmas!

  16. Ah, the old sah-wah-roh or sah-war-ro debate. 🙂

    Merry Christmas!

  17. The cactus are beautiful with the lights!!

    Merry Christmas, Jill!!

  18. stacybuckeye says:

    I love that you educate us, Jill! Those lights are very cool. Wishing you the merriest of Christmases 🙂

  19. Cipriano says:

    Such a different climate from the one I am NOT enjoying a fair ways north of you.
    [Warm] Christmas wishes to you from a place that even Santa thinks is a bit too chilly. Ottawa, Canada — Home of Shivering People.

  20. Alyce says:

    I would think that you would have to put those lights on very carefully! 🙂 They are very pretty all lit up though. Merry Christmas!

  21. Oh, I love it! Your posts are always so fascinating! Merry Christmas!

  22. Kaye says:

    oh, so pretty!! Thanks for sharing. A lot of people down here in FL light up their palm trees. Hope your Christmas is wonderful.

  23. Edgar says:

    “The white blossoms open only at night, last less than 24 hours…”
    They are beautiful.
    We did not have any chance to experience the while blossoms on our return home from the White Sand. Maybe next time.
    Merry Christmas.

  24. Danielle says:

    Merry Christmas!!! This was such a lovely post, especially because my parents live in Arizona and I have yet to visit their new home. I loved getting to see a little bit of the landscape. Lovely! Have a wonderful holiday! xo

  25. Julie P. says:

    I love the cacti with the lights! Too cute!

  26. zibilee says:

    I have never heard of putting lights on a cactus, and now I want to do it too! Merry Christmas over there, my friend! Enjoy your very festive cacti, and all your other Christmas traditions!

  27. Merry Christmas, Jill! I love the pic of saguaro with lights on them!

  28. Hope you had a wonderful Christmas!

  29. Janel says:

    I love the lighted cacti! Hope you had a great Christmas. 🙂

  30. Jenners says:

    What I love about your blog is that you’re always teaching us something!!!

    Hope you had the merriest of Christmases and wishing you a wonderful 2012!

  31. Care says:

    Happy Week Between Christmas Day and New Year’s!

  32. Steph says:

    I am horribly late in sending you my holiday wishes, but I hope you and Jim had a lovely Xmas AND a wonderful new year! I wish you all the best in 2012!

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