Cereus peruvianus (Peruvian apple cactus) Profile

Written by Iris

Oct 13 2021

Cereus peruvianus (Peruvian apple cactus) Profile
Also known as columnar cactus, Cereus peruvianus is a fast-growing cactus with beautiful night flowers. During the summer months, the nodes of the cactus produce flowers. This cactus is native to South America.

Cereus peruvianus Info

Common Name(s) Apple cactus, Peruvian torch, column cactus, hedge cactus, screw cactus plant
Scientific Name Cereus peruvianus or Cereus repandus
Family Cactaceae
Growing Zone 8-11
Light Full sun to partial shade with bright light
Water Water thoroughly during the active growth phase, allow the soil to dry between watering, minimal watering during winter
Soil Well-drained cactus soil having an abundance of sand
Fertilizer Slow-release fertilizer throughout the growing season

Cereus peruvianus Ecological Habits

Cereus peruvianus is a bluish green single column that branches out toward the top in the wild, but is unlikely to do o as a potted plant. I has five to eight broad, prominent notched ribs separated by deep, narrow indentations. Areoles in the notches are filled with white hairs and each areole bears a cluster of about seven brown spines, which are unlikely to grow more than 1-2cm (0.4-0.8 inch) long indoors.
Flowers which are generally produced on large specimens only, are about 15cm (6 inch) long and have white petals tinged with brownish green. cereus peruvianus flowers in summer and opens at night time. Each flower blooms only one night and then dies.
The flowers are followed by red fruits 2.5-5cm (1-2 inch) in diameter.

Cereus peruvianus Distribution

Cereus peruvianus is a large, erect, thorny columnar cactus up to 9m (30 feet) tall when growing in the wild. Though less gigantic in pots, they are much admired for their sculptural, columnar shape, which contrasts impressively with that of most other plants in any collection of cacti. Cereus peruvianus is native from rocky outcrops and the savanna in South America.
Cereus peruvianus

How to Grow and Care for Cereus peruvianus

How to Grow Cereus peruvianus

  • With Seeds
Germinating an Cereus peruvianus (Peruvian apple cactus) seed and rearing the plant from infancy can prove to be challenging and time-consuming. You can propagate your Cereus peruvianus (Peruvian apple cactus) by looking for and transplanting small offshoots that grow from the plant’s base. The offshoots adapt quickly and are more likely to be successful compared to growing using seeds.
  • With Stem Cuttings
Another propagation method involves making small cuttings on the Cereus peruvianus’s stem. The process requires good knowledge of the Cereus peruvianus and an additional skill of making smooth cuts.
Here is an insight on how to go about the procedure:
Identify a mature Cereus peruvianus (Peruvian apple cactus) plant – A mature plant has several stem extensions from the main stem.
Make a cutting on the stem top part of the Cereus peruvianus – Carefully make a smooth cutting on the top side of the stem you intend to propagate.
Allow the cutting to dry for about a week or two – Allow the cutting to dry out undisturbed for about one week before planting the dried cutting in an ideal potting medium.
  • With Offsets
Peruvian Cereus peruvianus (Peruvian apple cactus) propagates from offsets. To be able to propagate from the mother plant, you might wait several years for the main plant to produce an offset. To start this process, use a sharp knife and remove an offset from the main plant. When you remove the offset, clean the extra soil from it. Before replanting, wait for a few days to allow it to callous. Use well-draining soil for your new Cereus peruvianus succulent. Don't forget to water when the soil dries out.
Cereus peruvianus

How to Care for Cereus peruvianus

  • Light
The peruvian cereus peruvianus (Peruvian apple cactus) grows best in full sunlight. Greenhouses, conservatories, and rooms with plenty of windows are ideal for plants grown indoors.
  • Soil
These Cereus peruvianus plants prefer a gritty, sharply draining mix. Use cactus soil or amend regular potting mix with sand and fine pumice up to 50% to improve texture and drainage.
  • Water
Peruvian Cereus peruvianus (Peruvian apple cactus) are resistant to salt spray, so they can spend summers outdoors even near the ocean. Being a cactus, Cereus peruvianus likes bright light and just a little water. Water Peruvian Cereus peruvianus (Peruvian apple cactus) thoroughly when it is actively growing during the spring and summer. Give it considerably less water during the winter. Always let the soil dry out between waterings.
  • Temperature and Humidity
These cacti thrive in warm temperatures and low humidity. They will thrive in temperatures above 70 ºF. They are cold intolerant, hardy to 25 ºF, though it is advisable to bring them indoors once night time temperatures consistently fall below 50 ºF.
  • Fertilizer
Cereus peruvianus are accustomed to growing in soils with limited nutrient values. Most Cereus peruvianus can survive without the frequent need to add fertilizer to the soil, but it’s always recommended to add some fertilizer to boost your plant’s health.
Identifying the type of nutrients missing in the soil is a crucial step to consider before adding extra fertilizer. Collect a soil sample and take it to the lab for analysis to gain a better understanding of the soil’s nutrient quality.
  • Pruning
Autumn is the best time for pruning your Cereus peruvianus (Peruvian apple cactus). Prune it when the Cereus peruvianus plant stops producing new branches or when it starts to become overgrown and becomes hard to pick up the fruits.
Cereus peruvianus

Uses of Cereus peruvianus

Nutritional Uses
Like many edible cactus fruits, the fruit produced by the peruvian apple cactus is rich in natural sugars, vitamins, and minerals. The tasty white flesh contains high levels of beta-carotene, a precursor to vitamin A, along with Vitamin C, dietary fiber, and more. Eating cereus fruits can help to enhance immune functioning and improve digestion.
Landscape Uses
Cereus peruvianus can be used as a windowsill plant, but mainly as a floor plant as it grows tall. As houseplants Cereus peruvianus will bring an exotic air to interiors where they are.
Observations and statistics of scientists have shown that Cereus peruvianus neutralizes harmful electromagnetic waves emitted by the television, telephone, computer, thus placing the plant in those areas of the house where the electronics are placed is beneficial.
Cereus peruvianus

Varieties of Cereus peruvianus (Peruvian apple cactus)

Cereus Jamacaru-Tall plant growing to over 20ft. Flowering plant and produces edible fruit
Cereus hildmannianus-A flowering plant that produces white flowers on occasional bloom.
Produces edible fruit.Features cylindrical segmented stems.
Cereus tetragonus-Native to North America Reach considerable heights and are often mistaken for fairy tale castles, common and dwarf succulents

Cereus peruvianus (Peruvian apple cactus) Common Pests/Diseases

If your Cereus is in bloom, your plants are extremely vulnerable to getting diseases and pests. They are old and tired at this point and it is a good time to take a break from watering and fertilizing. The purpose of resting is so that your cactus can use all the energy it has stored up to produce the giant flowers that will soon be on display.
If you do want to care for your cactus, the best way to proceed is to cut off all of the old bloom stalks, to keep rotting material off of your cactus, to remove all of the old mummies to prevent mold, and to use a light fertilizer when it starts to bloom. Not all cacti need the same care, however. The Cereus Peruvianus will need high amounts of potassium and magnesium while it is in bloom, but after it is done, the nutrients are of no use to the plant. Instead of watering the cactus with fertilizer, apply a magnesium spray to prevent more flowers.
Cereus peruvianus

Cereus peruvianus Design Tips

The Peruvian apple cactus is a popular ornamental plant that creates an all-natural architecture for gardens and greenhouses alike. With just a little bit of care and attention, this plant can grow to impressive heights and add a unique element to your floor plan or landscape design. Many gardeners also grow this variety of cactus for its exotic flowers and edible fruits. Versatile and visually appealing, the peruvian apple cactus is a low-maintenance centerpiece for the both the home and the garden.