Cereus Peruvianus – Night Blooming Cereus – Peruvian Apple

Cereus Peruvianus - Night Blooming Cereus - Peruvian Apple

Having plants indoors and giving them the humidity they would really like is another.

It’s great when you can find a plant that doesn’t mind the low humidity, likes it on the dry side and takes up little space.

What am I talking about?…

The Peruvian Apple, apple cactus, column cactus or correctly Cereus peruvianus.

Peruvian apple cactus picks up the common name, because of its 1-2 inch fleshy, red apple like fruit.

You’ll find the cereus cactus plant grown normally as multiple “cuttings” planted in various heights, such as a 2 and 3 foot trunk planted in a 10 inch container.

Larger pots of 14 and 17 inch having 3 or 4 of the columnar trunks planted of different lengths reaching a height of 4-6 feet and occasionally taller.

The stems or trunks have a gray-green coloring along with 6 to 8 vertical ribs. When the flowers emerge they are typically 2-4 inches and white.

The cactus Cereus peruvianus is a very upright plant and is used mainly as a floor plant. Taking smaller plants, elevating them and combining some interesting pottery or containers can create some very interesting effects and looks… sort of like “living art”.

Many people think from the start that since the plant is a cactus or in the cactus family it shouldn’t be watered or it only needs a little. In the watering department it wants to be watered well.

What this plant wants as well as most cactus is VERY GOOD DRAINAGE, warmth, sun and low humidity. This plant is a perfect candidate for a sunny south, east or west window.

The plant can handle low light levels but thrives in bright light.

High or Bright Lighting

If your plant will be in high or bright lighting, allow the plant to dry out between waterings.

When night blooming cereus care involves maintaining plants lower light levels the soil should be allowed to dry out to about 75 percent. Don’t just look at the soil. Make sure that the blades and stems are soft and spongy before you water.

Do not allow the Cereus to sit in water. If your plant is being over watered it may have yellowing stems or blades, mushy stems, root rot or smell funny.

The most common pest is scale and an occasional mealy bug. Many interiorscapers are successful with organic insecticdes or insecticidal soaps.

When transporting the plant watch out for the typical cactus spines on your hands, clothes, and vehicle. I should also point out that because of the spines the Cereus may not be the best choice for people with young children.

Most growers wrap some extra paper around the stems to protect people as well as the other stems from being pierced in shipping.

You may be surprised at how heavy a Cereus peruvianus is.

This is because of the amount of water held in the stems. This weight can make moving the plant around difficult.

To be successful with the Cereus peruvianus give it good light and proper watering.

You’ll have a strong stable plant that provides a unique or interesting look to your indoor “art collection”.

Time Lapse Blooming of Cereus Cactus

Night Blooming Cereus Care Questions

Question: What care does a Night-Blooming Cercus need? EP, Mesquite, TX

Answer: Keep it on the dry side during winter but if possible give it plenty of humidity and root moisture when growth is visible.

It likes a sunny place in winter, shade from bright sun in summer. When repotting use a soil mixture of good indoor potting mix and add about 25% sand. In summer apply dilute fertilizer about every ten days.

Question: How can I make my night-blooming cereus flower? JW, NY

Answer: Cereus is the member of the cactus family commonly called night blooming cereus. However, many others cactus belong to this genus that are not night blooming.

If planted in good soil and watered moderately, it should bloom each year between June and August. After the blooming season water should be given the plant very sparingly for a period of three months. Then as new growths appear, watering should be increased. The plant grows and blooms in partial shade almost without care. It needs no pruning and requires repotting only after it has obviously outgrown its pot.

Question: I have a huge night-blooming cereus. Can it be cut back? Also, would it bloom if it was kept in the basement all year? Our basement has air, light and sunshine. OW, Indiana.

Cereus Peruvianus flower

Answer: The cercus cactus may be cut back. Pruning is best done when the plant is in its resting cycle. That is, after it has quit blooming and when it is receiving – little water. It should grow and bloom in the basement you describe provided the humidity is not too high.

Question: My night-blooming cereus turns brown at the edges, even on the new shoots. Can you tell me what causes this? VA

Answer: A likely cause is too much water during winter. Water can be given freely throughout the growing season. The soil should be porous and well-drained. Cut out the affected parts and dust the wounds with sulfur.


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