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Cereus peruvianus, with two budding inflorescences, photographed at Tula Plants & Design. Cereus peruvianus, with two budding inflorescences, photographed at Tula Plants & Design.

Cereus peruvianus

Botanical Name —  Cereus peruvianus

Common Name — Columnar cactus or Queen of the Night

Plant Family — Cactaceae


Cereus peruvianus also known as the Columnar cactus is a fast growing cactus with beautiful, night blooming flowers. The blossoms grow from the cactus nodes during summer months. This cacti is native to South America.

Growth Requirements


  • Cereus peruvianus requires plenty of full sun. Eight hours of direct sunlight a day is ideal but at a minimum these plants should be provided with at least five hours. 
  • If you are growing them indoors a spot in a south facing window is ideal. If growing these outdoors, place them in an area where they will get light shade to protect them from peak afternoon sun.

Temperature/ 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. 


  • Cereus peruvianus  are extremely drought tolerant. Water them thoroughly, fully saturating the soil. Always allow the soil to dry out completely in between waterings. 
  • If you are unsure whether or not the soil is dry, wait a few days before watering. It is much better to underwater than overwater. Excessive moisture can quickly lead to root rot.


  • These 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. 


  • Cereus peruvianus bloom happens from June to September with large, fragrant whitish-pink flowers that open in the evening and remain open to the next day.
  • If pollinated, the fruit when ripe is very similar to a dragon fruit. 


  • They do not require fertilization, however a boost of nutrients during the growing season will help them thrive. Use a fertilizer formulated specifically for cacti and succulents, once every two weeks, during the spring and summer only. 


  • These plants can be reliably propagated from stem cuttings. Use a clean, sharp blade to sever a segment of a stem or an entire branch. Place the cutting in a shaded area for a few days to allow the wound to callous over, then pot in a well-drained cactus mix. 



  • These cacti are not especially prone to pests and diseases. Root rot can easily occur if the plant is overwatered. Keep an eye out for common pests such as mealybugs and scale. 

Maintenance (pruning, legginess, repotting)

  • These hardy plants require very little maintenance. Container grown cacti prefer to be rootbound, so repotting should be necessary only once every two years. Repot into a planter 2” larger in diameter to give the plant plenty of room to continue growing. 


  • Cereus peruvianus sap can cause gastrointestinal upset to pets. Spines are sharp so it is advisable to keep out of reach of pets and small children.