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Cereus peruvianus 'Red Crested'

Botanical Name — Cereus peruvianus 'Red Crested'

Common Name — Peruvian apple cactus

Plant Family — Cactaceae


Background


Cereus peruvianus 'Red Crested' is an unusual, mutated form of a typically columnar Cereus peruvianus. Its fan-like structure and tight blue-green ribs, along with its reddish spines make for a unique specimen. Native to South and Central America in their columnular form, they are widespread and abundant, facing no ecological threats. The crested variety are nursery cultivars and rarely found in the wild. 


Growth Requirements


Sun

  • Cereus peruvianus require 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. All the shade they need is provided by their dense spines, so no more than that should be provided.
  • If you are growing them indoors, a south-facing windowsill is ideal. 

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 28 ºF, though it is advisable to bring them indoors once night time temperatures consistently fall below 50 ºF. 

Water

  • Cereus peruvianus are extremely drought tolerant. Always allow the soil to dry out completely in between waterings. When you do water, soak the soil thoroughly.
  • If you are unsure whether or not the soil is dry, wait a few days before watering. It is much better to underwater than over water. Excessive moisture can quickly lead to root rot.
  • Water less frequently in the winter, every month to month and a half.

Soil/Roots

  • 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. 
  • In desert climates these plants can be potted directly in the earth and grown outdoors year round. 

Flowering

  • During the warm season Cereus peruvianus produces several flower flushes, but keep in mind that crested specimens often don’t flower 
  • If established enough and able to flower, large funnelform flowers will blossom, opening at night and lasting no more than 24 hours. They are typically pinkish-white to red in color. 

Fertilization

  • Cereus peruvianus 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 a month, during the spring and summer only. 

Propagation

  • 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. 
  • Stem cuttings are the main form of propagation for this plant, as the crested mutation cannot be counted on forming from seed.

Health


Diseases

  • 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, aphids 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. 

Toxicity

  • Cereus peruvianus have no known toxicity to humans or animals. Spines are sharp so it is advisable to keep out of reach of pets and small children.