Cereus ayisyen M.H.J.van der Meer
This species is endemic to Haiti.
Cereus ayisyen, formerly known as Cereus haitiensis, is a shrubby cactus with numerous green, mostly erect to ascending branches with 10 to 15 crenate ribs and spines overlapping those of adjacent areoles. It grows up to 13.1 feet (4 m) tall. The trunk is up to 8 inches (20 cm) in diameter, scarcely evident, or up to 3.3 feet (1 m) tall. Branches are up to 1.8 inches (4.5 cm) in diameter. Spines are straw-colored and up to 1.4 inches (3.5 cm) long. Flowers are up to 2.8 inches (7 cm) long and up to 2.6 inches (6.5 cm) in diameter. Fruits are green to yellow, smooth, obscurely ribbed, up to 4.4 inches (11 cm) long, and up to 2.4 inches (6 cm) in diameter. Seeds are brown when immature to black when mature.
The specific epithet "ayisyen (ay-ee-SY-en)" is the Haitian Creole translation of "haitiensis," meaning "Of or from Haiti." C. ayisyen was originally named Cereus haitiensis, but that name is illegitimate as it had already been used for another species.
How to Grow and Care for Cereus ayisyen
Light: This cactus likes full sun. It can handle partial shade but thrives in direct sunlight during the summer. A sunny window is a good spot to grow C. ayisyen indoors. Rotate the pot a quarter turn every week or two to encourage balanced growth. If possible, get your cactus outdoors from spring to fall.
Soil: C. ayisyen does not like to have "wet feet" and needs to be grown in well-draining soil. Use commercial soil mixes for cacti or make your own mix.
Hardiness: During the active growth period, this cactus likes warm temperatures, while in winter, it likes cooler temperatures. C. ayisyen can withstand temperatures as low as 25 to 50 °F (-3.9 to 10 °C), USDA hardiness zones 9b to 11b.
Watering: From spring to fall, water thoroughly, but allow the soil to dry out before watering again. With the arrival of fall, gradually reduce the watering frequency. During the winter, when C. ayisyen is dormant, give it just enough water to prevent shrinking.
Fertilizing: During its growing season, this cactus likes regular fertilizing. A balanced, water-soluble fertilizer, diluted to 1/4 strength, can be added to the water for each watering. A 10-10-10 fertilizer is ideal. Instead of making a solution of water and fertilizer, there are also dry fertilizers. Do not fertilize during the winter.
Repotting: While C. ayisyen is young, it is recommended to repot each year in early spring. Once it matures, repot when your cactus is outgrowing its pot.
Propagation: Using stem cuttings is the easiest method to propagate C. ayisyen because seed propagation is a slow process. Planting of the cuttings is best done when the cactus is actively growing. Spring and summer is the best time to sow the seeds.
Learn more at How to Grow and Care for Cereus.
Toxicity of Cereus ayisyen
C. ayisyen is non-toxic to humans or animals.
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