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Cereus hildmannianus (Hedge Cactus)

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Scientific Name

Cereus hildmannianus K. Schum.

Common Names

Andes Organ Pipe, Column Cactus, Hedge Cactus, Hildmann's Cereus, Peruvian Apple, Peruvian Apple Cactus, Queen of the Night, Spiny Tree Cactus

Synonyms

Brachycereus nesioticus, Brachycereus thouarsii, Cactus abnormis, Cactus monstrosus, Cereus abnormis, Cereus bonariensis, Cereus calvescens, Cereus curvispinus, Cereus hildmannianus subsp. xanthocarpus, Cereus milesimus, Cereus monstrosus, Cereus monstrosus var. minor, Cereus monstruosus, Cereus neonesioticus, Cereus neonesioticus var. interior, Cereus nesioticus, Cereus pentagonus, Cereus peruvianus var. brasiliensis, Cereus peruvianus var. cristatus, Cereus peruvianus var. monstrosus, Cereus peruvianus var. ovicarpus, Cereus peruvianus var. persicinus, Cereus peruvianus var. proferrens, Cereus peruvianus var. reclinatus, Cereus xanthocarpus, Piptanthocereus neonesioticus, Piptanthocereus neonesioticus var. interior, Piptanthocereus validus, Piptanthocereus xanthocarpus

Scientific Classification

Family: Cactaceae
Subfamily: Cactoideae
Tribe: Cereeae
Genus: Cereus

Origin

This species is native to South America (Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay, and Uruguay).

Description

Cereus hildmannianus is a shrub or tree-like cactus with many blue-green to dull green branches. Mature plants usually have a woody trunk, up to 6.6 feet (2 m) tall and up to 3 feet (90 cm) in diameter, below the lowest branches. It grows up to 50 feet (15 m) tall. Branches are up to 6 inches (15 cm) in diameter and have 4 to 6 ribs. They are usually spineless but sometimes have few short golden or brown spines. Flowers are white or yellowish-white, up to 12 inches (30 cm) long, up to 6 inches (15 cm) in diameter, and appear from late spring to early fall. They open at night and remain open the following day. Edible fruits are egg-shaped, up to 2.4 inches (6 cm) in diameter, and change color from green to pinkish-red.

This species is very similar in appearance and often confused with Cereus repandus. It is frequently mislabeled as Cereus peruvianus listed as a synonym of C. repandus.

The specific epithet "hildmannianus" honors Heinrich Hildmann, German plantsman who specialized in cactus.

Cereus hildmannianus (Hedge Cactus)

Photo by Xenomorf

How to Grow and Care for Cereus hildmannianus

Light: Cereus cacti like full sun. They can handle partial shade but thrives during the summer in direct sunlight. Sunny south, east, or west window is a good spot to grow a Cereus indoors.

Soil: These cacti do not like to have "wet feet" and need to be grown in well-draining soil. Use commercial soil mixes for cacti and succulents or make your own potting mix.

Hardiness: Cereus hildmannianus 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, during the active growth period water thoroughly, but allow the soil to dry out before watering again. With the arrival of fall, gradually reduce the watering frequency.

Fertilizing: During their growing season, Cereus cacti like regular fertilizing. A balanced, water-soluble fertilizer, which has been diluted to 1/4 strength, can be added to the water for each watering. Do not feed during the winter.

Repotting: While Cereus cacti are young, it is recommended to repot each year in early spring to provide them with fresh soil, inspect the root system, and move them to larger pots if necessary.

Propagation: Using stem cuttings is the easiest method to propagate Cereus because seed propagation is a slow process.

Learn more at How to Grow and Care for Cereus.

Toxicity of Cereus hildmannianus

Cereus cacti are non-toxic to humans or animals.

Subspecies of Cereus hildmannianus

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