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Cereus repandus (Peruvian Apple Cactus)

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Scientific Name

Cereus repandus (L.) Mill.

Common Names

Apple Cactus, Hedge Cactus, Giant Club Cactus, Peruvian Apple, Peruvian Apple Cactus, Peruvian Tree Cactus

Synonyms

Cactus peruvianus, Cactus repandus, Cephalocereus atroviridis, Cephalocereus remolinensis, Cereus atroviridis, Cereus gracilis, Cereus grenadensis, Cereus lanuginosus, Cereus margaritensis, Cereus margaritensis var. micracanthus, Cereus peruvianus, Cereus remolinensis, Cereus repandus var. laetevirens, Neoraimondia peruviana, Pilocereus atroviridis, Pilocereus fricii, Pilocereus repandus, Pilocereus swartzii, Piptanthocereus peruvianus, Stenocereus peruvianus, Subpilocereus atroviridis, Subpilocereus grenadensis, Subpilocereus margaritensis, Subpilocereus remolinensis, Subpilocereus repandus, Subpilocereus repandus subsp. micracanthus

Scientific Classification

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

Origin

This species is native to South America.

Description

Cereus repandus, also known as Cereus peruvianus, is a large shrubby or tree-like cactus with many columnar stems, usually much-branched from the base. It grows up to 33 feet (10 m) tall. Stems are gray-green to blue-green, cylindrical, sometimes segmented, each with 8 to 13 ribs and up to 8 inches (20 cm) in diameter. They are usually spineless but sometimes have many gray, up to 2 inches (5 cm) long spines. Nocturnal flowers are white with reddish tips, up to 6 inches (15 cm) in diameter, and appear from late spring to early fall. They remain open for only one night. Edible fruits, known locally as Pitaya or Peruvian Apple, are thornless, spherical or egg-shaped, up to 1.6 inches (4 cm) long, usually red, but also yellow to deep violet-red.

This species is very similar in appearance and often confused with Cereus hildmannianus.

The specific epithet "repandus" derives from a Latin word meaning "spread out or flattened back" and refers to the slightly uneven and waved ribs.

How to Grow and Care for Cereus repandus

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 repandus can withstand temperatures as low as 20 to 50 °F (-6.7 to 10 °C), USDA hardiness zones 9a 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 repandus

Cereus cacti are non-toxic to humans or animals.

Forms of Cereus repandus

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