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Cereus spegazzinii (Moonlight Cactus)


Scientific Name

Cereus spegazzinii F.A.C.Weber

Common Names

Moonlight Cactus, Night-blooming Cereus


Cereus anisitsii, Cereus haageanus, Cereus lindenzweigianus, Cereus marmoratus, Monvillea anisitsii, Monvillea ebenacantha, Monvillea haageana, Monvillea lindenzweigiana, Monvillea spegazzinii, Piptanthocereus lindenzweigianus, Piptanthocereus spegazzinii

Scientific Classification

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


Cereus spegazzinii, also known as Monvillea spegazzinii, is an erect, sloping, or almost creeping cactus that grows and branches abundantly. Stems are cylindrical, blue-green, up to 6 feet (1.8 m) long, and up to 2.6 inches (6.5) cm in diameter. It has 3 to 5 ribs with very wide areoles. Young plants usually have 2 to 3 blackish spines. Older plants have five radial and one central spine up to 0.6 inches (1.5 cm) long. Flowers are with reddish outer perianth segments and white inner ones, up to 5.2 inches (13 cm) long and up to 3.6 inches (9 cm) in diameter. It is one of the most prolific bloomers of all cacti. Flowers appear from spring to summer and open at night. Fruits are red ellipsoids.

Cereus spegazzinii (Moonlight Cactus) aka Monvillea spegazzinii

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USDA hardiness zones 10a to 11b: from 30 °F (−1.1 °C) to 50 °F (+10 °C).

How to Grow and Care

Like most cacti, Cereus are fairly low-maintenance and hardy. Make sure they receive enough water without becoming waterlogged, especially during the summer, and fertilize them for the best results. If the roots have become black or overly soft, the cactus could be experiencing root rot. Cutaway the affected parts and replant. Most gardeners interested in cacti should be able to cultivate these without much problem.

It may become necessary to repot your Cereus if it outgrows its container. If so, make sure the soil is dry and then remove the pot. Knock away old soil and prune away any rotted or dead roots, then replace it in a new pot and backfill with new soil. Make sure not to overwater cacti planted in new pots, as this can lead to root rot. It should be left dry for about a week and then watered lightly.

These cacti propagate quite easily from cuttings. Simply sever a branch and replant in moist, well-drained soil.

Learn more at How to Grow and Care for Cereus.


Cereus spegazzinii is native to Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, and Paraguay.


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