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Cereus vargasianus


Scientific Name

Cereus vargasianus Cárdenas

Scientific Classification

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


This species is native to Peru (Cuzco).


Cereus vargasianus is a large tree-like cactus with segmented, glaucous green branches that arise from a short trank. It grows up to 26.2 feet (8 m) tall. Branches have 4 to 5 wavy, up to 2 inches (5 cm) tall ribs, gray areoles, and 9 to 10 brownish spines not always distinguishable as centrals and radials. The spines grow up to 0.6 inches (1.5 cm) long. Flowers are white and up to 4 inches (10 cm) long. Fruits are yellow with white pulp, ellipsoid-shaped, and up to 3.2 inches (8 cm) long.

The specific epithet "vargasianus" derives from the topographical name "vargas" and the Latin suffix "ianus," meaning "belonging to or coming from," and probably refers to the natural habitat of the species.

Cereus vargasianus

Photo by Mundo Seco

How to Grow and Care for Cereus vargasianus

Light: Cereus cacti like full sun. They can handle partial shade but thrives in direct sunlight. Sunny south, east, or west window is a good spot to grow a C. vargasianus indoors. If possible, get your cactus outdoors from spring to fall for fresh air and extra light.

Soil: This cactus does not like to have "wet feet" and needs to be grown in well-draining soil. Use commercial soil mixes for cacti and succulents, or make your own potting mix.

Hardiness: During the active growth period, Cereus cacti like warm temperatures, while in winter, they like cooler temperatures. C. vargasianus 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, 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. vargasianus is dormant, give it just enough water to prevent shrinking.

Fertilizing: 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. A 10-10-10 fertilizer is ideal. Do not feed during the winter.

Repotting: While C. vargasianus is young, it is recommended to repot each year in early spring to provide the plant with fresh soil, inspect the root system, and move it to a larger pot if necessary. Once it matures, repot only when your cactus is outgrowing its pot.

Propagation: Using stem cuttings is the easiest method to propagate Cereus because seed propagation is a slow process. Planting of the cuttings is best done when the cactus is actively growing. Sping and summer is the best time to sow the seeds.

Learn more at How to Grow and Care for Cereus.

Toxicity of Cereus vargasianus

Cereus cacti are non-toxic to humans or animals.


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