Pereskia bleo DC.
Wax Rose, Rose Cactus, Leaf Cactus
Cactus bleo, Leuenbergeria bleo, Pereskia corrugata, Pereskia cruenta, Pereskia panamensis, Rhodocactus bleo, Rhodocactus corrugatus
Pereskia bleo is a shrub or small tree with a trunk and smooth, olive-green to brownish-grey branches. It grows up to 26.2 feet (8 m) tall. The trank is up to 6 inches (15 cm) in diameter. Leaves are arranged alternately on the branches and are distinctly stalked with up to 1.2 inches (3 cm) long petioles. The leaf blade is 5-nerved, elliptic to oblong or lanceolate, up to 8 inches (20 cm) long, and up to 2.8 inches (7 cm) wide. The thorns are up to 0.4 inches (1 cm) long, parallel in bundles or spread widely. There are up to 40 spines per areole along the main shoots, each up 0.8 inches (2 cm) long. Flowers are usually few or solitary in terminal or axillary panicles. They are bright red, scarlet, salmon pink, or orange-red-pink, and up to 2.4 inches (6 cm) in diameter. Fruits are conical, truncated in the apex, and ripening yellow.
USDA hardiness zones 9b to 11b: from 25 °F (−3.9 °C) to 50 °F (+10 °C).
How to Grow and Care
As with many cacti, Pereskias can be almost ignored and still flourish. One of the major advantages these plants pose as houseplants is their ease, and overwatering or overfeeding them is a bigger danger than neglecting them because it can damage their roots. If you repot them, remember to leave them alone for a brief period to avoid overstressing them, and make sure to keep an eye out for common houseplant pests. Many of these cacti can't really be grown as houseplants anyway due to their shrubby growth habit, and others are very rare, but when you find out, Pereskias can be good in cultivation.
They like dry conditions and don't need to be repotted often, but it is still a good idea to refresh their soil by occasionally repotting. Be careful when repotting any cactus to get hurt by their sharp spines, lift the plant from its mix, and replace it in a new container before backfilling with soil. Do not water for a few weeks after repotting.
Learn more at How to Grow and Care for Pereskia.
This species is native to the shady, moist forests of Central America.
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