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Pereskia bleo (Wax Rose)

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Scientific Name

Pereskia bleo DC.

Common Names

Wax Rose, Rose Cactus, Leaf Cactus

Synonyms

Cactus bleo, Leuenbergeria bleo, Pereskia corrugata, Pereskia cruenta, Pereskia panamensis, Rhodocactus bleo, Rhodocactus corrugatus

Scientific Classification

Family: Cactaceae
Subfamily: Pereskioideae
Genus: Pereskia

Description

Pereskia bleo grows as a shrub or small tree, up to 26.2 feet (8 m), with trunks up to 6 inches (15 cm) in diameter. The branches are smooth and olive green to brownish-grey. The leaves are arranged alternately on the branches and are distinctly stalked with petioles up to 1.2 inches (3 cm) long. The leaf blade is 5-nerved, up to 8 inches (20 cm) long and up to 2.8 inches (7 cm) wide, elliptic to oblong or lanceolate in shape. The thorns are either parallel in bundles or spread widely out. Long thorns on the branches are up to 0.4 inch (1 cm) long. Along the main shoots there are up to 40 spines per areole, each up 0.8 inch (2 cm) long. Flowers 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. The fruits are conical, truncated in the apex and ripening yellow.

Hardiness

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 that 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 so as 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 do find out Pereskias can be good in cultivation.

They like dry conditions and don't need to be repotted often, but still it is a good idea to refresh their soil by repotting occasionally. Be careful when repotting any cactus to not get hurt by their sharp spines and lift the plant from its mix and replace 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.

Origin

Pereskia bleo is native to the shady, moist forests of Central America.

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