Selenicereus hamatus (Scheidw.) Britton & Rose
Cereus hamatus, Cereus reptans, Selenicereus radicans,
This species is native to Mexico. It is only known in cultivation.
Selenicereus hamatus is a very vigorous cactus with clambering or sprawling, light green stems with usually four ribs lined with knobby tubercles beneath the tiny brownish or black areoles. The stems grow up to 39.4 feet (12 m) long and 0.9 inches (2.2 cm) thick, branching and producing few aerial roots. Spines are whitish, bristle-like, and up to 0.2 inches (0.5 cm) long. The lower or central spines are usually brown or black. Each areole bears 5 to 6 spines.
Flowers are nocturnal and strongly scented, up to 16 inches (40 cm) long and 12 inches (30 cm) in diameter, and appear one by one in spring. Outer tepals are reddish-purple outside and greenish-yellow to chrome-yellow inside. Inner tepals are white. Fruits are green or yellow and densely covered with yellowish spines. They are oval, up to 4 inches (10 cm) long, and up to 3.2 inches (8 cm) in diameter.
The specific epithet "hamatus (ham-AH-tus)" means "hooked" and refers to the hooked tubercles on the stems.
How to Grow and Care for Selenicereus hamatus
Light: This cactus likes full sun. It can handle partial shade but thrives in direct sunlight during the summer. A sunny window is a good spot to grow S. hamatus indoors. Rotate the pot a quarter turn every week or two to encourage balanced growth. If possible, get your cactus outdoors from spring to fall.
Soil: S. hamatus does not like to have "wet feet" and needs to be grown in well-draining soil. Use commercial soil mixes for cacti or make your own mix.
Hardiness: During the active growth period, this cactus likes warm temperatures, while in winter, it likes cooler temperatures. S. hamatus can withstand temperatures as low as 30 °F (-1.1 °C). USDA Plant Hardiness Zones 10a to 11b, 30 to 50 °F (-1.1 to 10 °C).
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 S. hamatus is dormant, give it just enough water to prevent shrinking.
Fertilizing: During its growing season, this cactus likes regular fertilizing. A balanced, water-soluble fertilizer, diluted to 1/4 strength, can be added to the water for each watering. A 10-10-10 fertilizer is ideal. Instead of making a solution of water and fertilizer, there are also dry fertilizers. Do not fertilize during the winter.
Repotting: While S. hamatus is young, it is recommended to repot each year in early spring. Once it matures, repot when your cactus is outgrowing its pot.
Propagation: Using stem cuttings is the easiest method to propagate S. hamatus because seed propagation is a slow process. Take cuttings during the growing season of the cuctus. Spring and summer is the best time to sow the seeds.
Learn more at How to Grow and Care for Cereus.
Toxicity of Selenicereus hamatus
S. hamatus is non-toxic to humans or animals.
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