The genus cereus brings together about fifty species of cacti originating in Central and South America. They generally have a columnar shape, some species tend to branch with age; the stem is green or bluish, fleshy, with numerous ribs covered with thorns; in summer they produce large white, pink or red flowers and rounded fruits. Cereus peruvianus, a fast-growing species that reaches considerable size, produces white flowers that bloom at night.
The cereus peruvianus, also called cereus cactus or cereo peruvianus, is a succulent plant appreciated above all for the particular shapes that characterize some species. Thanks to its marked decorative character and extremely elegant appearance, it lends itself to embellish the interior spaces of a home or garden. It is used in particular in rock gardens to make compositions together with other species of succulent plants. But if you love succulent plants and want to keep them indoors, the most suitable places are the kitchen and the living room.
The cereus peruvianus it is native to Brazil, northern Argentina, Uruguay and Paraguay. The plant is characterized by a high cylindrical stem with columnar bearing, although some varieties have a prostrate development (for example the cereus peruvianus monstruosus). The stem has a green or bluish color and is generally composed of six to eight ribs edged with thorns. Like most plants belonging to the genus cereus, the cereus peruvianus also develops mainly in height. In the original habitat it may exceed 10 m in height and 40-50 cm in diameter, while in the apartment the dimensions are considerably smaller.
Cereus peruvianus in short
|Type of plant||Succulenta|
|Height at maturity||Height up to 10 m in places of origin|
|Diseases and pests||Rotting due to excess water and pests (cochineal)|
|Temperature||Between 10 ° and 29 ° Celsius degrees|
These cacti should be grown in full sun, or in very bright locations; they fear the cold, so in winter they should be kept indoors or in a temperate greenhouse, maintaining a temperature of 15-18 ° C.
Characteristics of the cereus plant
These cacti love the sun all year round and cannot withstand harsh temperatures, so it is advisable not to expose the plant to temperatures below 100 degrees. In fact, the cereus peruvianus grows in dry soils and in areas with a warm climate, but it also resists in places with low humidity, provided good ventilation is ensured. They are very long-lived plants, which can last up to 20 or 30 years.
There flowering it occurs in the summer period, but not before the plants have reached at least three years of age; therefore it cannot be expected that the plants purchased, if they are very young, will bloom immediately.
THE flowers they are very large (up to 15 cm in diameter), with petals that are white inside and brown-red on the outside, bloom at night and have a short duration. The flowers appear on the individual branches and are particularly decorative. The cereus also produces edible fruits, berries similar to prickly pears. The fruits are yellow or red-violet, the flesh is white with small seeds, the taste is acidulous.
The cultivation of the cereus peruvianus
|Ground||Drained, sandy and quite acid|
|Cleaning / Pruning||Elimination of damaged parts|
|Composting||Period from May to September|
The calendar of the cereus peruvianus
|Flowering||From June to September|
The cereus prefers exposure in full sun all year round because, like all plants in the cacti family, it needs a lot of light. But the plant must be sheltered from the persistent frosts in winter, which would determine the rot.
The cereus prefers a mild climate, with temperatures around 250 degrees, but it also bears higher temperatures. In winter, temperatures should not fall below 100 degrees. The cereus fears cold, frost and excessive humidity.
The soil suitable for cereus is the one recommended for cacti in general. It must therefore be well drained, with parts of leaf mold, peat and sand. The addition of gravel and shards favors water drainage. A slightly acid soil is preferable.
In the period of vegetative growth until September, it is necessary to administer the fertilizer. Use a liquid fertilizer for the cacti that will be diluted in the irrigation water every 20-30 days.
Watering of the cereus is very limited. From spring to autumn it is sufficient to water the plant moderately, every 10-15 days, checking however that the soil is dry before wetting the plant again. In the winter period, from October to January, it is sufficient to give a little water once a month. Before watering, check that the substrate is not soaked with water to prevent the plant from rotting. For watering we recommend using non-calcareous water.
If the cereus peruvianus is grown in the ground, it is not necessary to provide for pruning. For potted plants it may be necessary to cut some branches if the plant becomes too large. For cutting it is recommended to use tools with a sharp blade.
Propagate the cereus
The multiplication of the cereus can take place by sowing or cutting.
The sowing is done in the spring period so that the temperature does not fall below 150 degrees, or in the previous months if you keep the seedbed in a heated place. Prepare the seedbed using plastic trays or plastic jars. Fill them with a soil suitable for succulent plants to which you will add sand to make it softer and a layer of draining material on the bottom, to avoid water stagnation. Water the seedbed, spread some seeds on the soil and cover with a little earth. It is advisable to protect the container with plastic so as to create a humid environment with a temperature that does not undergo severe thermal shocks. Place the container in a bright place with a constant temperature. As soon as the seedlings emerge, remove the plastic. However, the soil must be kept moist to prevent the plant's vegetative development process from stopping. When the seedlings have become large enough, you can take them and plant them in individual pots. The ideal conditions for the development of small plants is sufficient light and a slightly humid environment.
The reproduction by cutting is carried out in the April-July period, taking parts of the stem and letting them dry for a few days, until you see a transparent film appear, indicating the healing process has taken place. For the planting, prepare some soil with peat and sand. After planting it is necessary to check that the soil is sufficiently moist without it being soaked with water, as you risk rotting the young plants.
You can multiply the plant, using the plants produced by the plant itself: take them and plant them using tweezers so as not to bite you.
Parasites and diseases of the cereus
The cereus peruvianus is attacked by aphids and scale insects. To eliminate these parasites, the plant must be treated with specific products.
Another problem of the cereus, common to succulent plants in general, is rot, caused by various factors: stagnation of water and humidity, or lesions of the stem. In these cases it is necessary to intervene by eliminating the damaged part and treating the plant with specific products to facilitate healing.
Cereo del Perщ - Cereus peruvianus: Curiosity
It seems, from some recent research, that the cereus peruvianus has the ability to absorb magnetic waves, so it is advisable to keep it in places where there are devices (computers, televisions, cell phones) that emit electromagnetic waves.
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