Cereus Peruvianus

Peruvian Apple Cactus

The Peruvian apple cactus (also known as columnar, column, hedge cactus and others) has the scientific name of Cereus peruvianus or C.repandus.

This Cereus (Genus) cacti can produce white flowers within summer - that open up at night, once it matures and a prominent ribbed column stem, with brown colored spines, is displayed.

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Varieties: There are a few varieties which get confused with this cacti, because they have similarities and grow with a column stem. For example, the difference between the C.peruvinus and C.jamacara cactus is the, spines (C.P brown - C.J yellow) and flowers (C.P are longer). Then there’s a deformed looking (stems and ribs are kind of twisted), slow growing, mutant type, that can not be confused with the Apple cactus at all - because it's so peculiar looking.

How they look: I cannot say these are the most attractive indoor plant or cacti I have seen, although cacti lovers and growers will grow these as part of a cactus collection. Saying that, the funnel shaped flowers are beautiful looking, which grow up to 6in - 8in long and white or pink in color. These flowers will open up during the night and close at morning time. The thick stem is a green and greyish cacti color, with brown spines, growing from the edge of the stem ribs.

They are grown outdoors up to 30ft in height (in the correct climate) and can be kept to a height that suits an indoor room, with pruning.

Displaying: Display in a room that gets plenty of sunlight and a solid (and heavy) container, for when it matures in size (to keep it sturdy and prevent it from toppling over). Many are kept in greenhouses or entrances to buildings and rooms for d้cor purposes.

Growing and care: Just like most cacti plants, these are very easy to grow indoors and need very little attention. Two of the main things to take care of is using a good draining cacti soil, and plenty of bright light (more about care and conditions below). An issue could arise when the plant matures, and finding a suitable room for it's height, although pruning the top will reduce it.


Origin: South America.
Names: Peruvian apple (common). Cereus peruvianus (botanical/scientific) "not verified".
Max Growth (approx): Stems can grow up to 30ft (in the wild - outdoors) and more than 3ft indoors.
Poisonous for pets: Not known.

Closeup of the peruvian apple cactus

Tubular Flower Before Night Opening Up

Picture of an Apple cactus Tubular Flower Before Night Opening Up

Peruvian Cactus Care

Temperature: Temperatures averaging 60°F/°15.5C - 75°F/23.8°C is ideal from spring to fall and a cooler 50°F/10°C – 55°F/13°, after this period.
Light: The Peruvian apple cactus thrives on bright light and sun light, although direct sun when blazing hot is best avoided, when first introduced to direct sun.
Watering: It's advisable to water this plant more often within the summer and much less, winter time. Like other desert type cacti their natural habitat is dry and they store water within the stems. Water this plant when the soil begins drying out, throughout spring and late summer. In late summer reduce watering until the next spring and allow the soil to be fairly dry.
Soil: A fast draining pot mixture used for cactus plants is ideal.
Re-Potting: While they're young they can be re-potted each year in spring. Once they mature re-pot only when necessary, with a slightly larger pot.
Humidity: No misting is required. A well ventilated room during the summer is preferable.
Propagation: This cacti is propagated with cuttings from the stem top (especially when it's growing too high), or offsets during spring or summer. They can also be propagated with seeds at temperatures from 70°F/°21C - 80°F/26.6°C, although this method is much more difficult than propagating cuttings. When using cuttings, allow the cutting a week or two to dry before planting in a peat based compost.

Fruit: Here's a video showing the apple cactus fruit being cut and eaten, which looks very similar to dragon fruit. These are from large outdoor plants.

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