The Cereus Forbesii, also known as twisted cactus or spiral cactus, is a species of cacti particularly suited to be grown indoors.

Due to its minimal care requirements, it makes for a very low-maintenance houseplant. So if you are one of those people who love to have plants at home but do not have a green thumb, don’t worry.

The Cereus Forbesii is the perfect plant for you, and to help you out, we will discuss all the care requirements in this article so that you can grow some healthy cacti at home with no trouble.

What Is Cereus Forbesii?

The Cereus Forbesii is a kind of succulent cactus that grows in the wild in the deserts of South America. They are commonly found in countries like Argentina, Paraguay, Uruguay, Bolivia, and Brazil. Some varieties of this plant are also found in Venezuela and Columbia. They became extremely popular as houseplants in Europe during the 1980s and remained one of the most purchased indoor plants.

Cereus Spiralis has an extremely elegant appearance because of its columnar stems. These stems grow in a spiral formation hence the name “spiralis”. The stems also sport tiny spikes that dot the ridges along the length of the stems. They have a good growth rate, and the stems can easily grow up to 19 inches tall and 5 inches wide.

Cereus Forbesii flowers are large white blooms with plenty of delicate petals that have light pink tips. These flowers can easily reach a width of five inches and a length of seven inches.

They usually bloom during the summer, and they are a great way to add an ornamental touch to your garden. Below, we have outlined all the care guidelines so that you can enjoy watching the flowers of the Cereus Spiralis in your house.

Cereus Forbesii Care Guide

This twisted cactus comes from the desert, so it is very rough and tough and does not require too much care. It is perfect for the busy gardener as it does not require too much time or effort.

Once you read all the care guidelines we have put together, you will find that taking care of this spiral succulent is a piece of cake.

– Water Requirements

Generally, cacti do not require a lot of water, and the Cereus Spiralis is no exception. They need water in summer but only periodically. Just water them if and only if you notice that the soil looks very dry.

As the days get colder and winter approaches, the cactus can survive with almost no water. Hence, even if you don’t water it in the winter, it should not be a problem.

Consequently, make sure that you’re not overwatering your Cereus Forbesii plants. Overwatering is the quickest way to kill any cactus because its roots are extremely susceptible to root decay from stagnant water.

– Light Requirements

Like any respectable desert plant, the twisted cactus also loves plenty of sunlight. If your cactus is still young and growing, ensure that it gets plenty of sunshine every day but do not keep it exposed under harsh midday sunlight.

When these cacti are young, they are a little susceptible to scorching, so keep them away from the noonday sun. You could alternatively put them under a filter or a green shade to protect them.

As they grow older, the cacti can withstand increasingly brighter sunlight, so keeping them out in the sun should not be an issue. In fact, lots of light will help them thrive and grow tall. Indeed, adult cacti need up to eight hours of sunshine daily.

– Soil Requirements

Cereus Forbesii can only survive in sandy, well-draining soils. Any other type of soil, especially those liable to becoming waterlogged, is lethal for these succulents. Such compact and dense soils like peat are totally out of the question.

Instead, opt for lighter and organic soil types made from a mix of pumice and sand. You can also purchase professionally prepared cactus mix from any nursery or plant store.

– Humidity Requirements

In the wild, spiral cactus grow in very hot and dry environments. This is why these plants prefer low levels of humidity. Under no circumstances should you keep these plants in a humid environment like a greenhouse. Also, make sure that you don’t group them with other plants as grouping raises the humidity levels.

– Fertilizer Requirements

Twisted cacti are normally quite low-maintenance and do not require a lot of fertilizer. However, if you want to indulge your plant and show it some extra love, then you can fertilize it at most twice a month.

You can buy special cactus fertilizer for the growing season and apply it in small doses throughout autumn and spring, but there is no need to fertilize the plant during winter.

– Temperature Requirements

The Cereus Forbesii loves warm temperatures. It is happiest when placed in temperatures ranging from 60 degrees Fahrenheit to 75 degrees Fahrenheit. However, it can withstand temperatures as low as eight degrees Celsius, but it isn’t ideal. Indeed, frosty temperatures might just kill even the strongest-looking cactus.


Now let’s discuss how to propagate Cereus Spiralis. There are two common methods.

One is the stem cutting method, while the other strategy involves propagating cacti from seeds. We will discuss both, and you can pick the method that works best for you.

– Stem Cutting

  • Use sanitized garden shears and cut a piece from the stem of a healthy and mature spiral cactus
  • Place the cutting in a small pot with lots of moist soil
  • Once the roots develop, shift the baby cactus to a bigger pot with sandy, well-draining soil.

– Seed Propagation

  • Choose a well-sanitized pot. You can use water and chlorine mixture to kill any bacteria
  • Fill the pot with fresh soil
  • Wet it with some chlorinated water to make the soil moist
  • Place a layer of powdered rock on the top of the soil
  • Place the seeds on the rocky layer and spray them with water
  • Keep misting the seedlings regularly as they need moisture in the initial growth stage
  • It can take the seedlings up to one year to grow large enough to be shifted to a bigger pot

– Potting

Once your twisted cactus becomes too big for its pot, you should transplant it to a bigger container.

The usual indications that your cactus needs repotting include:

  • Roots appearing on the surface of the soil
  • Roots sticking out of the pot
  • Cracks appearing in the side of the pot as the roots struggle to find more room to grow

If you see any of these tell-tale signs, you should immediately repot your spiral cactus. Wait until the soil has dried out, then gently lift the plant out from its old container.

Brush off all the old soil and check for any black or dead roots. If you see any signs of root decay, cut off all the dead parts and put the cactus in a bigger pot with fresh soil.


Cacti are used to tough conditions. However, even the strongest plants can fall prey to pest infestations and other issues.

We will now discuss some of the most common problems people face when growing cacti on their own. We will also provide information on how to deal with such issues.

The usual bug culprits that attack cacti are mealy bugs. Spider mites can pose a problem too. The easiest way to get rid of these bugs is to spray them off with water. You could also mix some oil into the water because the oil will kill all the insects. Only use an insecticide if the problem does not go away even after repeated attempts at getting rid of the bugs.

Over-watering is perhaps the biggest issue that affects spiral cacti. If too much water accumulates at the bottom of the pot or the soil becomes too waterlogged, then that can pose a lethal problem for these plants. All that extra water will silently kill the plant’s roots, and if the roots are damaged, then the chances of the Cereus Spiralis surviving are next to nil.

Finally, scorched stems are also a very common problem that affects twisted cacti. While these plants enjoy their time in the sun, sometimes too much sunlight can become a problem, even for these hardy desert plants. If exposed to the harsh midday sun, these plants can develop brown spots on their stems. This is a sure-fire sign of damage from scorching.

If you see any such brown spots, shift the plant to a less exposed spot ASAP. Alternatively, you might want to grow them under a green shade, especially if you live in a place with extremely sunny and hot weather.


Let’s quickly recap all that we learned about the Cereus Forbesii in this article:

  • Cereus Forbesii is native to South American countries like Brazil and Paraguay.
  • This cactus species has extremely elegant stems that grow in a spiral formation
  • The flowers of the spiral cactus bloom in summer
  • The flowers can be about five inches wide and have a profusion of delicate pink-tipped white petals
  • Only water the cactus when the soil is extremely dry
  • Do not water in winter
  • Place the twisted cactus in an area that receives plenty of sunlight but shelter it from the harsh midday sun
  • Do not place it in a humid environment
  • A well-draining sandy soil works best for these plants
  • They prefer warm temperatures and cannot stand the cold at all
  • You can give the plant a little fertilizer if needed during autumn and spring
  • To propagate this plant, you can use the stem cutting method or seed propagation
  • Repot the plant if the roots need more space to grow
  • Common issues that plague this cactus species are mealybug attacks and root decay

That’s it! Now you are all set to grow your own Cereus Forbesii Spiralis at home! We hope that these guidelines made things easy for you, and you are now ready to deal with any situation that may come your way as you grow these beautiful cacti.

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