Cereus jamacaru care infographicCereus Jamacaru is a cactus from Brazil that looks like a spiny tree. Also called Cardeiro, it grows up to 20 feet high. The fleshy, thick branches grow on a short, woody stem. Multiple spines grow in groups on each branch.

What Is a Cereus Jamacaru?

The Cereus Jamacaru is a tall, straight-growing, cylindrical cactus originating from South America. Also known as Queen of the night or Cereus Jamacaru De Candolle, their attractive flowers and berries and their eye-catching shape make it a wonderful ornamental plant in every garden.

Cereus Jamacaru Care

We have compiled a care guide for you that will help you grow Cereus Jamacaru easily:

– Water

Cereus Jamacaru is self-sustainable, easy to grow, and low-maintenance. In addition to these wonderful qualities, it is also drought-tolerant. What more can one ask for? 

These qualities make watering Cereus Jamacaru an easy task.

It will thrive without water for a long time. Irrigate the plant regularly throughout the growing season only when the soil dries. In winter, slow down on watering, as wet conditions can spoil your plants. If the plant gets root rot due to overwatering, the only solution is to take cuttings and start a new plant.

When the temperature drops in winters, Cereus Jamacaru moves into a dormant state. Minimum water is needed during this time. You can even leave the plant without water for a couple of days if the plant is mature.

It doesn’t mean that you do not monitor your plants. Continue to keep a check and water more frequently. If the plant seems to be wilting, it needs more frequent water.

– Light

Similar to other cacti, Cereus Jamacaru loves to be in the sunlight. Do not be afraid to put it in full sun in summer. Direct bright sun is just what this plant needs to thrive.

It will also stay happy in partial shade. It will not survive in full shade. You may want to rotate the plant weekly to give it equal exposure to light.

– Soil

Cereus Jamacaru Cactus - Growing a Wild PlantCereus Jamacaru soil needs to be sandy and very well-drained. Since the plant is highly drought-tolerant, we do not need it to be moist. Wet soil will kill the plant.

Choose a soil mix that is ideal for the cacti. You can create a porous or stony texture by using gravel.

Such soil will have a structure close to the one that exists in the plant’s native zones.

Add fine gravel to garden soil to improve drainage and aeration. Clay or peat moss will retain moisture and will go against its nature. Make sure the pot has enough drainage holes. Sometimes gardeners ignore the importance of having enough drainage holes that lead to root rot.

– Temperature

Cereus Jamacaru likes temperatures between 25 to 50 degrees Fahrenheit in winters. This plant can tolerate high temperatures well. In summers, it can withstand up to 95 degrees Fahrenheit. 

It is a perfect plant for warm areas and those gardens that are trying to conserve water. As an outdoor plant, Cereus Jamacaru can thrive in winters if temperatures are not below 40 degrees. You can bring plants indoors and place them in a sunny location to prevent damage.

– Humidity 

Cereus Jamacaru is a plant that does not need or like humidity. A climate that is towards a drier spectrum is perfect for it. High or even moderate humidity will cause roots and stems to rot. 

Do not place it close to the tropical plants that need high humidity. To ensure that the plant’s soil and stems remain dry, check that the potting mix is well-draining. Pots must have good drainage too. 30 percent moisture around the plant is ideal. Remember, Cereus Jamacaru are tough plants.

– Fertilizer

Cereus Jamacaru loves regular fertilizing. Diluted fertilizer applied with each watering could be the best way to treat your plants. A diluted balanced fertilizer that has an equal amount of NPK is perfect.

Start feeding your plant during the growing season and stop fertilizing it in winters. It must stay dormant and rest for the next growing season. You can also opt for organic or natural fertilizers. Try making your own!

– Repotting

Repotting Cereus Jamacaru can be when a plant becomes root-bound. It may be difficult to transplant a mature plant because of the thorns and ribbed branches. It is best to choose a bigger pot from the beginning.

Also, make sure it has good drainage. It ensures that excess soil doesn’t store water. Whenever you repot, make sure that the pot is two inches bigger than the old one. Always repot in the growing season and never disturb the plant during winters.

Propagation

Cereus Jamacaru can propagate with seeds saved from the fruits or by taking stem cuttings. The following guide will make it simple for you to follow the stems and have a successful propagation.

– Seeds

Cereus Jamacaru seeds germinate at 86 degrees Fahrenheit. It is the main method of propagating it. An urban gardener may have to wait for the right temperature. In its natural setting, the plant multiplies on its own in the right season.

Seeds are attractive for birds and wildlife that carry them around and multiply the plants through their droppings. It is interesting to note that the Cereus Jamacaru seedlings appear to grow near the fences where birds sit and leave their droppings. 

For seed growing, you need fine soil and enough shade to protect young plants. It takes a month or more to see sprouts. Be patient!

Challenge With Seed Sowing

According to research conducted, the germination of seeds of Cereus Jamacaru is affected by the light and temperature it receives. The germination occurs between 59- 95 degrees Fahrenheit. The germination rate is low. Seeds that are grown in darkness have the lowest germination rate.

In urban areas or nonnative climates, it’s best to grow the plant from stem cuttings. Avoid starting it from the seeds for the best results.

– Stem Cuttings

In the wild, Cereus Jamacaru stems mature and begin to drop and touch the soil. As soon as the branch or stem reaches the ground, it begins to root. It can then be separated and planted as an individual plant. 

  • The stems remain viable without planting for a long time, thanks to their succulent nature. You can start your plants too by taking cuttings. 
  • Cut a piece off from the mature plant
  • Allow it to dry out for a couple of days
  • Dip the callous end into fertilizer or rooting hormone and then plant it in fresh soil
  • Water lightly
  • Keep the new plants in the shade for a couple of weeks until you see signs of growth

Problems

The biggest problem faced by the growers of Cereus Jamacaru is its invasive nature. They struggle to figure out how to control its spread. It can be a challenge for outdoor gardeners. Potted plants are easy to manage.

If the plant becomes invasive, it is hard to manage it. There are two biological control methods available. A sap-sucking mealybug called Hypogencoccus Pungens and a beetle is known for its stem-boring nature named Alcidion Cereicola. 

Note: The biological control methods are applied by expert biocontrol agents when needed. 

Alternatively, the cactus can be removed if the plants are young. Uproot the plants if possible, and the plants are isolated. If any part of the plant is left on the ground, it will root and grow.

Cereus Jamacaru Features

Scientific Name Cereus Jamacaru
Family Cactaceae
Other Names Piptanthocereus Cabralensis; Cereus Calcirupicola; Piptanthocereus Calcirupicola; Piptanthocereus Cipoensis; Cereus Calcirupicola;Piptanthocereus Goiasensis; Cereus Calcirupicola; Cereus Goiasensis; Piptanthocereus Jamacaru
Commonly Called Queen of the Night
Origin Northeastern Brazil; Cereus Jamacaru is an invasive plant in Kenya and has been naturalized in eastern Tanzania.
Ideal Habitat Rocky lands 

– Branches

The branches of Cereus Jamacaru are bluish-green and have prominent ribs. It has no leaves and is highly drought-tolerant, and locals use it as animal feed after removing the thorns.

– Flowers and Fruits

Mandacaru produces white flowers that are 10 inches long. It begins blooming in spring. The flowers last for a couple of nights and open up around dusk, and produce fruits that vary in color. They can be pink, red, or yellowish pink too. 

The berries of Cereus Jamacaru are not only loved by people, but birds also admire them. Interestingly, it is also featured on the flag of the city Petrolina in the state of Pernambuco.

– Invasive Nature

Cereus Jamacaru spreads and multiplies through vegetative means in the wild. Cereus Jamacaru is mainly planted as an ornamental plant in a pot where it can be controlled, and the growth is monitored. 

It is considered an invasive plant in the wild because it takes over indigenous vegetation. In South Africa, it is listed as a noxious weed or a prohibited plant that must be grown with caution. Its invasive nature is one of the biggest threats to other local species in its native countries.

– Growth

Queen of the night or Cereus Jamacaru De Candolle grows as a tall, straight-growing, cylindrical cactus. It originated from South American and was, most likely, imported. 

The attractive flowers and berries and their eye-catching shape make it an attractive ornamental plant in South Africa. Gardeners grow it as a hedge plant. It is invasive and takes over local species of plants very fast.

Cereus Jamacaru has a shallow and extensive root system. In spring, large flowers appear that have a funnel shape. The blooms attract wildlife and are a food source for pollinators that search for food around dusk. 

Night-flying insects also benefit from their flowers. Queen of the night plants secretes a toxic, white latex when cut. 

FAQ

– Is Cereus Jamacaru Edible?

Yes. These are sweet and nutritious. The berries have white flesh and black seeds. People also cook and eat the stems as vegetables. It also has medicinal purposes. The juice is used for treating skin and lung diseases and also helps with recovering from ulcers.

– I Overwater My Cereus Jamacaru Plants. What Should I Do?

Cereus Jamacaru can forgive an occasional overwatering if the soil is well-draining. If the water stands and keeps the soil wet for a couple of days, you might have to replace the soil.

– Should I Prune My Plant?

Cereus Jamacaru doesn’t need pruning. They are sturdy, self-sufficient plants. 

– Should I Repot Cereus Jamacaru?

You can repot the Cereus Jamacaru plant once a year until it matures. Do it in early spring and never in winter. The new pot should be two inches bigger than the previous one. Add some fertilizer to give the plant a boost.

Conclusion

Cereus Jamacaru is a drought-tolerant, self-sufficient, and attractive cacti from Brazil. The plant grows so easily that they are considered invasive. Let us recap what we learned:

  • Cereus Jamacaru grows white flowers that open at night and attract pollinators at dusk. It also produces edible fruit.
  • The plant is highly drought-tolerant and thrives in dry sandy soil. Cereus Jamacaru likes the sun.
  • The potting mix must be well-draining, and the pot must have enough drainage holes. Overwatering and moisture can damage the plant fast.
  • Temperatures lower than 40 degrees Fahrenheit in winter are not suitable. In summers, it thrives even at 95 degrees Fahrenheit; 30 percent humidity is enough for it.
  • Cereus Jamacaru can be propagated by sowing seeds or by stem cuttings.

Cereus Jamacaru is a humble plant that is so easy to grow that it may seem like a problem for outdoor gardeners. It is best to repot it where it is easy to manage. We hope that the above guide helped you learn about the needs of this plant and inspire you to welcome the Cereus Jamacaru cactus into your garden.

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