Cereus repandus care infographicThe Cereus Repandus is a Peruvian cactus plant popular among succulent collectors. These Peruvian cacti can be found in many gardening grounds, among other succulent plants sharing their preferential soil types.

Cacti collectors often grow Cereus Repandus for their flowers and their edible fruits.

What Is a Cereus Repandus?

The Cereus Repandus is a columnar cactus that, when grown in a garden, can often produce blooms from its stem during flowering. These flowers encourage fruits to develop, and the seeds of the fruit are sometimes used for breeding and propagation.

Cereus Repandus Care

The Cereus Repandus makes an excellent ornamental plant in succulent landscapes, as well as a potted patio plant. When grown indoors, the plant is not very fussy as long as its basic requirements are met. The beauty and the versatility of the Peruvian Apple Cactus make it a desirable plant for many outdoor and indoor gardeners.

– Water

Cereus Repandus- Peruvian Apple CactusThe Cereus Repandus is a succulent plant that efficiently stores its water in its tissues that are well-protected by its thick, waxy skin.

The ideal method is to allow the soil around the Cereus Repandus to dry out a little before watering. This ensures that the roots of the cactus do not sit in overly wet soil, which can encourage root rot to occur.

This technique is called the “soak and dry” and works perfectly for all succulents.

When grown indoors in colder regions, watering the Peruvian Apple Cactus should be reduced during the winter months. Watering should be done only when the soil is almost dry to the touch.

– Light

The Cereus Repandus requires a lot of bright light exposure as it is a succulent plant accustomed to sun and heat. As a young plant, the Peruvian Apple Cactus prefers some slight shade but will require full sun exposure once mature.

When grown indoors, the Cereus Repandus prefers to be placed in areas where it can enjoy several hours of sunlight. If the light level is insufficient, growers may use grow lights instead.

– Soil

The Cereus Repandus prefers to be grown in light, fast-draining soil. The cactus characteristic of the plant does not tolerate prolonged exposure to excessive stagnant moisture. Gardening soil or potting soil should ideally allow fast water drainage.

The ideal soil mixture for the Cereus Repandus is equal parts of garden or potting soil, perlite or pumice, and fine gravel or sand. This combination ensures that water can be absorbed by the roots of the Peruvian Apple Cactus without becoming waterlogged.

– Temperature

The Cereus Repandus is accustomed to growing in hot, dry climates. The succulent characteristic makes them ideal for North American gardeners living in USDA zones 9 to 11. For growers outside these zones, care should be taken that the cactus be kept away from low temperatures.

The Cereus Repandus can be sensitive to frost, so it is highly recommended to keep them indoors under the appropriate amount of heat during the colder months. A combination of low temperatures and high humidity can cause the water inside the Peruvian Apple Cactus to freeze and split open the plant.

– Humidity

The Cereus Repandus is normally found in regions where the climate is hot and dry. Humidity is not a crucial factor in ensuring the succulent plant’s development, although overly high humidity may encourage fungi to develop on the plant.

– Fertilizer

The Cereus Repandus normally does not require frequent supplemental fertilizer feedings. The Peruvian Apple Cactus may benefit from low doses of fertilizers that are high in potassium and phosphorus but low in nitrogen. Nitrogen merely encourages the plant to become too soft from water.

Fertilization should be done during the warmer months but completely stopped during the colder season.

– Rest Period

The Cereus Repandus, when grown in its native habitats or similar conditions as its accustomed environments, does not normally require rest periods. The cactus prefers to enjoy the seasonal climate of its native environments, thriving as it matures.

When grown in regions with cooler temperatures, the Cereus Repandus may undergo a dormant period. This happens when the Peruvian Apple Cactus is exposed to prolonged periods of cold air, which may cause it to halt from growing.

Propagation

The Cereus Repandus can be propagated through several methods, although some techniques yield better results than others.

– By Calloused Cuttings

The Cereus Repandus can be easily propagated through calloused cuttings. This technique involves getting the cuttings to dry up and form calluses on the tips of the cuts. Once calloused, the cuttings are replanted in slightly moist cactus or succulent soil. The slightly moist soil condition causes the cuttings to grow roots.

– By Seeds

Another option is to grow the Cereus Repandus from seeds. The seeds from the Peruvian Apple Cactus fruit are ideally sown on the surface of slightly moist soil. The seeds usually germinate in 14 to 28 days and form seedlings. These seedlings should ideally root first before they can be transplanted.

Problems

The healthy Cereus Repandus plant is normally free from pests and plant concerns. The succulent plant may become susceptible to certain issues and pests if the growing conditions cause the plant to become less healthy.

Some pests that can cause the Cereus Repandus to experience problems are red spider mites, mealybugs, and scale insects. When these are spotted, they can be easily eliminated using commercial insecticides or homemade neem oil solutions.

Issues that may affect the healthy growth of the Cereus Repandus plant are root rot and fungal infections. Root rot occurs when the plant’s root system is exposed frequently to prolonged stagnant water. It is recommended to cut back on watering when this happens.

Fungal infections affect the Cereus Repandus when humidity is frequently high. This encourages fungal spores to develop and take over the plant. To lessen the chances of this occurring, humidity should not be excessively high.

Features of the Cereus Repandus

– Name Origins

The Cereus Repandus genus name comes from Greek and Latin words that mean “candle” or “torch.” Repandus is a Latin word that means “to spread out,” referring to the stems of the succulent plant that tend to branch out as the plant matures.

Other Names

The Cereus Repandus has other common names, such as the Column Cactus, the Giant Club Cactus, the Hedge Cactus, the Peruvian Tree, the Peruvian Apple, the Apple Cactus, the Cadushi, and the Kayush. The succulent plant’s most popular name is the Peruvian Apple Cactus, mainly due to the red skin of the fruit.

– Size

This cactus can grow up to over 30 feet when fully mature. Due to its branching habit, the cactus will most likely need scaffolding support as it develops, even though it is a self-supporting plant. This species has been identified as being the tallest cactus so far.

The Cereus Repandus is a tall perennial succulent with slightly curved, upright branches with separate trunks. This succulent plant grows quickly as a juvenile cactus, growing up to more than a foot per year under favorable growing conditions.

– Stems

The Cereus Repandus has cylindrical segmented branches, which are around four to eight inches in diameter. The branches are usually covered by bluish-green cactus skin, with a slight gray tinge.

The margins of these branches have widely separated areolas from which gray thorny protrusions jut out. These 2-inch thorny spikes can sometimes be numerous or entirely absent from the areolas.

– Roots

The Cereus Repandus has relatively shallow roots in comparison to its branching growth. This succulent plant’s fine, fibrous roots enable the cactus to absorb water from the ground efficiently. The roots are prone to rot if exposed to long periods of standing water, so cactus growers must be mindful of this characteristic.

– Flowers

While the Cereus Repandus is grown mainly for its ornamental beauty, admiration for the plant’s flowers and fruit has steadily grown among cactus connoisseurs. The flowers of the cactus are large, white to cream in color, and bloom only for a night.

This suggests that the flowers of the Peruvian Apple Cactus attract nocturnal pollinators, especially fruit bats. Despite the nighttime flowering, honeybees are also active pollinators, visiting the flowers during the dusk and dawn hours.

– Fruits

The flowers of the Cereus Repandus give way for fruits to develop. The fruits are thornless, smooth, and covered with waxy skin that can be purplish-red to yellow. The fruit splits open when it is ripe and mature, revealing its edible white flesh. The flesh contains tiny edible seeds that are pretty crunchy.

The white edible flesh is sweet, similar to sugarcane, with a slight tart aftertaste. The Peruvian Apple Cactus fruit is ideally consumed within 24 hours of ripening as it easily ferments. The fruit takes approximately 40 to 50 days to ripen, making it possible to have multiple fruits in a single harvest.

– Habitat

The Cereus Repandus is a native plant to tropical and subtropical regions, such as Brazil, Colombia, Mexico, Israel, the USA, and Venezuela. The species can also be found prolifically in the Caribbean islands like Aruba, Netherlands Antilles, and the Windward Islands.

Some cultivators grow the Peruvian Apple Cactus as a commercial food crop, while other countries like South Africa consider the Cereus Repandus as a weed.

Conclusion

Cereus Repandus - columnar cactus

The Cereus Repandus is a magnificent cactus plant that provides a strong presence to any garden or room that it calls home. This majestic cactus is often used in residential and commercial succulent gardens to create a dramatic and zen-like atmosphere.

Let’s go over what we’ve learned about the Peruvian Apple Cactus plant:

  • The Cereus Repandus is a majestic cactus that can grow up to over 30 feet when grown outdoors under favorable conditions.
  • The Peruvian Apple Cactus has typical succulent plant growing requirements such as quick-draining soil, “soak and dry” watering, low humidity, high temperatures, and high levels of sunlight.
  • The Cereus Repandus produces flowers that eventually develop into sweet edible fruits with crunchy black seeds.
  • The Peruvian Apple Cactus can be easily propagated through calloused cuttings, as well as through seeds.

The Cereus Repandus, as an ornamental plant, maintains a powerful, charismatic dignity. Producing beautiful flowers and delicious fruits, the Peruvian Apple Cactus is definitely on top of the list of many succulent lovers!

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