Cereus peruvianus f. monster crested
C. peruvianus is native to Aruba, Colombia, Netherlands Antilles, Venezuela, Venezuelan Antilles and Windward Is. The forma mostruosa crestata has garden origin.
C. peruvianus is a wonderful cactus belonging to the Cactaceae botanical family. The plant has a shrubby habit and branches at the base. The stem is bluish-green, irregular and ribbed, and in forma crestata grows in the shape of a fan. The plant can reach up to 4,5 m in height and the stem usually is spineless, but sometimes it bears white spines 5 cm long. Blooming occurs in late spring and early summer and blossom are borne at the apex of the stem. Flowers are nocturnal and last one night, they are white in color with red tips, funnel-shaped. Fruits are spherical resembles an apple and are red to deep purple in color. This plant in some countries is cultivated for the edible fruits, but the forma crestata is for ornamental purposes only.
This is a slow growing plant, easy to cultivate. The plant needs a full light sun exposure but is recommended to avoid direct sun-light in the hottest periods. The plant does not like temperatures below 10°C so it needs to be placed indoors in the coldest periods. The soil should be mixed with pumice, clay and loam to allow the drainage and prevent the root rot, the plant is prone to it indeed. Remember to use a perforating pot to drain excess water. Watering can be done regularly in Spring and Summer: during the vegetative period you can water the plant (every 7 days), checking that the soil is completely dry before watering again; in winter you should stop the watering to allow the plant to enter dormancy. If you want a faster and lush growth you can fertilize the plant once a month during the growing season with the specific fertilizers for cacti; stop fertilizing throughout the winter. If the pot starts to be too small for the plant you can repot the plant in a pot 2 cm wider. Repotting should be done early in the growing season with fresh new potting soil.
The forma mostruosa is a natural mutation that occurred in the C. peruvianus population and that was selected and propagated vegetatively, so this cactus can be propagated only by cuttings. By cutting you can make the cut during the spring and then let the cutting dry; after a few days the cut surface will dry and a callus will form, then place the cutting in a mixture of sand, soil and pumice. To increase the success of propagation you can make two or more cuttings at the same time. For cuttings it is recommended temperatures around 20 °C. B
The name “Cereus” derives from Latin and literally means “candle” in reference to its stem, which in nature tends to grow in height, with the typical columnar and erect posture that characterizes the entire genus.
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