Peniocereus greggii var. greggii

Synonyms:

Cereus greggii

Habitat:

P. greggii var. greggii is native to Arizona, Mexico Northeast, Mexico Northwest, New Mexico, Texas where the plant grows in sandy to silty gravelly soils.

Description:

P. greggii var. greggii is a very thin and small belonging to the Cactaceae botanical family. The plant grows solitary and can reach up to 2.5 cm in diameter. The stem is erect, columnar, quadrangular, slender, arranged in 4-6 ribs, pale grey-green in color. The ribs bear wooly, greyish areoles on which are inserted the spines. The spines are black, tiny and 12 per areola. Blooming occurs in late spring early summer and its beautiful white flowers release a wonderful aroma of vanilla. Flowering can be admired for a few hours after sunset. The flowers are nocturnal, fragrant and white. The fruit bear small, deciduous blackish spines.

Cultivation:

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 6°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. Be careful to red spiders and mealy bugs.

Propagation:

Propagation can be done by cutting or by seed. 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. By seed it is very simple to propagate the plant, it is enough to sow the seed in a sandy loam soil and keep it with a high level of humidity and at temperature of 14 C°.

Curiosity:

Its name comes from the greek words “Penios”, meaning “thin”, and “cereus”, which is “candelabra”. It refers to its slender stem and the typical branching organization of many cacti, which gives the impression of a candelabra. Also, this genus is famous for its abundant, night-blooming blossoming and it is known as “Night-blooming cereus” and “Queen of the night cereus”. Another peculiarity of these cacti is that, in their natural habitat, the same populations bloom in synchrony.

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