Cereus Cactus Plant Care

We have an article packed with some exciting things about the Cereus genus and how to care for your desert queens for all our cacti fans.

Yes, the Cereus is not only one plant. You can find up to 30 different species in the Cactaceae family. These plants are native to South America, and the name applies to several “ceroid cacti.”

These plants have elongated bodies and usually are known as shrubs or tree-like cacti with a ribbed stems. And yes, who cannot forget those prickly spines? Ouch. Many of these cacti are called night-blooming Cereus as you see the white flower blooming at night.

The best part is you can grow them outside or inside the home. Great, perhaps you have invested in the queen of the night, saguaro, or an organ pipe cactus. Then you will find out the article on Cereus plant care interesting to read.

Cereus Plant Care

Cereus Cactus

The cactus, especially the Cereus cactus, makes gorgeous potted plants, and you can find different species available. But one common thing they share is caring for them.

Ideal Potting Medium for Night Blooming Cereus

Caring for your night-blooming cactus comes down to using the correct soil. Your cactus, as a container-grown plant, loves gritty, well-draining soil. You can invest in cacti soil or use a succulent mix.

cactus mix

Investing in a well-draining soil mix helps keep your plant’s feet dry as it does not like wet feet. When using commercial soil, you can add some sand to help loosen up the ground for drainage. But if you prefer you can make your own.

All you need is to mix equal parts of ground fir barks with some peat moss in a bucket. Doing this makes a base soil mix for your Cereus cacti. Then add equal parts of perlite, pumice or vermiculite, and coarse sand.

Water the mixture before you fill-up the pots as it allows the peat moss to absorb the water for an hour.

Lighting Needs For Your Cereus Potted Plants

Now, these cacti love bathing in light conditions with full sun to thrive in summer. But it can handle some partial shade well. For growing them indoors, the best spot is a bright window that faces west or south.

Still, for extra sunlight, you can leave it standing outside on the patio for fresh air from spring to fall. But during winter, take it back inside. Another important thing with the cactus family as a potted plant is to rotate them every week or two.

Doing this allows all the sides to get some sun for photosynthesis to take place. So, your cactus gets a balanced growth and helps prevent sunburn or discoloration.

How To Water Your Night Blooming Cactus to Prevent Root Rot

Remember that any Cereus cactuses can get root rot fast, and the watering frequency depends on how the soil dries out. So the best is to check that there is no soggy soil to prevent overwatering.

You can do this by sticking your finger into the ground to check if it is dry. Also, make sure that the container has enough drainage holes for the water to flow through. During the growth period in spring and summer, your cactus needs more water.

Providing frequent watering encourages the growth of flowers and fruits. This applies to the night-blooming Cereus in pots and gardens. Still, when fall arrives, start decreasing the watering as it goes into a completely dormant stage in winter.

The best way to water your plant to prevent a wet body is at the soil level. You can use a hose for outdoor plants, while for potted plants, use a watering can. The ground needs to be wet and should seep through the drainage holes.

If your cacti stand in a tray, throw the excess water away.

Cereus Ideal Temperature & Humidity

Well, one thing cactuses adore is low humidity but needs warm temperatures from spring to autumn.

temperature requirement

So the ideal temperature for your dragon fruit cacti and others is 70° to 95°Fahrenheit (21° to 35°Celsius).

Still, when winter arrives, and temperatures begin to drop, they can tolerate temperatures only as low as 50°Fahrenheit (10°Celsius). If the temperature drops to – 7 degrees C and your Cereus is exposed too much, you’ll notice browning and or yellowing of the tip of its stems.

Feeding Cereus

For your Cereus, you can use a slow-release organic fertilizer. You can find them available specifically for the cacti. Using these fertilizers provides the foliage with the calcium and nutrients needed to provide them the growth they need.

The best time to fertilize your cactus is in the growing season, but if you use a granular feed, you might need to transplant the foliage into a bigger container. But using a slow-release one is better, and you only need to apply one application.

When fall arrives, there is no need to feed for cactus as it becomes dormant.

Propagating Night Blooming Cereus

We love the Cereus cacti’s gorgeous flowers filling up the home with a delightful scent. So if you want to make sure you have many cactus plants, stem-cutting propagation is the way to go. The best time to do this is from spring to summer.

  1. Gather your supplies from sterilized shears to your potting medium.
  2. The cutting needs to be about 6 to 9 inches taken from the final tumor. Taking it from this section provides you with young cells.
  3. Leave the callus in a warm yet dry location for two weeks, as it is an essential step for rooting.
  4. Get your container ready with ample drainage and insert the cutting with the callus side down.
  5. You can bury it halfway in the soil.
  6. Water and soak as usual but do not let the soil get too moist as the cutting will rot away.
  7. Place the pot in bright locations to help the roots form for two weeks.

Growing Zone

Most Cereus cacti thrive in the USDA hardiness zones 8 to 10. But if you live in a colder climate, we recommend bringing your cactus indoors when it gets cold.

Potting and Pruning Your Cacti

You can repot your cactus every couple of years unless it becomes pot-bound. Now is the time to replace that old soil with some fresh ones and also inspect the roots. Still, you may find your cactus outgrowing the container sooner and will need a bigger pot.

When removed from the container, remove dead roots from your night-blooming before placing them in their new home. But leave the soil dry for two weeks before you start watering your cacti. After that, cactuses you can prune them to give them shape or maintain their size.

It is a great way to remove damaged parts and encourage blooming to make sure you can enjoy those beautiful flowers at night. The best time to prune is in the fall, as the plant stops growing new branches.

Cereus Cactus Varieties

Cereus peruvianus

Cereus peruvianus

The Peruvian apple cactus bears a fleshy apple-like fruit that is red. The plant is known as the queen of the night and grows well as an indoor plant. It also provides you with night-blooming flowers.

Epiphyllum oxypetalum

Epiphyllum oxypetalum

The Dutchman’s pipe is another showy night bloomer with white flowers. Gardeners refer to it as the orchid cactus that bears pink fruit.

Spiral Cereus

spiral cereus

Nothing is more spectacular than this cacti with a trunkless shape forming tall ascending columnar stems in a spiral form.

Cereus Cactus Plant Diseases & Pests

As with other plants, the cactus can also become a pest haven or disease. Common insects found on the blooming cacti are scales and mealybugs. You can find fungus gnats and spider mites as well.

For controlling these critters, an organic insecticide should take care of the problem. Or you can use a cotton ball soaked in some rubbing alcohol but also look out for snails. These slugs are trickier to get rid of as insecticides do not work well on them.

To prevent them from accessing your plant, you can spread some eggshells around the soil.

Frequently Asked Questions

Your night-blooming Cereus only starts flowering when it is mature and can take up to five years. At first, it produces some flowers and increases throughout the years as it gets older. Finally, you find the buds forming on the top of the stem.

A notable thing is it only blooms at night once for pollination to take place through a moth. When pollinated, it produces fruit, and the best is to reduce the watering around fall and winter. Also, stop feeding your plant to help with the bloom production.

The chance is that it is the side getting exposed to more sunlight. So to straighten your cacti, you can rotate the pot so that the other side also gets direct sunlight.

It is not impossible if it gets enough sun. But your plant has a bigger chance of flowering standing outside.

We are so glad you asked this question as Plantly can help you get one for your garden and home. We have a wide selection of Cereus cactuses for you here.

Whether you want to buy, sell or simply reach out to other plant enthusiasts, Plantly is the right place to be!

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