Plant and Garden

Cereus repandus f. monstrosa (peruvianus) aka Monstrose Apple Cactus

Cereus repandus fruits and stems of are edible. Its wood has been used in making furniture and for firewood.

Cereus peruvianusMonstrosus,” commonly known as the Monstrose Apple Cactus, is a cactus with a branching, tree-like form.

The name Cereus originates in a book by Tabernaemontanus published in 1625 and refers to the candle-like form of species.

This cactus is native to Brazil, Paraguay, Uruguay, and Argentina, as well as the nearby ABC Islands of the Dutch Caribbean.. 

The name Cereus originates in a book by Tabernaemontanus published in 1625 and refers to the candle-like form of species.
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The Cereus (Ser-E-us) cactus grows in humid to subhumid forests on rocky outcroppings.

Reportedly, a C. repandus has grown to a height of 110 feet at the SDM College of Dental Sciences at Dhathard Karnataka, India.


You Say 
Cereus peruvianusis
  I Say 
Cereus repandus

Other common names are Peruvian Apple, Peruvian Torch, Apple Cactus, Column Cactus, Hedge Cactus, and Queen of the Night.

Cereus peruvianusis not an ‘officially recognized’ taxon, but nonetheless is a botanical name that is ‘commonly used’ by many to lump together both taxa.

And moreover, some taxonomist will not differentiate between the two as separate taxa and will call them both  Cereus repandus

‘Monstrose’ or ‘Monstrosus’ are botanical terms used to describe a naturally occurring mutant growth formation.  

Cereus repandus and Cereus hildmannianus are very similar in appearance and are often confused with each other.
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 C. hildmannianus.

Cereus repandus and Cereus hildmannianus are very similar in appearance and are often confused with each other.

Cereus peruvianus has been scientifically proven to neutralize harmful electromagnetic waves.

These waves are  emitted by the television, telephone, computer.

It is reported that placing the plant in those areas of the house where the electronics are placed is beneficial.

Stems, Blooms, and Fruit

The large fruit of this cactus is presently being researched as a significant fruit crop for production in arid climates like Israel. 

Cereus repandus fruits and stems of are edible. Its wood has been used in making furniture and for firewood. Sliced stems have been used as a soap substitute. It is cultivated as a living fence also

Fruits and stems of Cereus repandus are edible. Its wood has been used in making furniture and for firewood, and sliced stems have been used as a soap substitute. It is cultivated as a living fence also

‘Cereus’ is a latin word meaning ‘wax’ or ‘torch’.

This cactus is a shy bloomer but when it does they are small white flowers that give way to orange to red fruit that looks similar to an apple. Hense the name Apple Cactus.

Flowers only open at night however and live for less than 24 hours before closing. 

Blooming usually happens from June to September. After blooming, the plant will produce fleshy fruits. When ripe, the fruit opens up exposing an edible pulp.

The fruits, known locally as pitaya, olala are thornless and vary in skin color from violet-red to yellow.

The edible flesh is white and contains small, edible, crunchy seeds. The flesh sweetens as the fruit opens out fully.

Propagating Cereus peruvianus

New plants are normally raised from seeds. But, although these seeds germinate and grow up more quickly than those of most cacti, seed propagation is still a slow process.

Cereus peruvianus can also be propagated by means of sections of stem rooted in the standard potting mixture, but this process is often impractical since it involves the virtual destruction of the original plant.

Light and Temperature Requirements

The Monstrose Apple Cactus grows best in a hot, sunny site with no shade.

Newly purchased or planted cacti can suffer from sunburn if they are not gradually introduced to the higher light intensity.

Cereus peruvianus cacti need acclimation, to the fullest possible sunlight. Since the light coming from a window is one-sided, a columnar plant will tend to lean in that direction and so it is most important to turn such plant frequently.

If possible, get the Cereus peruvianus outdoors during the summer months for fresh air and extra light to improve their color and to help lengthen their spines.

Warm temperatures are usually suitable in spring, summer, and autumn.

For the winter these plants should be moved into a cool position where they can rest.

Cereus peruvianus is hardy down to -6°C (20°F) when planted in soil.

Cereus peruvianus tries to continue growing in low-light of the short-day months will develop an abnormally thin, frail stem.

Soil and Site Considerations


Cacti grow best in a well-drained sandy or gravelly loam soil, in general.

At the beginning of the growth period, apply a dressing of slow release fertilizer and stir it into the surface of the soil in the pot. Fertilizer may be incorporated in potting mixture when repotting.

Cereus peruvianus needs either a peat based or soil based mixture will do well. Plants up to 2-inch may be kept in 3-inch pots, but these cacti are fast growing and may need to be moved into larger pots at least once a year.

Where soil does not offer excellent drainage, adding a fine gravel or crushed granite into the planting site and slightly mounding the planting area encourages water to drain away from the plant’s roots efficiently. 

Where soil does not offer excellent drainage, adding a fine gravel or crushed granite into the planting site and slightly mounding the planting area encourages water to drain away from the plant's roots efficiently.
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Monstrose Apple Cacti grown indoors or as container specimens require a container with ample drain holes and a well-drained potting medium.

Potting medium formulated specifically for cacti and succulents is commercially available.

Remove every plant from its pot in early spring to see whether the roots are tightly packed. If they are, move the plant into a pot one size larger; otherwise, return it to its current pot, but top-dress it with fresh potting mixture.


Water and Fertilizer

 Cereus peruvianus is a very fast grower. This plant is a perfect candidate indoor plant for a sunny south, east or west window.

Monstrose apple cactus can be planted in areas with little to no irrigation such as in desert style landscapes, medians, and hot, arid climates. 

Because of its extensive taproot system and relatively no need for regular watering, Cereus peruvianus, like other members of the cactus family, has very low water and fertilizer needs.

A light application of a balanced fertilizer in early spring encourages monstrose apple cactus growth but is not necessary. No irrigation or fertilizer applications are necessary from late fall through spring when conditions are cool and wet.
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Supply a deep watering about four to six weeks following planting.

The plant will need supplemental water about every two weeks during the first hot summer following planting to encourag establishment.

Before providing supplemental irrigation, it is a good idea to feel the soil an inch below the soil surface to make sure it is completely dry to the touch.

Cereus peruvianus, when established, generally need watering only once or twice per month.

A light application of a balanced fertilizer in early spring encourages monstrose apple cactus growth but is not necessary. No irrigation or fertilizer applications are necessary from late fall through spring when conditions are cool and wet.

Potential Problems or Pests

In poorly drained soils or if this cactus is subjected to excessive moisture it is likely to end up with root rot. Select a site with good drainage or improve site drainage to avoid this and only water the cactus when it is warranted.

Cereus peruvianuspruning is only necessary to control plant width as desired and thin outcrossing or unsightly branches.

Pests include scales and mealybugs, which are best addressed by providing the cactus with proper cultural care.

Preventing natural predators or parasites of the pests to achieve control.

Pests include scales and mealybugs, which are best addressed by providing the cactus with proper cultural care and allowing natural predators or parasites of the pests to achieve control.

On young or very visible specimens, knocking mealybugs off the cactus with a forceful stream of water or applying insecticidal soap or horticultural oil is warranted. Or check out The Perfect Solution For Healthy Plants.

Coming To The Point 

Cereus was one of the first cactus genera to be described

ereus repandus is an unresearched, under-utilized cactus, grown mostly as an ornamental plant.

The Wayuu from the La Guajira Peninsula of Colombia and Venezuel use the inner cane-like wood of the plant in wattle and daub construction.

Cereus peruvianus has a tolerance for salty air.

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