Cereus - How to care for and cultivate your Cereus

Cereus - How to care for and cultivate your Cereus



ThereCereus it is a beautiful succulent plant of the large family of cacti, much appreciated for its column shape and its particular flowers, characterized by an elongated stem with angular grooves, sometimes arborescent.






: Angiosperms


: Eudicotyledons











: see the paragraph on "Main species"


The genre Cereusbelongs to the large family of Cactaceae, so-called succulent or succulent plants. There are about fifty perennial species, native to Central South America and the West Indies, which in their natural environment become real giants reaching even 10 m in height.

Their particularity, as of all Cactaceae, is that they are plants without branches and the flowers grow from a "pillow" of hair (areola) directly from the stem. They are plants very developed in height and are distinguished by the fact that their bearing is columnar with ribbed succulent stems that branch out in adult specimens in the upper part assuming a bluish-green color. Some species take the form of candlesticks and represent an element of the landscape of some desert regions of South America.

The stem is formed along its entire length by numerous evident ribs where quite consistent thorns form that are none other than the leaves.This transformation is an adaptation of nature to the conditions in which Cereus plants live in their natural habitats (arid areas and desertiche) and allows to reduce transpiration to the bare minimum and therefore the loss of water stored with so much difficulty.

The spines are formed along the ribs from small protuberances called "areoles" arranged in tufts.

Potted le Cereus they bloom very rarely and only plants that have reached large dimensions can produce large hermaphroditic flowers during the summer period and all the parts of which the flower is composed are arranged aspirally: sepals, petals, stamens are very numerous and often the sepals and petal are distinct from each other. The flowers are usually white, pink or red and often fragrant depending on the species and variety and which open only at night and are short-lived.

The fruits are fleshy red berries and in most species they are edible.


The genre Cereus includes about fifty species among which the two most widespread and known are:


There Cereus peruvianus it is native to southern Brazil, Argentina and Peru and is characterized by a long ribbed stem rich in thorns, blue in the younger parts that become dark green with age.

The flowers are white and open only at night. It is a vigorous plant that can easily reach two meters in height.

Cereus peruvianus monstrous

There is a variety, the Cereus peruvianus var.monstrous known for its particularly creepy shapes (photo below).


There Cereus jamacaru it is native to South America and in nature the stem can become important reaching 60 cm in diameter and even 10 in height while in the apartment it usually does not exceed 15 cm in diameter and one meter in height.

The stem is characterized by 5-6 ribs and each areola has yellow thorns. The flowers are white.


The plant Cereus it is easy to cultivate, does not require particular precautions and is fast growing.

Cultivation temperatures must not drop below 10 ° C for mild climate areas, they can also be grown outdoors otherwise, during the winter season, they must be taken to a warm and sheltered place.

Fundamental is the light which must be as intense as possible, best in full sun avoiding in any case an exposure to the north where the amount of light is too scarce and to make it receive the sunlight through the glasses as a dangerous lens effect would occur. with the sun's rays too concentrated.

They are plants that love the air therefore, if grown in the apartment, it is important that the environment in which they are found is often ventilated but without creating drafts, especially cold air.


There Cereus it should be watered generously in the spring-summer period while waiting for the soil to dry on the surface between one watering and the next. During the autumn-winter period, it almost does not water, just every now and then so as not to completely dry up the soil.

Since these are succulent plants, one less watering is better than one more and be careful not to leave water in the saucer as water stagnation is not tolerated in any way.


There Cereus it is repotted every year at the beginning of spring (March) using a slightly larger pot than the previous one.

Repotting is also the time to check the roots: if you notice blackened or dry roots, cut them with clean scissors and disinfect them if possible with the flame, after which sprinkle a broad spectrum fungicidal powder in the wounds of the cut and then repot.

For repotting, use a specific percactaceae compost to which you combine coarse sand or perlite in the measure of 2: 1 (2 parts of compost for 1 part of sand or perlite) to favor the drainage of irrigation water. Arrange also on the bottom of the vase some pieces of earthenware that favor the drainage of the excess watering water.

To carry out a good repotting in consideration of the fact that the plant ofCereus it has nice thorns and therefore it could be difficult to handle it you can proceed in the following way: water the soil well and let the water drain for a few hours to make it easier to extract the plant from the pot; then put on a pair of oven mitts or take some newspaper to use as a glove. Turn the pot upside down by tapping on the bottom and gently pull the plant. If the plant resists, run a knife around the edge of the pot and then stick a pen into the drainage hole and push the plant out and it will come off quite easily at that point.

It is always recommended to use terracotta pots that favor the breathing of the earth and therefore correct any irrigation errors.

The first watering immediately after repotting must be done by immersing the pot from which all excess water is then left to drain. However, if you have carried out the pruning of the roots then in this case wait at least a week before doing the first watering to allow the wounds to heal.


Starting in spring and throughout the summer, fertilize the plantCereus every two weeks with a liquid fertilizer administered together with the irrigation water, halving the doses compared to what is reported in the fertilizer package as they are always excessive.

Make sure that the fertilizer you use in addition to containing nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P) and potassium (K) also has microelements such as iron (Fe), manganese (Mn), copper (Cu), zinc ( Zn), boron (B), molybdenum (Mo), magnesium (mg) all important for a correct and balanced growth of the plant.


There Cereus it blooms during the summer period.


The plant cannot be pruned.


The multiplication can take place by seed or more simply by pertalea.


The multiplication by cuttings takes place by cutting portions of the stem that heal for a variable time from 1 day up to 3 weeks, in the air, until the cut wound has not healed.

If you have a tall plant that you want to shorten and at the same time get some cuttings, it is advisable not to stop at the cut of the apical part only but to cut generously at more than half height, this because the ability of rooting and clotting, i.e. branches is greater in the central part of the stem than in the apical or basal part; in fact, while in the apical part the branches develop with difficulty, in the basal part, they are the roots that develop with difficulty.

The cuttings thus obtained are then arranged in a compound consisting of peat and sand in equal parts, keeping the compound moist, at a good temperature and light.


The Cereus they are not plants that get sick easily. Generally it is a pathophysiology, that is to say, diseases caused not by pathogens but by bad cultivation techniques.

The plant appears soft and shrivels

This symptom is caused by too much watering.

Remedies: generally when this stage is reached, it is almost never possible to recover the plant.

You can give it a try by removing the plant with all the earthen bread from the pot and leaving it in the air so that the soil dries up as quickly as possible.Check the roots and remove the rotten ones by cutting them at least 1 cm above the soft area with a scissor sharpened and flame disinfected and sprinkle the surface of the cut roots with a broad spectrum fungicidal powder and then potted. Wait at least two weeks before watering again.

The plant takes on twisted shapes and does not bloom

If we observe that the plant stretches (slips) and takes on a very light green color, it means that the environment in which it is located is lacking in light.
Remedies: place the plant in a more illuminated position.

The plant appears as "emptied"

This symptom is usually due to little water. If we stay a few months without watering the plant, especially during the summer period, the plant runs out of all the water contained in the tissues and therefore appears as "emptied".
Remedies: if you reach this stage it is not always possible to recover it, in any case, it is worth trying by resuming normal watering.

The green parts appear browned

If the plant of Cereus it has a brownish color and cracks in the tissues begin to be noticed, which means that the temperatures are too low.
Remedies: place the plant in a warmer place.

Brown spots on the underside of the leaves

Brown spots on the underside of the leaves could mean that you are in the presence of cochineal and in particular of brown cochineal. To be sure, use a magnifying glass and observe them against the photo on the side, and if you try to remove them with a fingernail, they come off easily.

Remedies: they can be removed using a piece of cotton soaked in alcohol. For larger plants planted outdoors, you can use specific pesticides available from a good nurseryman.


Several studies have been conducted regarding the Cereus peruvianus and it has been observed that these plants have the ability to absorb electromagnetic waves naturally emitted by the ground (the so-called Hartmann Networks) as well as the artificial ones produced by electronic devices.

Since now in all our homes there are computers, televisions, microwave ovens, mobile phones, antennas, etc. all devices that emit electromagnetic radiation, not perceptible to the human senses, from which we are constantly bombarded all day and every day, the discovery of a plant capable of absorbing these radiations is undoubtedly worthy of the utmost attention. Unfortunately, electromagnetic radiation is the invisible enemy of our century and our daily life which, however, cause various pathologies such as headaches, sleep disorders, decreased sexual appetite, just to name a few. Therefore, the ability of a plant capable of absorbing these electromagnetic waves (which was also confirmed by the World Health Organization) is a great discovery. In particular, it has been observed that placing a 40 cm high and 6-sided map (when it has 5 faces the result is reduced by 25%) near a computer monitor or TV is the simplest way to protect our health and mitigate the harmfulness of modern technology.

Online bibliographic sources

- INAF IASF BO: Institute of Space Astrophysics and Cosmic Physics, Bologna The Cactus eats radiation

Video: Cactus Espiral Cereus Spiralis