Peruvian Apple Cactus: Growing Guide and Care

5 Min Read

Cereus Peruvians, now more often known as Cereus repandus, adds a distinctive element to any edible or attractive environment with its tall, thorny, columnar appearance and low maintenance needs.

Let’s learn how to grow, care for, and harvest this beautiful, but often overlooked, cactus. Hopefully, we can get more gardeners to know about it!

Peruvian Apple Cactus Overview

Common NamePeruvian torch, hedge cactus, screw cactus plant
Scientific NameCereus repandus
LightFull sun to partial shade
WaterMinimal watering during winter
SoilWell-drained cactus soil
FertilizerSlow-release fertilizer throughout the growing season
Pests & DiseasesScale, mealybugs

Cereus peruvianus Care

The Peruvian apple cactus has very basic maintenance needs because it is a cactus. If you’d like, you can even grow it as an indoor houseplant!

It will simply grow much more slowly, but don’t let that deter you from using this plant to spruce up your house. Let’s start with the requirements it needs to survive outside, which are similar to those of many cacti.

Light and Temperature

To encourage night blooming and lighting, give your cereus cactus as much sun or bright light as you can. Should there be insufficient light reaching it, you will see that it starts to “lean” towards the light.

If your home does not have a high-light area, rotate the container a few times a year to offset the leaning effect. If growing outside, provide it with full sun for a minimum of eight hours daily. Remember, this is a desert cactus, and it loves the sun!

Water and Humidity

Water your plants more frequently during the spring and summer months when they are actively growing, since more water is needed for the plant to support all of the new growth as fruits form. The closer autumn and winter get the less water you have.

A general rule of thumb with growing cactus is that; no matter how much water you use, the soil should almost completely dry up before you water it again. The ideal humidity range for this specific cactus is between 30% and 50%.

Increased watering frequency throughout the growing season can help compensate for a deficiency in humidity.


Cactus apple and screw Cactus plants require well-draining soil, and a great cactus mix will work for them. You may even add a little amount of extra sand to your cactus mixture to soften it up and improve drainage even further if it appears to be hanging on to too much water.

Since cacti have plant tissue that can store both water and nutrients, they don’t require food. Give the soil surrounding your Peruvian cacti an acidic pH of 5 to 7.


During the growth season, you can feed your soil and perhaps accelerate development by applying a slow-release granular organic fertilizer. Remember that in a pot, cacti grow more quickly, so you may need to repot them sooner! In case you recently reported an older cactus mix, don’t forget to fertilize it.

Ideally, cactus-specific fertilizer should be used once per month. Recall that when plants are growing in the spring or summer, fertilization is not necessary.


Pruning your apple cactus is most effective in the autumn. Trim the plant when it stops producing new branches or when it becomes overgrown, making it harder to collect the fruits that are now knobby.

Avoid using pruning shears to cut or shape parts of the cactus. Instead, use a pruning saw, such as the FELCO 600 Folding Pruning Saw, to cut through the stem ribs. Don gloves as well! It’s a prickly cactus.

Propagating Peruvian Cactus

The best method for starting new Peruvian cacti plants might be from seeds. Although the process of seed propagation is sluggish, they germinate quickly. Growing plants from this cactus is considerably simpler when using stem cuttings.

Alternatively, you can use stem portions and root them in a regular potting mixture, just like many cacti species do. Give your cutting’s base time to callus and scar before planting the portion. This procedure requires one or two weeks. Next, plant the portion beside the parent plant in the bed or a small pot.

You can also grow plants with the little pups that sprout at the base of the cactus. Treat the pups here just like you would a stem cutting. Do not plant them until they are calloused.

Harvesting and Storing

It’s time to enjoy your tasty rewards after all of your hard work caring for this cactus! Let’s discuss how to gather and preserve Peruvian apples.


Because the Peruvian apple cactus’s white blossoms emerge at night, you might need to manually pollinate it; just be sure to do it correctly. If not, fruit might not develop. But this isn’t an issue because, as far as I can tell, night pollinators are usually abundant around these kinds of cacti! Both moths and bats frequently pollinate this plant.

Fruit begins to grow in late autumn or early winter when the plant goes dormant for the year. These healthy and delicious sweets are so good that you won’t want to miss out on them. They include high levels of beta-carotene, vitamin C, fiber, and numerous other nutrients. Remove the fruit from the cactus while wearing gloves.


Your Peruvian apples can be kept for a few weeks at room temperature. Their shelf life will be prolonged at room temperature even if they can be refrigerated. After peeling and chopping, the fruit can be kept for up to a year in freezer-safe bags.

Growing Problems

You’ll frequently encounter the issue of overwatering, which you, the gardener, may easily resolve. Water retention in the soil can be caused by either overwatering or moderate irrigation.

To loosen up your mix or add extra cacti, you could add some perlite if the problem is with the soil. Sand can be added to the soil to facilitate the removal of water since any additional drainage would aid.


Cereus Peruvians frequently face pest problems from mealybugs, slugs, and snails. Mealybugs can be removed from your plants with cotton swabs soaked in rubbing alcohol or by using organic insecticides.


Root rot can occur in cacti that are planted in poorly draining soil or that are overwatered. If the base of your cactus seems brown and mushy, remove it from the dirt and clip off any excess mush.

Before replanting the remaining cacti, give them a few weeks to harden off in a spot with plenty of sunlight and easily draining soil.


How often does the Cereus cactus bloom?

Only one night a year. Before the actual flowering occurs, there will be a strong indication that this will take place.

What would happen if a cactus stabbed you?

After removing the spine, clean the puncture site. The wound will usually heal easily and soon. Should it fail to seek medical attention from a qualified practitioner?

How often should my cereus be watered?

Apply water once every two to three weeks or until the soil dries out entirely. Lower this frequency throughout the autumn and winter.


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