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PlantFiles: Apple Cactus, Peruvian Apple, Hedge Cactus, Peruvian Tree Cactus
Cereus repandus

Family: Cactaceae (kak-TAY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Cereus (KER-ee-us) (Info)
Species: repandus (REP-an-dus) (Info)

Synonym:Cereus grenadensis
Synonym:Cereus peruvianus
Synonym:Cereus margaritensis
Synonym:Cereus remolinensis
Synonym:Cereus atroviridis

24 members have or want this plant for trade.

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Cactus and Succulents

8-10 ft. (2.4-3 m)
10-12 ft. (3-3.6 m)
12-15 ft. (3.6-4.7 m)

6-8 ft. (1.8-2.4 m)

USDA Zone 9a: to -6.6 C (20 F)
USDA Zone 9b: to -3.8 C (25 F)
USDA Zone 10a: to -1.1 C (30 F)
USDA Zone 10b: to 1.7 C (35 F)
USDA Zone 11: above 4.5 C (40 F)

Sun Exposure:
Full Sun

Plant has spines or sharp edges; use extreme caution when handling

Bloom Color:
White/Near White

Bloom Time:
Late Spring/Early Summer
Mid Summer
Late Summer/Early Fall


Other details:
This plant is attractive to bees, butterflies and/or birds
Drought-tolerant; suitable for xeriscaping
Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater

Soil pH requirements:
6.1 to 6.5 (mildly acidic)
6.6 to 7.5 (neutral)
7.6 to 7.8 (mildly alkaline)

Patent Information:

Propagation Methods:
From woody stem cuttings
From softwood cuttings
Allow cut surface to callous over before planting

Seed Collecting:
Seed does not store well; sow as soon as possible

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There are a total of 10 photos.
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19 positives
3 neutrals
1 negative

Gardeners' Notes:

Positive kinderegg On Sep 1, 2014, kinderegg from Las Vegas, NV wrote:

This cactus has stunning flowers, however they are short lived, lasting only an evening. The fruit is okay, similar to a dragon fruit. I am told they vary wildly from plant to plant, but I have yet to have one that is not mildly sweet with a slimy texture and crunchy seeds. It is not a frost tolerant plant. The two I have died back somewhat at 20F. It is fast growing for a cactus. It needs little water, but here in the Mojave it needs an occasional watering in the summer time.

Positive Tefoe On Nov 1, 2010, Tefoe from Lakeland, FL wrote:

Wonderful cactus! I use them as a border.
The fruit taste great, though the quality varies greatly from plant to plant. So If you have one that produces nice good quality fruit, GOOD FOR YOU!
If you want to grow them from seed, make sure its fresh, preferably just washed right out of the UNREFRIGERATED fruit. Ive found the refrigerating really affects the sprout rate, as with drying them.
From seed it took me 41/2 years to get fruit from my first 20 seeds I planted..
Also, Its seems they might suffer from some degree of self infertility, as with cross pollination fruit set is near 100%, without near 20% Id say...
Can take a hard frost too if well established, but not prolonged freezing temps...
Cuttings can be a pain to root, unlike padding cactus, they don't seem to root well from the spine nodes, but from the cut skin lips.. And grown from seed, they grow much more symmetrical, instead of sending off arms in all directions...

Positive dumblady On Oct 14, 2010, dumblady from Spring Hill, FL wrote:

The fruit is edible!! And it has a gorgeous hot pink color skin with a pleasantly mild melon taste. They also have tiny seeds that crunch kinda like a strawberry's seeds do. We cut them up & put in a fresh fruit salad. Beautiful! We have several of these cacti growing on the west side of our house here in Central FL, zone 9a. We also have two of the Mostrose version. The gorgeous giant flowers are a sight to behold & still open in the early morning. Fabulous!

Positive incognitopoint On Sep 29, 2010, incognitopoint from Ocklawaha, FL wrote:

I got 4 cuttings this past spring, from someone who lives in the area, I brought them home, stuck them in the ground and they now have flower arms growing, Can't wait to see it bloom. I hope to grow it and share it with other people in the area, it really is a cool plant and an awesome addition to my otherwise tropical looking yard here in Central Florida

Positive ameli1 On Jul 6, 2010, ameli1 from The Villages, FL wrote:


Positive Colibre On Dec 6, 2009, Colibre from Sierra Vista, AZ wrote:

I got a Peruvian Cereus in a terrarium in 1971; it was about the size of my little finger. It grew for many years and once it started getting big, we put it in a pot. When it got too big for that, we stuck it in the ground by our water feature. For many years we kept finding flowers in the pond and never could figure out where they came from--until one evening we just happened to look up. What a nice surprise. By this time, the thing was about 10 feet tall. That winter, it got really cold here and snowed (at our home south of Sierra Vista, AZ the elevation is over 4,800 feet) and it got nipped pretty bad. So we cut it up and started a number of new plants. We kept two and gave one away. Those two went into the ground on a west-facing fence and have been doing wonderfully since. They didn't bloom for a couple years but this year they did--and we got fruit! Only a couple that we know of, but we will be watching them much more closely in the years to come. Tasted the fruit and it was really sweet; can't wait for next year!

Neutral RxBenson On Oct 29, 2009, RxBenson from Pikesville, MD (Zone 7a) wrote:

I always trust "J.L.Hudson, Seedsman" implicitly regarding identification and taxonomy, so I am going to post a photo (2) of the plant that I have grown from seed as Cereus peruviana. It is now 7 or 8 years old and 32 inches tall. (It was growing very symmetrically until insect damage caused an abberation in the stem/trunk during its stay outdoors in the summer a couple years ago.) This plant does not look like the ones you are presenting as C. peruviana -- because it is immature and grown from seed rather than a cutting?

I welcome comment and assistance. My encyclopedia says the plant reaches 35 feet in the wild -- so how long do I have to wait to experience blooms????

Positive japancam On Aug 28, 2009, japancam from Tokyo
Japan wrote:

Canadian living in Tokyo, Japan. Accidently stumbled accross this house with an Giant Apple Cactus that extended about 6 meters above roof level of a two story house. Lady offered us a big cutting. We potted it (about 60cm) in a large pot around Christmas and kept it indoors until the weather warmed. Started to grow late June and has more than doubled in size! Continues to grow daily. I have never seen anything like it! No flowers yet but hoping for a late summer bloom. Is it true you can trim these things just by cutting off the top with a saw? If yes, when is the best time to do this? Will it then branch out? Any care tips would be great as I am new to this:)

Positive newbytucsoner On Aug 9, 2009, newbytucsoner from Tucson, AZ wrote:

We bought this house in January -- in Tucson -- and it began to bloom in May. In three rounds it has put out over 160 blooms -- and is now producing "Peruvian apples" that are tasty. This has been an amazing year -- and it's still producing blooms too.

This monsoon season has been drier that usual, we are told -- and we have done some watering, but can't account for its fecundity. A glorious experience!

Positive cherannhers On Aug 23, 2008, cherannhers from Summerfield, FL wrote:

I live in Florida and my Cereus Peruvianus is about 25 feet tall. This year evidently due to all the rain my cactus is about to bloom for the third time this year and this time it will have at least 100 blooms hopefully all within a few days time. I am considering calling the newspaper to see if they want a picture of it. Is this unusual to have this many blooms at once?

Positive manimalon On Feb 4, 2008, manimalon from Buenos Aires
Argentina wrote:

The plant was in the garden when I bought the house. Someone cutted the catus across many years ago and still it grew back. It is 15 feet tall and I estimate 30-40 years.
It is extremely beautyfull at blossom (as said here, only one night long). Gets full of bees at dusk (now late summer here in Buenos Aires: 34 lalitude South, 17C mean temperature, 1000mm annual rainfall, some frost days a year).

Positive scottncindy On Aug 24, 2007, scottncindy from Tucson, AZ wrote:

I bought this cactus at a Tucson nursury in early June and planted it next to the front porch of our house. It was already three feet tall. During the first summer, it didn't grow any taller but it did put out a large number of flowers, each of which opened for only one night, turning black and falling off in the next day's sunshine. This plant seems to do very well in the Tucson climate.

Positive thaihotgardens On Jul 1, 2007, thaihotgardens from Brandon, FL wrote:

I started with a 5' specimen of this cactus 3 years ago. It grew to about 10 feet that year, and the beginning of next spring I cut it into 14 section between 2' and 4' each. Despite having a rough start (many of the ridge edges browned and fell off, leaving less pronounced ridges), they have all taken, giving me a nice natural fence which is blooming 4-10 flowers on each plant. I have about 20 or so fruits that look like they are nearly ripe now, was wondering if there is anything special I should do before eating? Very fun cactus to watch growing, and the blooms are awesome, short-lived though they are

Positive entr_acte On Jul 4, 2006, entr_acte from Kansas City, MO wrote:

I've had my potted cereus rapandus since 1998. The winters here in Kansas City are too harsh of course to allow me to leave it out past frost but it has done extraordinarily well growing to 6 feet on the patio. It has flowered now for the second year. This year it put on 6 flowers, blooming the night of July 3rd into the 4th in a spectacular display!

Positive mojavegardener On Aug 25, 2005, mojavegardener from Inyokern, CA (Zone 8a) wrote:

I live in the Mojave, Zone 8a. I grow these in pots, as they must be brought in during the winter for frost protection. They love the hot summers here, requiring little water or care. Great flowers in late summer, draws a lot of giant black bumblebees!!!

Neutral Xenomorf On Mar 2, 2005, Xenomorf from Valley of the Sun, AZ (Zone 9b) wrote:

One source states that this is probably native to the western Caribbean and Venezuela. The fruit & stems are edible. This cactus is cultivated for living fences, furniture, soap substitutes and firewood.

Additional valid synonyms are:
Cactus peruvianus
Cactus repandus
Cephalocereus atroviridis
Cephalocereus remolinensis
Cereus margaritensis var. micracanthus
Pilocereus atroviridis
Pilocereus remolinensis
Pilocereus repandus
Pilocereus russelianus subsp. margaritensis
Piptanthocereus peruvianus
Subpilocereus atroviridis
Subpilocereus grenadensis
Subpilocereus margaritensis
Subpilocereus remolinensis
Subpilocereus repandus
Subpilocereus repandus subsp. micracanthus
Subpilocereus russelianus var. margaritensis

Positive QueenB On Nov 3, 2004, QueenB from Shepherd, TX (Zone 8b) wrote:

It holds up to freezing temperatures much better than I anticipated. It was uncovered through at least a week's worth of freezing nights (independently), and suffered minimal damage. The only parts that actually froze were new arm buds that hadn't had a chance to harden. Several people have it growing in their yards here. Does best in a protected southern position.

Positive monkeyboy On Oct 5, 2004, monkeyboy from Grand Rapids, MI wrote:

hello everybody, i am new to this site.
i just have bought this cactus 5 days ago. when i bought it, it already had two buds on there, ready to bloom.
does anyone know how long it takes from bud to bloom? it would be really awesome if anyone could help. thanks a lot everyone

Positive deborahgrand On Aug 16, 2004, deborahgrand from Baton Rouge, LA wrote:

I thought I'd lost this one years ago and in clearing debris from old greenhouse area, there it was still going strong and absolutely COVERED in apples. Can limit height growth by keeping it in a small pot, I've discovered. Can't wait to see what it does when I put it in the ground.

Neutral palmbob On May 31, 2004, palmbob from Acton, CA (Zone 8b) wrote:

Large, green, slightly knobby, branching tall columnar cactus from South America (or maybe West Indies- origin not really clear).

Positive IslandJim On Jun 9, 2003, IslandJim from Keizer, OR (Zone 8b) wrote:

This plant is a no brainer for most living in the sunbelt. Its only drawback is the spectacular flowers open at dusk and die before noon the next day, so to see them at their best you have to view them at night or in the very early a.m. The fruit is better than the "cactus apple" of the opuntia if only because it has no spines and can be eaten out of hand. It is called "pitaya" but it is not as tasty as the fruit of hylocereus undata, which is also called "pitaya."

Positive adkomondor On Apr 30, 2003, adkomondor from North Charleston, SC wrote:

Grows very well a a potted plant. As it gets taller, you can cut it back with a hand saw, and the plant will send out branches. Loves warmth and full sun. Will bloom in the house (at least for me). Blooms at night. Each blossom is only open for one night.

Negative daveguitar On Apr 2, 2003, daveguitar from skegness
United Kingdom wrote:

From England - I have a 'monstrosa' version of this plant, 500cm. tall which suffered severe damage when the greenhouse temperature dropped below 4 degrees C last winter. [I cut the top off which was undamaged and it rooted ok]


This plant has been said to grow in the following regions:

Green Valley, Arizona
Phoenix, Arizona
Scottsdale, Arizona
Tucson, Arizona (3 reports)
Arroyo Grande, California
Garden Grove, California
Los Angeles, California
San Leandro, California
Spring Valley, California
Thousand Oaks, California
Vacaville, California
Yorba Linda, California
Apopka, Florida
Brandon, Florida
Dade City, Florida
Deland, Florida
Fort Lauderdale, Florida
Fort Walton Beach, Florida
Holiday, Florida
Hollywood, Florida
Lady Lake, Florida
Lakeland, Florida
Melbourne, Florida
North Port, Florida
Ocklawaha, Florida
Orlando, Florida
Saint Petersburg, Florida (2 reports)
Spring Hill, Florida
Summerfield, Florida
Tallahassee, Florida
Tampa, Florida
Venice, Florida
Baton Rouge, Louisiana
Lafayette, Louisiana
Las Vegas, Nevada
Corpus Christi, Texas
San Antonio, Texas
Santa Fe, Texas
Shepherd, Texas
Shoreline, Washington

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