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How to Care for a Night Blooming Cereus

By Sarah Terry ; Updated September 21, 2017

The night blooming cereus (Cereus peruvianus), also known as the Peruvian apple or apple cactus, is part of the cactus family and blooms only in the late evening. This tropical vine grows fast and vigorously with light-green stems. The night blooming cereus can look awkward and gangly during the daytime when it’s not blooming, but the buds open to reveal stunning, large white blooms that are up to 12 inches wide. Each flower blooms only one night and then dies. Usually grown as a houseplant indoors, the night blooming cereus is low maintenance and easy to grow.

Plant your night blooming cereus in a 12-inch-diameter planter pot with a mixture of equal parts all-purpose potting soil and sand. The pot must have drainage holes in the bottom.

Place your night blooming cereus in bright sunlight. You can position the plant beside a sunny, south-facing window.

Water your cereus once every week or two, when the soil dries out and the blades and stems feel soft or spongy. Water thoroughly, making sure the water drains freely from the bottom of the pot.

Feed your night blooming cereus a water-soluble cactus fertilizer once each month during the spring and summer. Apply the fertilizer during a regular watering session.

Keep an eye out for scale or mealybugs infesting your night blooming cereus. If you detect bugs on the cactus, apply an insecticidal soap to the plant according to the directions on the label.

 

Things You Will Need

  • Planter pot, 12-inch diameter
  • Sand
  • All-purpose potting soil
  • Watering can
  • Water-soluble cactus fertilizer
  • Insecticidal soap (optional)

Tips

  • If your cereus' blades or stems begin to turn yellow, the stems feel too soft or the plant begins to emit a foul odor, you're overwatering. Cut back on watering and allow the soil to dry out before you water again.
  • Reduce watering and don't fertilize during the fall and winter to encourage annual flowering. Keep the plant in a sunny window during this time, avoid repotting even if it becomes root-bound, and water only when the soil is dry.

Warning

  • Don't overwater your night blooming cereus or allow it to sit in waterlogged soil. Doing so will cause the roots to rot and the plant to die.

About the Author

 

Sarah Terry brings over 10 years of experience writing novels, business-to-business newsletters and a plethora of how-to articles. Terry has written articles and publications for a wide range of markets and subject matters, including Medicine & Health, Eli Financial, Dartnell Publications and Eli Journals.