Peruvian Apple Cactus: A Comprehensive Care and Growing Guide

peruvian apple cactus

In this post, I’m going to give you in-depth information about Peruvian Apple Cactus.

This is a cactus whose flower blooms only for a night; Sounds interesting!

Besides this, here are a couple of other mind-blowing things about it: 

  • Basic information
  • Care tips
  • Easy way of propagation
  • Related problems and their effective solutions
  • Buying guide

An Overview of Peruvian Apple Cactus

peruvian apple cactus spines

Peruvian apple cactus is tall, thorny, and column-like in appearance. As its name says, it produces edible apple-like fruits with a wonderful taste for not only humans but also for birds.  

The scientific name of Peruvian apple cactus is Cereus repandus. It comes with many other common names such as Night-Blooming Cereus Cactus, Apple Cactus, Hedge Cactus, Peruvian Tree Cactus, Column Cactus, Queen of the Night, Screw Cactus Plant.  

It originated from South America but spreads in several regions such as Argentina, Brazil, and Uruguay. It’s a fast growing plant that can have a height of fifteen to thirty inches and a width of six to eight inches. 

The stem of the Apple cactus is grayish-green to bluish. However in late spring and early fall, it blooms into showy fragrant flowers of rose, mauve, and white colors. These flowers are edible and nocturnal in nature but blossoms only for one night. 

Peruvian cactus produces thornless, delicious fruits known as Peruvian apples or pitaya that are red, violet, yellow from outside. The interior of the fruit has white color and crunchy seeds. There are high levels of beta-carotene, vitamin C, dietary fiber, precursor of vitamin A and many other useful nutrients in the interior fleshy part of the fruit.    

Care guide

The care of Peruvian Apple cactus is quite easy and simple. However, through maintaining the following conditions, you can have an ideal cactus growth. 


Six to eight hours of direct sunlight is considered as ideal for an Apple cactus. However, if it is in a growing stage, then place it in bright indirect light. 

If this cactus is a part of your room decorations, then place it near the window. Warm and sunny conditions ensure the healthy growth of your cactus.

Make sure to balance the light, as less sunlight can stretch your cactus and too much direct sunlight can scorch the soft tissues. 

Temperature & Humidity

Apple cactus can bear high temperatures but avoid both the cold and hot extremes. For indoor cacti, the preferable temperature is between 18° to 24° C. Here, the cactus requires humidity around 40-60 %.

However, in outdoor cultivation, it can grow between -6° and 4° C. Low humidity is required in lower temperatures to avoid fungal diseases.   


The succulent nature helps them withstand the long periods of drought. You only need to water once in three weeks in the spring and summer. While in dormant period, water them once a month. 

Try to keep soil most of the time to avoid root rotting in the cactus. 


As the cactus are plants of deserts, you will need to maintain special soil conditions. For making a well-draining soil at home, mix potting soil, perlite, coarse sand, peat, and compost in equal amounts. Make sure, its pH is between 6.0 and 7.0. 


You don’t need to fertilize this cactus frequently. Feeding the cactus once a year is more than enough. Overfertilization can prove harmful for your cactus. 

Moreover, if you add a little fertilizer during making the soil mixture, it will speed up the growth.

The balanced fertilizer for a Peruvian apple cactus is NPK fertilizer with 5-10-5 ratio.   


peruvian apple cactus plant

If you are a Peruvian cactus lover and want to propagate by yourself. You will find three easy ways to grow new apple cactus plants. 

Take the seeds of the Peruvian cactus and sow them in the cactus soil mixture. Keep the soil moist but not enough to cause the waterlogging. This is a slow process but quite easy for the beginner in the cactus world. 

However, you can use fresh stem cuttings to produce a new Apple cactus. Cut the offset at 45 degrees and let it make a callus. Now, plant the cutting in the porous soil mixture. Now, maintain proper humidity and temperature above 25° C. 

Sometimes, you can use small pulps from the base of the cactus to grow new cactus plants. Treat them the same as the stem cuttings.  

Harvesting and Storing 

In these plants, the pollination happens through the moths and bats. For fast pollination, they may need hand pollination. 

The formation of fruit begins in late fall and continues till early winter. Wear gloves to pluck the fruits. These fruits remain fresh at room temperature but to store them for longer periods keep them in the freezer. 

Growing Problems 

peruvian apple cactus fruit

Here are a few problems that you will face during the growth of Apple cactus. 

Root rotting, a very common problem, is caused by inefficient drainage or over-watering. Moreover, the leaves can also turn yellow and brown due to extra moisture in the water. Therefore, you must maintain a proper gap between waterings. 

Leaves can wrinkle or shrink due to the under-watering. In the growing season, you should water the plant two or three times every month. While during the dormancy stage, watering once a month is enough. 

Direct sunlight can scorch the soft tissues of the cactus plant. Even sun burns can appear on the leaves due to prolonged exposure to sunlight. For such issues, place your cactus under the shade or in indirect sunlight. 

Sometimes, yellow, brown, or black spots appear on the leaves. This is actually the invasion of the fungus on your cactus. Proper ventilation, organic fertilizers, and small amounts of fungicides will protect your cactus from molds and fungus.

There are several insects and pests that attack the Apple cactus that include nematodes, spotted spider mites, fireflies, and aphids. Change the infected potting mix, use insecticide soaps, and quarantine the plants. Make sure any of these treatments don’t damage your plant. 

Peruvian Apple Cactus Price

Peruvian apple cactus costs between $24 to $74 depending upon the size of the cactus. You will find several online and physical cactus stores for buying Peruvian apple cactus. Make sure to check the following things about the store before buying. 

  • Check the reviews
  • Rating of the cactus
  • Verify price from several stores

Here you have it

A comprehensive guide about the Peruvian apple cactus. 

Have you made up your mind to buy it? 

Which thing do you like the most about this cactus? 

Let me know your opinions about this cactus in the comments section!

Frequently Asked Questions

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top