Sunday, June 22, 2008

Cereus hildmannianus

This is my Cereus Hildmannianus... one of the about 2 dozen cactus species referred to as Queen of the Night, sometimes called Peruvian Apple. (I call it Hildy...)

It's not blooming right now, this is from last year... I'm probably not going to get any blooms from it this year...

I've had the plant for about 10 years, got it when it was less than a foot tall on a clearance table at one of the local nurseries. Since then, it grew to about 4 feet tall, and put out one branch (on the other side of the plant in this pic) and puts out a couple of dozen blooms a year, about 8 inches across and at night. It's not winter hardy here, being only capable of surviving occasional light frosts, so I bring it in every winter and let it go dormant. This carting back and forth is probably why I was resisting putting it in a larger pot... which I regret now, as it turned out to be so top heavy that the last wind-storm blew it over and broke it off.

Before this, it was doing fairly well... It had two more trunks coming up from the base of the plant, both about 3 inches tall now.

Fortunately, the break was just above the branch, so now it's a stump with a foot tall branch sticking out of the side, and a couple of other branches coming from the bottom... in about a year it may have put out more branches from the trunk, so it'll end up fine. As for the pieces broke off... I've cut the growing tip off and put it in a pot to root... and the rest of the trunk, about two feet, has been cut into two pieces and laid flat on the ground in one of the flower beds. I have it on good authority from an Internet search that it will throw roots into the ground, and then start sprouting growth all along the pieces... I'll get anywhere from six to a dozen new plants to break off and root individually... I'll probably end up putting them all into one really huge pot, with the mother trunk in the middle.

But all this trauma may have ruined my chances of seeing any of the 8-inch wide blooms glowing in the moonlight this year...

Tracing the origins of this plant has proved to be a challenge for botanist... It's probably native to South America. The problem is that the plant, which can attain heights of over 15 feet in the right climate, has been grown as an ornamental, as well as for it's edible fruit, for so long that there are no records of it's original native land.

We'll see how everything works out.


  1. I love your plan to plant all the new plantlets you get rooted around the mother plant...that will end up being an awesome sight, with them all in one pot together!!! Maybe I will still get to see it bloom one year!!!

  2. My daughter has a cereus about 5feet tall -It survived the four day freeze we had a couple years back. Love the flowers!

  3. It's probably hardier than I think then... but every reference I've seen says not above zone 9, and I just don't want to risk it here in zone 7.

  4. Anonymous11:09 AM

    . I have a cactus that was sprouted from a plant that is over 50 years old. Does this cactus come in red as well? Same leaves as the one shown.

  5. I love this cactus and have a few of them, they have a growth spurts that amazes me and I get a real buzz when they flower. I haven't had a lot of success with growing cuttings....any hints?

    1. Cuttings do best when the plant is actively growing... take a cutting or break off a branch that is about a foot long. Let it sit for 2 to 4 weeks then pot it up,it should show roots in another month. A branch that is cut at both ends, at least a foot long, but 2 or 3 feet is more common can be laid flat on the ground, maybe half buried. Any part touching the ground will sprout roots, any part exposed top the Sun will sprout stems.