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Family of cactaceae, tribe Cereus. Most of the representatives of this genus are about 33 species, native to South America. The name comes from the Greek word "κηρός" meaning "wax" or "torch". The genus of Cereus is one of the first species described by scientists botanists, it is mainly columnar plants, prone to branching at a very mature age in the upper part of the trunk. Many cereus are loved by cactusists for their beauty and unpretentiousness.
In nature, Cereus are shrubby or tree-like plants, often very tall, for example, Cereus hexagonus, Cereus lamprospermus, Cereus trigonodendron grow up to 15 m.All species are distinguished by pronounced ribbing, ribs at an acute angle, in an amount from 3 to 14, with large areoles with gray or white bristles. Cereus do not form cephalics (generative shoot, brightly colored formation of bristles and spines), only Cereus mortensenii forms pseudocephaly. Radial spines in representatives of the genus are from 3 to 20, they are rigid, straight 5-30 mm in length. Central spines from 1 to 8, subulate 3-10 cm long. The color of the spines is usually gray to brown, sometimes reddish or black. Cereus flowers are large, funnel-shaped, 10-30 cm long, usually white, sometimes pink, purple, less often cream, yellow, greenish,and open for the night. Fruits are globular, ovate or oblong, about 3-12 cm long, fleshy, glabrous, usually red or red-orange, with white, pink or red flesh. Seeds are large, ovate, curved, shiny, black.
Cereus Yamakaru Cereus jamacaru
Cereus Peruvian Cereus peruvianus
- Cereus Peruvian Cereus peruvianus - a columnar stem reaches half a meter in height at home, and in nature up to 3-5 m in height. Forms lateral shoots, but at an already mature age. The stem is bluish-green, with straight, high ribs, which range from 6 to 8. Areoles are rare, large, brownish-gray. Radial spines 4-6, they are gray-brown, acicular, up to 10 mm long. One central spine, about 2 cm long, brownish-red, rigid, acicular. The flowers are white, corolla with a tube 20 cm long and about 10 cm in diameter. Fruits are orange, spherical, 5-6 cm in diameter.
- Cereus yamakaru Cereus jamacaru is a large columnar cactus, similar to the previous species, but begins to branch at a young age. Stems are light green, have 7-10 ribs at the beginning even, sharp, deep, over time the ribs become slightly tuberous. Areoles are rare light brown. Radial spines 10-15, about 3-7 cm long. 3-5 central spines, up to 10 cm long. The radial and central spines are gray-brown and straight. Flowers are white or slightly greenish, tube up to 25 cm long, corolla about 10 cm in diameter. The fruits are red with white flesh.
Cereus yamakaru Cereus jamacaru f. monstrosa
Cereus Peruvian Cereus peruvianus f. monstruosus
In addition to columnar cereus, their rocky forms are common in culture. They are especially popular for their quirkiness and beauty. Rocky Cereus reproduce only vegetatively - by cuttings, and at home they almost never bloom. By the way, cereus is widely used as rootstocks for grafting other, more capricious cacti.
If you are just entering the amazing world of cacti, then you probably already encountered some difficulties in the taxonomy of this huge family. The word "Cereus" is heard by everyone who is engaged in breeding cacti, and you may have heard many names where it sounds, for example, Hageocereus Haageocereus, Cephalocereus Cephalocereus, Coleocephalocereus Coleocephalocereus or Weberocereus Weberocereus - but everywhere this ending is a completely different genus. But they belong to the Cereus subfamily in Latin Cereoideae K. Sch., Which, in turn, consists of several tribes and subtribes.
Temperature: normal room temperature during the growing season, but from June to August or September it is better to keep the cereus outdoors, for example, on a balcony. If it is glazed, then be sure to leave the windows ajar during the day so that the cacti do not suffocate in the heat. Ideally, Cereus need a daily temperature difference, the difference between day and night temperatures should be about 10 ° C. In winter, the rest period is at a temperature of 10-12 ° C, at least 8 ° C, with a dry content.
Cereus, like all other cacti, are in great need of fresh air, round-the-clock stay in the fresh air throughout the summer period, especially hardens and strengthens cacti, increases resistance to diseases and pests
Lighting: bright sunny both in winter and in summer. Cereus love a lot of light, but you need to gradually accustom them to the direct sun in spring and summer so that no burns remain. The best place for Cereus is the sill of the south, southeast or southwest window. Without a drop in temperature for the period from late October to February, cereus suffers greatly from a lack of light, even on the southern windowsill.
Watering: moderate during the growing season (spring and summer), decreases in autumn, and very rare in winter when kept cold. Moderate watering means the soil must remain completely dry for several days between waterings.
Fertilizer: from March to mid-summer, they are fed with a complex fertilizer for cacti, like any other cacti; cereus does not tolerate fertilizing with fertilizers with a high proportion of nitrogen - this leads to root rot and cracking of the stem.
Air humidity: Cereus are resistant to dry air, do not need to be sprayed.
Young plants are transplanted annually or every year, old ones after two to three years. We recall that cacti are never planted in clean land, only in a composite substrate, options:
- 1 part of sod land, 1 part of sheet, 1 part of fine gravel (coarse sand, fraction 2-3 mm), 1 part of brick chips (fraction 3-5 mm, sifted from dust)
- 1 part of Terra Vita universal soil (living earth), 1 part of fine gravel (coarse sand, fraction 2-3 mm), 1 part of brick chips (fraction 3-5 mm, sifted from dust)
- 1 part of Terra Vita universal soil (living earth) or 1 part of a mixture of turf and leaf land, 1 part of granular coal (in the form of sticks for air purifiers), 1 part of brick chips
- 1 part all-purpose soil (or a mixture of turf and leafy soil), 1 part zeolite cat litter Pussy-cat or Barsik (in an orange bag)
Note: Zeolite filler, or volcanic zeolite granules, pieces of clay that do not get wet look like sharp pebbles. Not everyone is suitable for growing cacti, only one that does not dissolve in water. Zeolite filler must be sieved from dust, leaving only a fraction of 2-4 mm thick. In addition, for each soil mixture, you can use the addition of charcoal (birch coal) in the amount of 10% of the total soil volume.
Always use bottom and top drainage when planting cacti. As the bottom drainage, you can use foam, expanded clay, pieces of wine cork. As the top drainage - small pebbles, you can use decorative or aquarium.
Reproduction of cereus
Cereus is propagated by seeds and cuttings. We recommend sowing seeds in a mixture of activated granular carbon (in the form of sticks, for an air cleaner, for example, for "Rodnichka"), fine gravel or sand (fraction 2-4 mm), taken in equal parts. To this mixture, add perlite (or vermiculite sifted from dust particles) about 1/5 of the volume. Perlite or vermiculite - retain moisture, which is not needed for adult cacti, but is appropriate for seedlings that should be grown in an evenly moist substrate, without overdrying and excess moisture.
Never use river sand for sowing or planting (transplanting) cacti, let alone construction sand - this sand is fine, after watering it compresses and cements the substrate. It is necessary to use river sand, sifting it through a sieve with a cell of 2 mm, use the one that is larger: from 2 to 4 mm.
The temperature of germination of cereus seeds is from 25 to 33 ° С. Be sure to cover the crops with foil and regularly ventilate, shaking off condensation. From the moment of germination, additional lighting with lamps is necessary, since natural light is usually not enough, even on a sunny window. Fluorescent or LED lamps can be located at a distance of 5 cm from the crops.
What to plant cactus seeds in is a multiple-choice question. If there are not many cacti, you can use cake jars, you can use plastic boxes with a transparent lid for small items (sold in hardware stores), ice cube trays and any other containers available, even non-cardboard egg boxes. Do not forget to sign containers with crops, indicating the date and number of crops. Keep a diary where, under each number, indicate a specific type of cactus, the date of sowing, seedlings, picks.
For more information about the features of various modes of maintenance, transplantation and reproduction, see the section Cacti.