If you are more of cacti than plants with leaves, surely you have some specimens that you are proud of. One of those cacti that you can have and that, due to its characteristics, is one of those is the Echinopsis chamaecereus.
Also known as peanut cactus, we are talking about one that is small but intense in size, and with very curious flowers. Do you want to know more about him?
How is the Echinopsis chamaecereus
As we told you before, the Echinopsis chamaecereus is also known (much better) as the peanut cactus. However, on the Internet you can find it with other scientific names such as Chamaecereus silvestrii, Cereus silvestrii or Lobivia silvestrii.
This cactus, made up of several bodies, does not grow more than 15 centimeters tall.. In total, it forms very compact bushes where, in this case, it expands up to 50 centimeters wide. It is native to Argentina and its natural habitat is characterized by being a very mountainous area (it is born at more than 1200m).
What makes it more special and striking are its buds, which become finger-shaped (at first they are like peanuts, but as it grows they get longer). In fact, it is said that this cactus was born from a self-incompatible clone. The color of these stems is green, although they will have many thorns that will make it appear white. All these stems will be segmented by between 8 and 10 narrow ribs.
In addition to those buds, Another of the elements that attracts the most attention are its flowers. These come out in the spring and, with some luck, also when the summer ends. And that you know that they are an intense emerald red color (the original ones, now you can also find them in orange and yellow). If it is going to flower, don’t miss it because it will only last one day (although it will flower for 2-3 weeks). As for the size, look at about 2.5 cm wide.
Care of the Echinopsis chamaecereus
Now that you know more about the Echinopsis chamaecereus, how about you get one? If you already have it, or are thinking of acquiring one, here we are going to leave you the most important care. This way you can consult them to know if you are giving it what it needs or, if you do not have it, if you are prepared for this issue.
location and temperature
The best location for cacti is outdoors. But in this case, this cactus can tolerate being indoors as long as it is kept in a very bright area (although without direct sun).
Thus, if you place it outside, let it be in a partially shaded area if you live in a warm area; or direct sun if the weather is cold. In case of interior, it is best that you always have it where more light enters it. And when it is adapted you could even make it get direct sun for a few hours in the morning or in the afternoon.
You will notice if it receives enough light on its stems. And it is that when the shoots are very thin and elongated, it is warning you that it needs much more light.
As for the temperature, ideally it should not drop below -7ºC in winter. And it is that, although it can tolerate the heat, and also the cold, when it falls below that temperature it can deteriorate.
The Echinopsis chamaecereus can be kept both in the garden and in a pot. And in both cases it is recommended that the soil you use is a mixture of universal substrate (or cactus soil), peat and perlite or sand.
This cactus does not have a very deep root, so a very deep pot is not needed. What is needed is that it be wide. Therefore, a planter could be a better option.
The transplant of this cactus can be more common because it is easy for it to fill the entire diameter of the pot in one year. Therefore, you will have to be aware of its growth to change it to another larger pot or planter (wide, not deep).
The irrigation of the Echinopsis chamaecereus will depend on the season of the year in which you are. In general, in spring and summer it is done every 15 days, waiting between watering and watering for the soil to be very dry (it doesn’t like extra water at all).
From autumn you have to lengthen the risks so that, in the end, in winter, it does not water. It is preferable that so that it passes the frost and cold without rotting than watering it every so often and that this can be counterproductive for the plant.
With regard to humidity, although cacti do not need it, this one in particular does appreciate having a bit of high humidity.
Cacti do not need fertilizer. But with this one in particular, due to the fact that it is very fast growing, we do recommend that you throw it out.
You will only have to apply a mineral fertilizer that is slow release at the beginning of spring, and forget about more until the following year.
Plagues and diseases
At this point you should be careful with the cottony mealybug, the moisture and also the red spider. In all of them, the first thing you will have to do is eliminate the plague that you see visible. But, in addition, you will have to take it out of the pot, remove all the soil and wash the roots with alcohol and water to disinfect it.
Then, you must control the humidity (so that the red spider does not appear) and spray neem oil or similar to avoid other pests.
Although Echinopsis chamaecereus flowers, did you know that it does not give seeds? Therefore, this technique is totally ruled out. The only way to propagate this cactus is through cuttings.
And this is as simple as cutting a branch from the main stem and putting it in a pot. (Leave 1-2 days to dry for the wound to heal). In a few weeks it should be able to show signs that it has established roots and will start to sprout.
Know that Echinopsis chamaecereus is easy to find in nurseries and plant stores. Also, it is not expensive, and you can get one for your collection. You already have it?