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Echinopsis chamaecereus "Peanut Cactus"

Other Names

Chamaecereus sylvestrii*
Cereus silvestrii
Lobivia silvestrii

*this name is still commonly used

Where It grows

Tucumán, Argentina

Growth Habit

Echinopsis chamaecereus is a small clumping cactus, about 4 inches (10 cm) high. If the stems become longer than this, they tend to lay down on the ground or hang from the pot - grown in more shade than it prefers Peanut Cactus will sprawl and hang quite nicely over the edges of a pot. It branches from the lower parts of the stems and will form a nice sized clump in time. The flowers are generally red, but orange, yellow and white flowered forms are also sometimes available.

How To Grow Peanut Cactus

GENERAL CARE: Peanut Cactus is a great plant for the beginner. It is a hardy cactus, having survived down to 20F without damage. Peanut Cactus also takes the heat well, as long as you keep it out of the direct sun in the summer. It does most of its growing in the summer and fall and this is the time that it likes to be watered. Let it dry out between waterings. In the peak of summer this may only take a few days and it doesn't seem to mind being watered that much. however, you might want to hold back for a week, just to be on the safe side. During the winter, it appreciates a little water, especially if it has been dry. Our winter/spring rainfall (about 6 inches here in Bakersfield) is usually enough.

POT CULTURE: Peanut Cactus is an excellent choice for growing in a pot. You should have little trouble getting it to flower. Keep it out of the full sun in the summer. Indoor culture works in a bright spot . If you want good flowers indoors, try to give it a cool period during the winter (place it outdoors). Because of its small size it is also good for succulent dish gardens.

LANDSCAPE CULTURE: A rock garden may be the best spot for this small cactus if you want to plant it in the ground. Because of its small size it has a tendency to be hidden in a larger garden. Also, as it does not like to be in the full sun that means that it may be rendered even more inconspicuous by whatever is providing the shade. If you place a cluster of rocks and plant the Peanut Cactus among them it should do well. Though it may remain unseen for many months your attention will be caught by the bright flowers in the spring.

FLOWERS: Peanut Cactus flowers throughout the spring. A cold winter rest is said to be needed in order for it to bloom well. Larger rooted branches can bloom their first year.

PROPAGATION: Segments of Peanut Cactus are easily rooted (even small ones). Segments that are touching the ground may have already rooted and can be potted up right away. Cuttings can also be made and root well. Please see the section on ASEXUAL PROPAGATION for more detailed information. I have never tried raising Peanut Cactus from seed. Peanut Cactus (at least mine) do not self pollinate so seed must be obtained by crossing yours with another variety or perhaps even another species of Echinopsis. Please see the section on SEXUAL PROPAGATION for more detailed information.

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