The Q&A Archives: Pruning care - Cereus

Question: What is the best way to prune a night blooming cereus and when in order to keep it blooming, yet keep it from getting too leggy?

Answer: Growing long stems is the nature of your Cereus and pruning should be limited to side branches to keep the plant in proportion. If you cut a main branch it will scar and won't look attractive. If you cut side branches, expect two or more new branches to develop at the wound. The sidebranches you prune off can be allowed to air dry in the shade and then you can plant them. They will root readily in moist sand.

Night-blooming cereus (Cereus greggii) are fascinating members of the cacti family. Other common names include Arizona queen of the night and reina de la noche, which is Spanish for queen of the night. In nature, they usually grow under trees or shrubs, which help support their almost dead-looking, greyish stems. Stems also sprawl along the ground. Flowers bloom in June and July, open after dusk and wilt by morning. The aroma can carry 100 feet and attracts night-flying insects and moths. The cactus has underground tuberous roots that were once used as food by Native Americans.

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