Are you passionate about gardening and interested in cacti plants? You should certainly look out for the peanut cactus as a potential choice for your indoor garden. The plant has its scientific name Echinopsis chamaecereus and is a perfect choice for small space plantations.
Since the peanut cactus is a low-growing succulent, you can easily get it planted in a container and with proper care, you are sure to have the peanut cactus bloom.
The succulent is native to the lands of Argentina and has been a favorite among the category of household plants for a very long time.
Slivestrii, also known as the peanut cactus, is also a very famous breed from the house of Caryophyllales but this succulent and the peanut cactus cannot be confused as it is a different species having the scientific name Echinopsis silvestrii.
There is also some hybrid cactus similar to peanut cactus like the Lobivia plant which is basically a hybrid grafted using the peanut cactus cutting.
I know you are quite curious about your query, but before that let us quickly have a look into the insights regarding the Echinopsis chamaecereus plant.
Identifying the Peanut Cactus
The Echinopsis chamaecereus, as already mentioned is a perfect choice for gardening in small spaces. They are cute-looking plants that do not tend to spread to a greater extent. The peanut cactus has stems that form dense clusters.
The stems grow up to 6 inches having around 2/3 inches of girth with a greenish color, however, in some cases, you may find out yellow shades too.
You would also be able to see about 10 ribs in the stems bearing short thorns measuring around 1/8 inches with a whitish tinge on them. The thorns are quite softer than usual ones, giving you the comfort of having children around.
The stems are somewhat of the size of an unshelled peanut for which the cactus has been named so. The most interesting fact about this plant is that you can easily propagate it as the stems get detached easily.
Peanut Cactus Care
Since you now know how to identify the succulent, you must be wondering how to take care of a peanut cactus. Definitely, a point to think about since proper care is the key to the beautiful peanut cactus flowers.
A very important part of peanut cactus care is peanut cactus pruning. The dried-up and unnecessary branching of the cactus needs to be pruned from time to time.
Let us now quickly learn about the various ways in which we can care for the Echinopsis chamaecereus plant.
Temperature & Light Requirements
You can choose to keep the succulent in normal room temperatures while it is growing actively. However, during the other phases, you can still keep it in temperature conditions prevailing up to 45°F.
The peanut cactus unlike other cactus breeds prefers to stay in direct sun rays. Therefore, if you are keeping it inside your home, try placing it in the windowpane which receives the maximum sunlight.
If you keep it in dim light, the shoot of the plant will try to expand itself to reach out to the available light, thus, resulting in over-elongated branches.
For your cacti, a minimum of 4-6 hours of sun exposure is vital in terms of its growth. But you must also remember to gradually expose your cacti to the sunrays and not suddenly which may burn its tender tissues.
The Echinopsis chamaecereus plant grows best in sandy soil because of its well-draining properties. The succulent requires this kind of soil to enable the water to flow easily between layers, and therefore such kind of soil is the best.
Also, the cactus has a shallow root system and therefore needs to be able to make way downwards while growing.
You can use a mixture of peat moss and loamy soil in a 1:1 proportion for your cactus as this is a highly recommended potting mix by many experienced gardeners.
For better results, gardeners also choose to add compost to their potting mixture. You may also choose to add some fertilizers but your plant can do well without one even.
Although as already mentioned, it is not necessary to feed your peanut cactus with fertilizers if you still want to add to its growth, you can choose some good-quality liquid fertilizers.
A good-quality fertilizer would be one that has low nitrogenous content with high proportions of phosphorous & potassium.
You can feed your peanut cactus with the liquid fertilizer once a month by diluting its strength to half by adding sufficient amounts of water to it. Adding fertilizers to the soil will also help prevent root rotting with its ability to nourish the plant.
No gardening expert will ever advise you to water your cactus plants regularly. Moderate watering can bring wonders for your Echinopsis chamaecereu. Are you now wondering when to water a peanut cactus?
Well, you can choose to water your cactus plant once every 15-20 days a month.
The only thing that you need to remember is not to allow the top level of the soil mixture to dry out.
During the winter season, the plant passes through a dormant period and you are advised not to water the succulent unless you observe cracks in the soil due to drying up.
Remember, you should not indulge in overwatering your cactus plant as that can surely kill the plant.
Diseases & Pests
The peanut cactus is highly active with its senses and gives out severe reactions on interaction with mealybugs or other insects of such kind. Also, your cactus may be affected by spider mites and other scale insects.
To treat this kind of insect you can use oils made from the Neem plant and if you find the insects have affected the roots, you need to clean the roots by applying fresh water. Once they are clean, allow the roots to dry, and you need to re-plant them in the soil.
Prepare a pesticide solution and pour it into the newly made soil and also spray it on the body of the cactus.
The peanut cactus rot is a common issue that can be observed in these cacti plants. The roots of the plant start rotting due to fungal infections resulting in the peanut cactus turning red and having marks on the stems.
If you happen to witness such a thing you need to quickly cut out the affected part of the plant or it is sure to suffer from a root-bound condition. This kind of thing happens due to over-watering or poor water circulation in the soil.
Get your watering routine checked and also try to shift your cactus to a more porous soil.
On the contrary, if you find your peanut cactus drooping, it is surely because of under-watering. Water your plant adequately now.
Which place is best to plant the cacti?
The peanut cactus is proven to be very hardy to extremely cold temperatures and can survive even if placed outside during the winter season. Therefore, you can well choose to place it in your outdoor garden.
If you are planting it outside, I would recommend you to place it in rocky soil which has proven to be the best spot for growth for such succulents. You can choose a cluster of rocks to get planted. Once the plant grows you might witness yellow peanut cactus flowers.
If you are placing it indoors, you can choose to place it near a bright spot in the house and in any container you can arrange. The bright spot may be the windowpane on the Eastern side of your side which gets most of the sunlight.
Potting & Re-potting
As you already know, the Echinopsis chamaecereu has a shallow root system, so it will be better if you can keep it in a spacious container to allow its root to run deep. If you don’t have a big container, no worries, the plant can effectively grow in a small space even.
A container having a depth of at least 6-8 cm can be considered a good choice. You can also use hanging pots if you are into fancy gardening practices.
Re-potting peanut cactus is one of the most important practices while growing your cactus. You need to re-pot it at least once every 2-3 years.
Obviously, your growing plant would grow in size and width over that much time and as you need to replace your old clothes with newer and bigger ones, they too demand a bigger habitat.
To re-pot your succulent, you need to simply lift your plant using a shovel and then place it in a different container. Now, remove the existing soil and replace it with a new soil mixture, rich in its nutritional contents.
Now, replant your cactus and start watering after a minimum of 1 week of time.
Peanut Cactus propagation
Usually, the propagation of a cactus is done from its cutting. The case is no different for the Echinopsis chamaecereu. As the first step to the peanut cactus propagation, a healthy part of the plant is successfully removed, generally from the main stem, and then it is kept aside to dry and form a callus.
After this, the peanut cactus cutting is placed horizontally in a well-prepared potting mixture and is fixed firmly by adding some more soil to the base. The container should be spacious enough to allow the roots to spread.
After 2 weeks, start watering by following a strict watering routine. Soon you will observe the plant growing and if you are lucky you might see new flowers by the upcoming summer season.
Flowering Peanut Cactus
Generally, a peanut cactus flower can be observed during the spring season. The flowers are blood red or reddish-orange in color and around an inch in girth.
The flowers entirely open up usually during the day and during the night, you will find them in a closed shape. You might have a question like – how long does the peanut cactus bloom? Unluckily, you will only be able to witness the blooms for a week after which it shreds off.
A very common question that gardeners or hobbyists often have is how to get the peanut cactus to bloom successfully? To produce elegant blooms, you need to take special care of your cactus, especially during the growth phase.
If you have planted it outdoors, you must bring it inside your house during winters when the temperatures fall beyond the freezing point. Keep it in a lighted place during this phase and only water if the soil is very dry.
Once, the winters are over you can choose to move it to a brighter spot or use artificial grow lights.
While introducing it back to the sunlight and heat do not directly let it in the scorching heat, this may kill the plant. Allow it to adjust, therefore exposing gradually.
Be very cautious while the budding phase arrives, just before this phase, move it once again inside your house. Once you see the flowers appearing, try to prevent temperature irregularities. After the flowers shred off, move it back to the place where it was in the outdoor garden.
Toxicity to pets
As I have already mentioned, the peanut cactus is not a danger for children in your house as the spines are quite soft in nature. But having a pet around, especially a cat might make you wonder; is peanut cactus toxic to cats? Well, absolutely not.
However, if your pet eats up parts of the plant, it might suffer a bit of indigestion or nausea which is completely natural and not out of toxicity. It is still recommended for all gardeners to use pet repellent sprays while planting indoors.
Here are 10 plant toxic for cats and pets.
Absolutely a wonder houseplant, the peanut cactus is a dearly loved floral buddy for indoor gardeners. You can choose among the various types of peanut cactus available in the market, hybrid though but are wonderful to look at when they flower.
If you are looking to buy the cactus online, you would get plenty of online sites offering peanut cactus for sale. You can also choose to buy seeds and grow peanut cactus from seeds and proper nurturing will make wonders, gifting you bright and elegant blooms.
Coming to the query that you had regarding the color of the peanut cactus flower, you have no reason to worry as that is what the natural color of the cactus bloom looks like.
Wish you a happy plantation!