Pereskia – Blooming Deciduous Cactus-Care

The status of the most ancient cacti among Peresky is disputed, but they are definitely the most original. Unusual bushes with real leaves and romantic flowering are difficult to mistake for relatives of familiar indoor cacti. Dangerous and beautiful thorns only emphasize how extravagant this plant is. Not the most undemanding to conditions, pereskii easily shed their legendary leaves. But they still remain easy-to-grow succulents, which will easily add variety to home collections.

Pereskia is a blooming deciduous cactus. Farmer Burea-Uinsurance.com Marina Khaytarova
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Description of the plant

Representatives of the Peresky genus are considered relict and perhaps the most ancient cacti – unusually bright flowering, dangerous thorns and graceful leaves. They are highlighted in a special subfamily Pereskiev (Pereskioideae) and are found naturally only in Latin America.

Pereskia are often used as rootstocks for other cactus species. In Brazil, you can enjoy their buds, leaves and a special delicacy – aromatic, unusual, delicious fruits known as the Barbados gooseberry and climbing lemon.

Pereskii, or Peyreskii (Pereskia) – original representatives of cacti. These shrubs and woody in nature can reach gigantic proportions and are able to survive in the harshest conditions by storing moisture in the stems. But outwardly, they are much closer to herbaceous plants – with deep roots and thin, branched, woody stems. In the axils of the leaves are hidden beautiful areoles with very large, sharp and hard spines – single or collected in bunches, silvery or dark brown.

The real leaves of the peres are lanceolate-oval, with a pointed tip, reminiscent of laurel leaves. With a length of up to 10 cm, they are shiny, leathery, with different shades of green in species and varieties. They fall off in uncomfortable conditions and during a dormant period, often fade.

Summer bloom reminds of rose hips and roses thanks to the tenderness of the petals and a lush hemisphere of bright stamens around a very large pistil. Flowers from 4 cm in diameter, single or collected in inflorescences, fragrant, with delicate cream or pink colors.

After flowering, edible, yellowish-reddening fruit cones up to 2 cm in diameter begin to develop. Some pereski, due to the originality of fruiting, can compete with prickly pears, forming whole clusters. After the fruit begins to ripen, the hidden areoles on it begin to swell and grow into new buds or side shoots, as if the fruit is branching at the top.

Pereskia grandiflora (Pereskia grandiflora)
Large-flowered pereskia (Pereskia grandiflora). Farmer Burea-Uinsurance.com Andre Benedito

Types of indoor peres

Pereskia orange (Pereskia bleo) – a plant with oval, large, matte leaves decorated with a wavy edge and flowers resembling red-orange roses, alternating with bright cones of inedible fruits.

Pereskia prickly (Pereskia aculeata) Is a curly species that forms very dense bushes with large lanceolate leaves and long spines. Rosehip-like, fragrant, wide-open, pale cream flowers with bright orange stamens cover the bush in bulk. There are many forms and varieties with reddish leaves.

Pereskia grandiflorum (Pereskia grandiflora) is prized for its pale pink, large flowers in bunches of inflorescences, accentuated by dark leaves and very long thorns.

Peresky Webber (Pereskia weberiana) Is a very beautiful densely branched species that is easily formed. Small bright oval leaves and abundant flowering with snow-white flowers seem strikingly romantic.

Peresky boasts the most outlandish fruits pereskia large-leaved (Pereskia grandifolia) with its clusters on fruits, consisting of ovaries and stems with intricately twisted purple flowers.

Pereskia aculeata
Pereskia prickly (Pereskia aculeata). Farmer Burea-Uinsurance.com Patricia Kearney
Large-leaved pereskia (Pereskia grandifolia)
Large-leaved pereskia (Pereskia grandifolia). Farmer Burea-Uinsurance.com
Pereskia Weberiana
Pereskia weberiana. Farmer Burea-Uinsurance.com Blossfeldia

Growing conditions for indoor peres

In order not to be disappointed in this unusual cactus, it is worth treating the selection of conditions with the utmost care. If you provide access to fresh air, her favorite warmth and bright lighting, there will be no problems with leaving.

Lighting and placement

Pereskii are among the most light-loving cacti, do not welcome artificial lighting and bloom only on sunny windowsills. You can even place them on the southern windows. Direct sun in summer often leaves burns on the leaves, but simply moving away from the glass or shifting into place next to the windowsill in the middle of summer will easily fix this problem. In partial shade, the bushes stretch out and do not bloom.

Maintaining the level of lighting for the winter, rearranging it to a bright window sill is one of the conditions that allows pereskiy not to lose all the leaves.

Read also our article 20 indoor cacti and succulents with strikingly beautiful blooms.

Temperature control and ventilation

The Pereskians love fresh air. Drafts are not dangerous (unless there is a sharp jump in temperature and the plant does not bloom). You need to ventilate the premises as often as possible. Whenever possible, it is better to place the pereski in the fresh air, choosing warm places protected from precipitation.

In summer, Pereski feel great warmth. When kept indoors, it is better to keep the temperature between 21 and 23 degrees. In the fresh air or with constant ventilation, the peres can endure any heat.

The ideal temperature for wintering peres is about 15 degrees Celsius. The temperature should not drop below 10 degrees. An increase in indicators to the usual room ones requires lighting control, frequent ventilation and impeccable maintenance.

Pereskia bleo
Orange pereskia (Pereskia bleo). Farmer Burea-Uinsurance.com Mokkie

Caring for ossification at home

Neat watering, rare dressing and attention – these are all the measures that pereskiy need to preserve their decorative effect.

Watering and air humidity

For pereskii, active watering is carried out only during the growth period, but it is better not to completely dry the substrate even in winter, because pereskii sheds leaves during drought. In the spring and summer, the soil is allowed to dry out in the upper third of the pot, immediately draining the excess from the pallets. For the winter, watering is reduced. Change the humidity gradually.

Despite the dislike for high humidity, it is better to include “refreshing” spraying with warm water in the care of the peres in order to maintain the decorative effect of the leaves. The higher the air temperature, the more often they need to be carried out, up to daily in summer. Dust is removed by washing the leaves, wiping destroys the protective coating.

Top dressing and composition of fertilizers

Fertilizers are applied for this cactus only in liquid form and only during the period of active growth. Enough 1 feeding per month with special fertilizers for succulents and cacti.

Trimming and shaping peresky

Even bonsai can be easily formed from peres. They perfectly tolerate pruning in spring and summer, provided that at least 1-2 internodes are left on the shoots.

Young pereski can be replanted several times a year.
Young pereskii can be replanted several times a year. Farmer Burea-Uinsurance.com Stefano

Transplant, containers and substrate

A very loose substrate with a pH of about 7,0 is needed for pereski. It is worth adding 40-50% of loosening additives to the usual soil mixture for cacti and succulents, which guarantee high air permeability of the soil (coarse sand, perlite, stone chips, gravel).

This cactus is transplanted only as needed – as soon as the roots fill the space of the pot. Young cacti can be replanted several times a year, adults often do not need to “touch” for several years.

For peresky, sufficiently deep containers are used, corresponding to an unusually powerful root system for cacti. A high drainage layer is required.

Pereskii do not tolerate contact with roots, they are carefully rolled over. Watering after transplanting should be extremely careful before the start of rapid growth.

Read also our article Discocactus – the most popular of the flowering cacti.

Diseases, pests and growing problems

Pereskii are one of the most sensitive to waterlogging cacti, which are extremely prone to rot. If there are any signs of damage to the stems, root collar or roots, conditions and care must be corrected immediately and treatment with fungicides begins. Emergency transplant is most often fatal.

Of the pests for peres, all insects that love dry conditions are terrible – spider mites, mealybugs and thrips. It is better to deal with them immediately with insecticides.

Blanching or shedding of foliage, stretching of shoots always indicate an excess or lack of light. Growth disturbances most often occur with irrigation disturbances.

At home, pereskia is more often propagated by stem cuttings.
At home, pereskia is more often propagated by stem cuttings. Farmer Burea-Uinsurance.com Sathwik Shasthri S

Reproduction peresky

It is very difficult to grow pereskia from seeds due to low germination and extreme sensitivity of seedlings to any increase in moisture. Sowing is carried out to a depth of 1 cm, in a very light soil. At temperatures up to 21 degrees, the plants are kept in light humidity under a hood. The dive is carried out very carefully in the phase of 4 leaves, but it is better to choose sowing immediately into individual containers.

At home, pereskia is more often propagated by stem cuttings. You can cut them in spring and summer, using pieces of stems with 1-2 internodes. It is easier to root cuttings in sandy soil under a hood, at temperatures from 25 degrees. When rooting in water, you need to very carefully plant the cuttings, trying not to come into contact with the roots.

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Anna Evans

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