The Peanut Cactus, also known as the Echinopsis chamaecereus, is a small, spiny cactus native to Argentina. Experts debate on whether or not this is true, as wild specimens of this cactus are non-existent in their supposed natural habitat. But the official stance still remains that these cacti are natively from Argentina.
When grown indoors, this cactus will usually reach a height of about 6 inches. It has green, cylindrical stems that are covered in small spines. The flowers are orange with red tips and bloom in the spring or summer. These finger-like stems grow parallel to the ground in a trailing habit. The small white bristles they are covered in are soft to the touch. Handling is easier than other cacti, but you still need to be careful.
It is an easy-to-grow plant popular for its colorful blooms and unique appearance. In general, this cactus is a low-maintenance plant perfect for anyone who wants to add a little bit of color and interest to their home décor.
Peanut Cactus Main Characteristics
|Common Name||Peanut Cactus|
|Botanical Name||Echinopsis chamaecereus|
|Synonyms||Chamaecereus silvestrii,Lobivia silvestrii|
|USDA Hardiness Zones||10a to 11b|
|Mature Size||Height: up to 6 inches; Spread: up to 12 inches|
|Bloom Time||Spring, Summer|
|Propagation methods||by seeds, by offsets|
Peanut Cactus Care
The Peanut Cactus is a delightful little plant that makes a great addition to any indoor setting. With its distinctive shape and easy-care requirements, it is a popular choice for first-time and experienced plant owners.
Light and Location
Echinopsis chamaecereus prefers full sun but can also tolerate partial shade. If you are growing it indoors, place it near a sunny window. However, depending on the severity of the sunlight, moving it somewhere slightly shady might be a good idea.
The Peanut Cactus is a pretty drought-tolerant plant. However, it is still important to provide it with enough water during the growing season. Water the plant deeply but infrequently, and allow the soil to dry out completely between watering. Then, during the winter months, reduce watering even further.
The ideal temperature range for this cactus is between 50 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit. It can tolerate lower temperatures, but it will start to suffer if the temperature consistently falls below 35 degrees Fahrenheit.
Echinopsis chamaecereus does not like humid conditions. If you’re thinking about placing this cactus in your bathroom, you might consider moving it to a drier location. This cactus might look pretty next to leafy houseplants but remember that their care needs often differ, so pick a spot accordingly.
The Peanut Cactus does not need a lot of fertilizer. In fact, too much fertilizer can actually be harmful to the plant. If you do decide to fertilize, use a diluted solution of cactus fertilizer and apply it a couple of times during the growing season.
Propagating Peanut Cactus
Echinopsis chamaecereus can be propagated by offsets or seeds.
To propagate by offsets, carefully twist or cut a small offset from the mother plant. These plants produce offsets by the bucketload, so you won’t have any problems finding one.
- Allow the offset to callous over for a few days before potting it up in well-draining cactus soil.
- Provide bright, indirect light and keep the soil slightly moist until new growth appears.
- New roots should form in a couple of weeks.
To propagate by seeds:
- Sow the seeds in well-draining cactus soil.
- Keep the soil moist but not wet, and provide bright indirect light. The seeds should germinate within a few weeks.
- Once they have sprouted, transplant them into individual pots.
Potting and Repotting Peanut Cactus
Pick a clay pot for its fast-drainage capabilities. If you’re opting for a hanging basket, you can choose one that’s aesthetically pleasing but ensure that it has drainage holes for the water to seep out from. Like most other cacti, the standard cactus mix is the way to go. If you’re confident, you can choose to mix your own (it’s not hard). If not, go with the store-bought stuff.
This cactus does not need to be repotted often. These plants are slow growers, and filling a container can take some years. Only repot when the roots start to crowd the pot, which you can check after two or three years. Use a well-draining cactus soil and a pot with drainage holes.
The Peanut Cactus is relatively resistant to pests and diseases. However, mealybugs can be a problem. These insects are attracted to stressed or unhealthy plants, so keeping your cactus healthy is the best way to prevent an infestation. If they do happen to infest your plant, don’t hose down the plant as it’s not built to handle that sort of pressure. Instead, use standard pesticides, and you will manage to get rid of the problem.
Tips For Growing And Caring For A Peanut Cactus (Echinopsis Chamaecereus) (Video)
How To Care For A Peanut Cactus?
The Peanut Cactus is a pretty drought-tolerant plant. However, it is still vital to provide enough water during the growing season. Keep temperatures between 50-80 degrees Fahrenheit, provide bright indirect light, and use well-draining cactus soil. Fertilize a couple of times during the growing season with a diluted solution of cactus fertilizer.
How To Propagate Peanut Cactus?
Echinopsis chamaecereus can be propagated by offsets or seeds. Each plant will produce plenty of offsets during its lifetime, and all you have to do is separate them from the parent plant and replant them in a fresh potting medium. Similarly, propagation by seeds is also easy. Simply sow them in a pot, provide high humidity and bright, indirect light, and seeds should germinate in a few weeks.
How To Get Peanut Cactus To Bloom?
The Peanut Cactus blooms in spring or early summer. Orange and red flowers appear at the tips of the stems. Keep the plant in slightly cool conditions before the flowering period arrives to encourage blooming.
Where are Peanut Cactus Native?
Echinopsis chamaecereus is native to Argentina. However, wild specimens were never found in the area it is listed to be endemic to. This has caused some confusion regarding the origin of this cactus, and results still remain inconclusive.