Cactus Care


PRO TIP: Withhold water from the plant for about four weeks in January or February to encourage new growth in the warmer seasons.

Native to South America, the Cereus Cactus (cereus peruvianas) appreciates a warm, dry environment with minimal water, and plenty of light. This desert beauty will thrive in high light conditions, so placing it in a window where it will receive direct sunlight is ideal. Southern and Western facing windows are typically the brightest. This plant will not tolerate low light conditions.

We also have a guide for how to measure light in your space.


Cereus Cactus Close Up

The name for this cactus is derived from Greek and Latin words meaning “wax” and “torch”.

Routine Maintenance

PRO TIP: If the base of your plant is becoming overly black or soft, it may be experiencing root rot. Let the plant completely dry out and then repot the plant, removing any mushy roots, in new, dry soil.

Always be sure to assess your plants watering needs upon receiving it. Before giving your plant a drink, it is best to check the moisture level in the soil first. Cereus Cacti like to dry out completely between waterings. The most common mistake made with these plants is overwatering. You won’t need to water your cactus more than once every 10 days (at most) during the growing season, and make sure that you are letting the soil thoroughly dry before giving your plant water. Cereus cacti are susceptible to root rot, so it’s very important that you do not water the plant if you detect any moisture in the soil. During the winter months, watering frequency should decrease, sometimes to as little as once a month. Also please note that Cereus Cacti are susceptible to scale, an indoor houseplant pest. It is very easy to treat, however it’s best to inspect your plant regularly to ensure you catch it in the early stages.

For regular upkeep, dust the stalks regularly so the plant can photosynthesize properly. When dusting, take the opportunity to inspect the crevices and keep an eye out for pests. Using fertilizer spring through fall will enhance your plants foliage and promote new growth.

Remember each plant is a unique living thing and may have varying needs, especially in their individual locations. Pay attention to the condition of your Cereus Cactus and its watering needs and you will have a long and happy relationship.

Standard Planter Instructions

There are two types of standard planters offered by Greenery NYC—those with drainage holes, and those without. Within those two categories are an array of sizes and styles to choose from. All these factors play a role in the quantity and frequency of water given to your plant.

Plants purchased in a pot without a drainage hole, have been set up with a built in drainage system. A layer of hydro stones (porous, absorbent material made of recycled glass) has been placed beneath the soil to act as a reservoir and retain any excess water that flows through the soil. You will need to be slightly more cautious not to pour too much water into these containers as there is no way for the water to escape. We suggest pouring small amounts of water in bit by bit, until you have reached the desired moisture level in the soil.

For plants with a drainage hole, water until it begins to come out the bottom of the pot and into the catch tray.

Always be sure to assess your plants watering needs upon receiving it. Refer to the routine maintenance section for moisture requirements. Cereus Cacti prefer to NOT be watered directly after transplant, so consider administering the initial watering one week after receiving your plant. 

Self Watering Container Instructions

The self-watering planters require a good, solid watering of the topsoil after they are first placed. This is important, because the roots of the plants need to grow into the reservoir in order to drink from it. Follow the standard planter instructions for the first four weeks until the reservoir is ready to be tested.

TEST: After four weeks, fill the reservoir until the red indicator reaches the MAX line. If the indicator goes down over the first few days, it means the plant is ready for reservoir servicing. If not, be sure to continue top watering for a few more weeks, until the plant starts drinking from the reservoir.

RESERVOIR SERVICING: Once the indicator goes down, do not refill the reservoir right away. Similar to how humans need a breath of air between gulps of water, almost all plants require a drying out period.  Ficus Audrey need to dry out between waterings only slightly, so once the reservoir is empty wait a few days before you refill. Always allow for the reservoir to empty all the way, and after the drying out period, be sure to fill it until the indicator reaches the MAX line.

From here on out, you should NEVER topwater the plant. If you water from the top, it can drown the plant. In the Self Watering Container, the top layer of soil will eventually become extremely dry and hard, and may even pull away from the edges of the pot. This is not a cause for concern, but simply because the plant is drinking directly from its roots in the water reservoir.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is it possible to under water my Cactus?

  • It is rare, but yes. Signs of under watering are typically brown edging or markings. They would be dry and brittle, as opposed to mushy and soft.

How can I tell if my Cactus is getting too much water?

  • Generally, a cactus will become less stable, droopy, and brown at the base if it is receiving too much water.

How do I know if my Cactus has scale?

  • Scale is a small, flat, round pest that attaches itself to the flesh of the plant and remains stationary. If you see small raised bumps on your cactus, that are easily removed with a paper towel or q- tip, it is likely scale. Good news is it is very easy to remove the pest and treat the plant! Begin by making a mixture of insecticidal soap, or neem oil and water. Follow the instructions for dilution on the bottle. Dip either a soft bristled toothbrush, a q-tip, or a paper towel in the mixture and remove the pests from the plant. Spray the mixture lightly on the plant and soil and let it rest. Repeat in seven day intervals until you no longer see the scale. Be sure to treat the plant in the evening as the insecticidal mixture can burn the plants flesh in direct sun.

How often should I fertilize my plant?

  • In general, house plants will thrive when they are fertilized spring through fall. Fertilize once a month with an organic houseplant fertilizer, following the package instructions for dilution and administration. Greenery NYC uses an organic potting mix with a slow release fertilizer in the soil so your plant will not need fertilizer within the first 6 months of receiving it.

How often does my plant need to be repotted?

  • We suggest repotting every 2 - 3 years. Cacti are slow growing, and they prefer to be somewhat pot bound so you can wait longer than you would with most houseplants. Be sure to choose a potting vessel 2”- 4” larger in diameter to allow for growth. Don’t choose a pot much larger than this as this could drown the plants roots. If you prefer to maintain the current size of your plant, repot into the same vessel, providing new soil and trimming away some roots and foliage. Repotting in the spring or summer is ideal.

Additional Care Guides