Thursday, July 9, 2009

Peruvian Apple Cactus

Last July I wrote about our Peruvian Apple Cactus, and
it has become a fairly popular post on the Hummingbird Happiness Blog. Since the cactus is blooming again, I thought I'd do a little revisit;)

Definitely a member of our family, it was planted in the backyard (much too close to the fence;) about 30 years ago. A gift from my brother-in-law, it arrived as a section of trunk and roots, huge, heavy, and ancient. I couldn't give it's exact age, but my guess is that the original plant must be at least 70 years old.

For safety purposes, we've trimmed it back to the original trunk a number of times. The 'spires' are quite tall and very heavy, so we utilize a method of pruning using ropes, a ladder, and bow saw to take them down one by one. Timber!!!! Cuttings can be rooted, so they often become second generation cacti.

The flowers are lovely, but night-blooming, so early morning is the best time to enjoy them. Notice (in the photo above) the complete flowering cycle of a bloom. There are the small buds, one ready to open, the open flower, and the beginning of the cactus fruit, or pitaya, where a spent bloom has fallen, leaving a dangling string behind.