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Description

The Apple cactus, also known as the Peruvian apple, is a large and bold cactus that develops numerous upright stems 10-12 ft. tall and taller. These stems are pale green, have 5-9 ribs with a few sharp spines. Large tubular flowers with white petals grow 5-7 in. long occur more than one from spring through summer. These flowers open during the night; round orange-red fruit grow to 2 in. in size and are highly edible.

In Inland Empire landscapes and gardens, the Apple cactus becomes a massive plant with bold silhouette character that makes it an effective specimen plant for large spaces. It is easily suited to Southwestern and Mediterranean style gardens where it is adapted to full sun and little summer water after it becomes established. It can be grown in containers and kept to smaller sizes, as well as planted among boulders, on slopes and in succulent gardens. Good drainage and avoiding prolonged soil moisture is the key to good health and growth.

Water Needs

Apple cactus is well adapted to all parts of the Inland Empire in sunny exposures with normal winter rains and low amounts of summer irrigation. The chart shown below provides a recommended baseline guide to the monthly irrigation schedule and volume of supplemental water needed to maintain healthy growth throughout the average year. It should be noted there are several months indicated by an asterisk (*) when winter rains often provide sufficient moisture and irrigation is not needed. The high and low range of moisture indicates Apple cactus can grow with varying amounts of water, however, established plants need little or no supplemental water during summer.

Irrigation Schedule and Graph

Low Water Use Plants

Irrigation Schedule 1

  Jan* Feb* Mar* Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov* Dec*
Runs per Month 0x to 2x 0x to 2x 0x to 2x 1x 1x 1x 1x 1x 1x 1x 0x to 2x 0x to 2x
Inches per Run 1" 1" 1" 1" 1" 1" 1" 1" 1" 1" 1" 1"
 
Inches per Month 0" to 2" 0" to 2" 0" to 2" 1" 1" 1" 1" 1" 1" 1" 0" to 2" 0" to 2"

Range of supplemental summer water: 7"
Range of supplemental winter water: 0"-10"

 
0"-2"
0"-2"
0"-2"
1"
1"
1"
1"
1"
1"
1"
0"-2"
0"-2"
  Jan* Feb* Mar* Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov* Dec*
For more information on how to use this Irrigation Schedule and Graph, click here.

Plant Properties

Plant Type: Cacti
Foliage Character: Evergreen
Habit: Upright, Robust, Rigid, Multi-trunk, Clumping
Growth Rate: Moderate, Fast
Height: 10 ft. - 12 ft.
Width: 6 ft. - 12 ft.
Water Needs: Low 1
Foliage Color: Pale green
Flower Color: White
Flower Season: Summer, Spring
Soil Adaptations: Well-draining soil
Exposure Adaptations: Heat, Drought, Aridity, All day sun
Function: Specimen, Rock gardens, Foliage accent plant, Flowering accent plant, Culinary use, Background plant

Maintenance

Usually requires no pruning. Prune only if cuttings are needed of if stems are in the way of pathways, other plants, etc. (D).

References

Associations

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