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A complete care guide for keeping your rare spiral cactus happy

As we plant lovers get more and more into plants, it can be fun to start looking into the rare varieties of the plants we love. There are rare plants in every subsection of plants, and cacti are no exception. You might have heard of the rare spiral cactus; before you invest in this plant, we suggest getting to know what the plant needs. This way, you’ll be prepared to give it exactly what it needs to live a long and happy life.

Cereus forbesii

What is the spiral cactus?

The spiral cactus, or Cereus forbesii, is native to Peru and for a long time was so rare that only wealthy plant enthusiasts who could afford to fund biologists had the pleasure of owning this unique and beautiful plant. Now it’s becoming more popular, but it’s still more challenging to find than other, less rare cacti.

When full-grown, the spiral cactus can reach heights of 6 to 13 feet tall and be 4 to 5 inches in diameter. Contrary to what people believe, not all cacti are slow growers; the spiral cactus is one of the fastest-growing cacti, so you’ll be rewarded quickly for giving this plant the proper care and attention.

The plant has a blueish-green color and feels waxy to the touch. They are heavy bloomers, and the flowers they produce are show-stoppingly beautiful. If you’re lucky enough to experience these blooms, you can pollinate them to produce a large, non-poisonous purple fruit. We can’t promise it will taste good if you decide to try a bite, but it’s non-toxic if a child or pet chooses to give it a try. Just be careful of the extremely sharp spines.

Care tips for a spiral cactus

Since this plant is rarer, you’ll have a harder time finding them and you’ll have to invest more money into obtaining one. This means if it dies, you’ll have a more challenging time replacing it, and your wallet won’t be too happy with you either. So here is a complete guide to caring for this twisty cacti.


The Cereus forbesii is a cactus that likes to be watered regularly during the growing seasons of spring and summer, but you should water it less frequently during the fall and winter. Cooler temperatures tend to increase the risk of root rot. As always with cacti, you should allow the soil to dry out completely before watering again. To avoid overwatering, we always recommend investing in a moisture meter to measure the amount of water left in the soil accurately.

When it’s time to water your cactus, remove it from its tray and soak the soil with water, then let all the water drain out of the bottom and put it back in its tray. If you later find water sitting in the tray, take a towel and dry it up. You don’t want the cactus to sit in any water at all.


Younger plants need some shade as they grow and mature but will still need up to four hours of direct sunlight. As the plant grows and matures, it will require full sun all day long. You’ll know if your young Cereus forbesii is getting too much sun if you notice pale spots on its waxy skin. If you see these spots, move the cactus to a shadier location or add a sheer curtain to the window.


The spiral cactus is a heavier feeder than their cactus cousins; they prefer to be fed with a balanced fertilizer twice a month during the spring and summer months. Once fall and winter roll around, be sure to stop feedings.


The average room temperature of homes is suitable for this plant, but do not let the temperature drop below 50 degrees Fahrenheit; this can cause damage to the plant that it might not recover from. Additionally, avoid placing this plant next to a vent where temperatures fluctuate dramatically.


No part of this plant is toxic to cats, dogs, or humans. However, the spines on this cactus are very sharp and could break off in the skin to cause infections. So wear heavy-duty gloves when handling this plant and be sure it’s out of the reach of curious pets and kids.


Repot the spiral cactus every other year to freshen up the soil or when the plant has outgrown the pot. Since these cacti get tall, you’ll want to use a heavy pot to prevent the cactus from tipping over.

Cereus forbesii

Common issues

The Cereus forbesii is susceptible to mealybugs and scale. Unfortunately, the spiral grooves make perfect homes for these pests and they can be hard to detect before you have a full-blown infestation. To get rid of these nasty pests, use an insecticide soap and apply it to the plant according to the label instructions.

Cacti are a unique and fun plant to collect, and finding a rare beauty such as the spiral cactus will be a joy for any cactus lover. These plants are sure to brighten your home with lovely blooms that you can enjoy year-round. Just be sure not to overwater them and keep an eye out for those yucky pests.

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