Nyctocereus

Nyctocereus serpentinus is best trained up a slick in cultivation, although in its natural slate in Mexico it sprawls everywhere over houses and walls. The upright stems of cultivated specimens are produced from a clump and can grow up to 9 ft (3 m) or more in length. They are an inch (2-5 cm) or so in diameter and light green in colour, surrounded by ten to thirteen low ribs densely covered by the areoles which bear about twelve spines, dark brown at the tips and becoming whiter towards the base. There is a certain amount of felt in the areole and also some wool. It is fairly free flowering for a cereus and blooms may be found on plants of six years of age or more. As with many of Ihe clambering plants it will benefit from being planted out, particularly if a spot can be found against a south-facing conservatory or greenhouse wall. During the summer it is tolerant of fairly intensive heat which is probably a factor in encouraging it to flower. If grown in a pol it is a good idea to stand il up on a greenhouse shelf if this is available in the winter as it continues to appreciate all the light it can get. If plants are being grown in Ihe home then it is better to grow them during the winter on a south-facing windowsill rather than on the north-facing one recommended for most other varieties of cactus during the resting period.

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