Will a Peruvian Apple Cactus Grow in Zone 8

A Peruvian Apple cactus is a sight for sore eyes and an excellent house plant that bears you delicious edible fruit without asking for much in return.

Like most other members of the Cactaceae family, the Peruvian Apple cactus also has a highly tolerant and resistant nature, which allows the spiky plant to thrive in deprivation and survive unideal living conditions for extended periods.

However, although the controlled indoor temperatures make it much easier to grow a healthy Peruvian Apple cactus indoors, the real challenge is meeting the cactus’ needs when planted outdoors.

Since Peruvian Apple cactuses need warmth and sufficient light to grow and bear the most fruit, the cactus must be only planted in hardiness zones ranging from 9 to 11.

Keep reading below to learn in greater detail about what a hardiness zone is, the characteristics of hardiness zone 8, and why the Peruvian Apple cactus prefers hardiness zones 9 to 11.

The Peruvian Apple Cactus

Originating from South America, the Peruvian Apple, or the Cereus peruvianus, is one of the few cactus species that grow flowers and fruits.

Commonly known as the Apple cactus or the Queen of the night, this member of the cactus family is characterized by its bright green body covered in clusters of thin, long brown spikes.

Another distinct feature of the Apple cactus is its vibrant orange-red flowers that bloom during the night and eventually turn into red, edible, and sweet fruit.

While indoor potted Peruvian Apple cactuses generally grow up to three to five feet tall during their decade-long lifespans, Apple cactuses that grow in the wild can grow as tall as twenty to twenty-five feet high. Such tall cactuses bear multiple fruits yearly and are almost always covered in beautiful flowers.

Perhaps one of the reasons why people love the Peruvian Apple cactus is its scarcity. This rare cactus species is generally hard to get a hold of and is always any plant collector’s favorite.

What is a Hardiness Zone for a Plant?

While some plant species have the special adaptation that allows them to survive in various environmental conditions and weathers, most plants have their unique set of requirements that can be fulfilled in different regions of the world.

To ensure you know exactly which plant species are best suited for which global region, you need to look at the 2012 USDA Plant Hardiness Zone Map.

The 2012 USDA Plant Hardiness Zone Map is a globally accepted standard that divides the USA into different hardiness zones, ranging from 1a to 13b.

Zones marked with numbers closer to 1 usually depict the coldest regions of the USA, while zones marked with bigger numbers (7 to 13) highlight the warmer areas of the USA.

This map offers plant experts, farmers, and gardeners the knowledge to know which plant species will thrive in which areas, thus allowing them to be better at their job.

What Are the Key Characteristics of Hardiness Zone 8?

As mentioned above, hardiness zones close to number 13 depict America’s warm to hot areas. These regions generally have longer days and prolonged hours of direct sun exposure.

Hardiness Zone 8 is generally one of the warmest zones, covering most of the USA’s southern quarter. This includes South Carolina, Georgia, North Carolina, Alabama, Florida, Texas, Louisiana, California, Arizona, Washington, and Mississippi.

Usually, the minimum temperature in areas under zone 8 is around 10 to 20°F, while the highest temperature can go up to 85°F.

Plants growing in Hardiness Zone 8 are well-adapted to intense summer heat and do not do as well in cold winters.

The Peruvian Apple cactus plant is one of many best suited to Hardiness Zone 8.

Why Do Peruvian Apple Cactuses Grow Best in Hardiness Zone 8?

Cactuses Are Naturally Adapted to Thriving Under Heat

Unlike most other green plants that require continuous attention and care, the Peruvian Apple cactus is well-adapted to thrive in the harshest living conditions.

Like all other cactus species, the Queen of the Night needs very little water, can withstand the intense desert heat, and can outlive prolonged periods of unideal living conditions.

Some of the natural adaptations that give the prized cactus this brilliant ability to endure and push through are as follows:

●  Thorns Instead of Leaves

Although the Apple cactus has tiny leaves around its flowers, most of its vivid green body is covered with thorns. Since thorns do not have any holes in their surface, the cactus does not lose any heat to transpiration or diffusion.

●  Thick Trunk-like Stems

Moreover, unlike most plants that have thin stems, the Apple cactus has a thick, trunk-like stem that is naturally designed to store water.

Whenever you water the plant, or it rains outdoors, the Peruvian Apple cactus absorbs all the available water and stores it in its thick fleshy trunk for conservation.

Eventually, when the plant is deprived of proper watering for a long period, the flowering cactus can thrive and bear fruit by living off its stored water reserves.

●  Multiple Limbs

Since the Peruvian Apple cactus will grow many water-storing limbs during its lifetime, its cumulative water reserve will allow it to push through extended dry spells.

●  Unique Root System

Unlike most plant roots with a minimum water absorption capacity, the Peruvian Apple cactus roots are naturally adapted to absorbing any water they can find.

This allows them to soak up their bodies in moisture, which proves to be an excellent adaptation during periods of little to no rainfall.

Apple Cactuses do Best in Dry Sandy Soils

Since Hardiness Zone 8 regions are quite warm, the ground is usually dry. Luckily, this is exactly the kind of medium the Peruvian Apple cactus grows best in.

Hardiness Zone 8 Gets Very Little Rainfall

Although Peruvian Apple cactuses need water, too much water can be fatal for the flowering plant. As mentioned above, the Apple Cactus roots are designed to absorb all the water it is provided with.

If the soil is excessively drenched from rainfall, the Apple cactus will absorb more water than it needs. This will turn its otherwise firm and leathery body brown and mushy, attracting a fungal infection that may lead to fatal stem rot.

Hardiness Zone 8 Gets Prolonged Hours of Sunlight Exposure

Apart from less water and dry, sandy soils, Peruvian Apple cactuses also need a lot of sunlight. They use light to catalyze photosynthesis and to keep the topsoil sufficiently dry.

Fortunately, Hardiness Zone 8 gets 6 to 12 hours of uninterrupted sunlight almost every other day.

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Final Thoughts – Get Yourself a Peruvian Apple Cactus Now!

While it is easier to control the temperature around an indoor Peruvian Apple Cactus, it is important to know that this cactus will only survive outdoors in hardiness zones 9 to 11. Hence, if you live in the warmer regions of America, the Peruvian Apple cactus will be the perfect plant for you.