How To Grow The Cereus Forbesii Spiralis – Spiral Cactus

One of the most attractive and sought after varieties of succulent is the cereus forbesii spiralis – a somewhat underrated member of the succulent family, but one that can make a great addition to any home. Succulents are a widely popular species of plant, and there are numerous different varieties that you can own and grow at home. But what exactly is cereus forbesii spiralis, and how can they be grown? How To Grow The Cereus Forbesii Spiralis

What Is Cereus Forbesii Spiralis?

Otherwise known as the spiral cactus, twisted cactus, and the cereus spiralis, cereus forbesii spiralis is a green succulent that is characterized by – as its name suggests – a twisting, spiral appearance. With such a distinct appearance, and the ability to grow to large sizes in some cases, the spiral cactus remains a great wonder within the succulent family. It is also capable of forming attractive flowers in shades of pink, purple, and orange/red. Subtle and attractive, but with an almost alien appearance, this variety of cactus is a highly popular one, and has pride and place in many a succulent collection around the world.

Does It Have Spines?

Like many forms of cactus, the spiral cactus does grow large, thick spines – generally forming in small clumps around the spiraled ridges of the cactus body. These are notably more thorn-like in thickness, and can be painful when accidentally brushed or leaned on.

Where Can It Be Found?

While now available for purchase and growth all around the world, the spiral cactus was originally indigenous to Peru – where it formed part of the natural array of succulents throughout the region.

How To Grow Spiral Cactuses?

Now that you know a little more about the spiral cactus, and where it can be found throughout the world, it is now time to take a look at the growing process – showing you how you too can grow one at home, and the conditions that are required for you to do so effectively.


The first thing to remember is that, when young, spiral cactuses prefer minimal light – mimicking their growth patterns when on the desert floor. However, once they get larger and reach maturity, they prefer full sun – and this will properly sustain them as they grow even larger. Ideally this will also include a location where bright light can be accessed all year round – and while this might not be suited to everyone’s set up, this does yield the best results.

Soil Type

As with any type of plant, getting the right soil quality is paramount. When it comes to succulents like the spiral cactus, they prefer soil that has plenty of drainage to prevent clogging and drowning of the roots.


Succulents can be a tricky one – especially when it comes to knowing the best ways to water them. While generally they are a plant that can handle neglect on some level, the best looking cactuses are those that are regularly watered throughout the summer growing season, and watered sparingly throughout the fall and winter months. During this time the plant will be dormant, and cannot absorb the same level of water and nutrients during this period. Thus if you overwater, it can become swamped and die. The best way of watering is to allow the soil to dry in between watering sessions. This means that the plant has sufficiently absorbed the water, and is ready for some more. If the soil is still moist, refrain from watering for a little while longer. How to Water Succulents – A Complete Guide


Temperature is another important factor – especially with succulent plants that are generally used to warmer climes. When it comes to spiral cactuses, they prefer room temperatures of around 60-75 degree Fahrenheit (16-24 degrees Celsius). While this temperature can often be exceeded – and usually is when out in the wild – it should never drop too low. In fact most forms of cactus do not do well under 50 degrees Fahrenheit (10 degrees Celsius).


When it comes to fertilizers, they are not essential for good cactus growth. However, they still do thrive when provided with it, and the best ones to use are ‘complete’ fertilizers, or specialized cactus fertilizers.

Will They Need Repotting?

repotting a cactus One notable thing about the spiral cactus is that it grows quite quickly, and as such it will need repotting at varying intervals throughout its growth. Generally speaking, this should be done every other year. However, the proper way to determine whether it is ready to be repotted is to monitor the size and rate of the growth, and determine whether it seems cramped inside the existing pot. When repotting the spiral cactus, allow any soil to dry, and then remove the plant from the existing pot. Remove the loose soil, and prune any dead leaves, or rotting roots. This will ensure a good, fresh start for the plant when it goes into its new pot. Once you have put it in a new pot, be sure to use fresh soil – giving it a whole new set of nutrients to work through during this new growth period.

What Is Propagation?

Propagation is the process from which plants can be grown from numerous sources – including seeds, roots, cuttings, and other factors. This is a common process within gardening, and can allow gardeners to grow new plants from the remnants or offcuts of existing plants in their collection.

Can Spiral Cacti Be Propagated?

Spiral cactuses are some of the most easily propagated succulents, and new ones can be grown from something as simple as cuttings. You can also harvest the seeds in the springtime and plant those to ensure new cactuses. Alternatively, you can sever a branch and plant it in moist, well-drained soil. However, before you actually plant it in the soil, you must ensure the raw end is completely dried out, as this will enable new roots to grow more easily once in the soil.

How Long Do They Take To Grow?

When it comes to the actual growing cycle of your spiral cactus, the growing time can vary depending on numerous factors – including temperature, pot space, soil quality, and any of the other factors mentioned above. However, generally speaking, growers can expect a moderately sized spiral cactus in anywhere from 6 to 12 months – depending what you have grown them from, and the conditions in which they are kept.

How To Encourage Better Growth?

The best way to encourage proper growth from your spiral cactus is to follow the recommendations listed above. However, one of the most important factors is the temperature, as nothing kills off a succulent like cold and frost. It should go without saying that, unless you live in year round warm climates, cactuses should always be grown indoors in pots – increasing sizes to larger ones once necessary. However, this also means they should not be near open windows during the winter, and should be in locations where the most sunlight can be attained.

When Does Spiraling Begin?

Perhaps unsurprisingly (due to the shape of the plant) the spiraling process actually begins quite early on the development of the plant – and people can usually begin to notice spiraling within 4 inches of growth from the soil. This means that keen growers do not have to wait long at all until they can begin to enjoy the fruits of their labor.

Weaknesses To Watch Out For

As with any plant, there are certain pests and environmental factors that can negatively affect them.


These are a common problem for spiral cactuses – especially those grown outdoors – and the best way to eliminate these pests is to use insecticidal soaps mixed with water.

Root Rot

Succulents that are overwatered can suffer from root rot – which is when the roots cannot sufficiently absorb the water, and become overwhelmed and flooded in the pot. This is why careful and conscientious watering routines are paramount for effective growing progress.

Final Thoughts

When it comes to the succulent family, there are few as attractive and unusual as the spiral cactus. It remains very popular and sought after by many people. Luckily, with this handy guide, you too can grow your own spiral cactus, and add this perfect addition to your home succulent collection.


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