Pereskia grandifolia
Common Name: rose cactus 
Type: Broadleaf evergreen
Family: Cactaceae
Native Range: Brazil
Zone: 10 to 12
Height: 6.00 to 16.00 feet
Spread: 6.00 to 16.00 feet
Bloom Time: July to August
Bloom Description: Pink
Sun: Full sun to part shade
Water: Medium
Maintenance: Medium
Suggested Use: Hedge
Flower: Showy
Leaf: Evergreen
Other: Winter Interest, Thorns
Tolerate: Drought

Culture

Winter hardy to USDA Zones 10-11 where this cactus is best grown in moist (summer) organically rich, well-drained soils in full sun to light shade. Tolerates dry soil conditions well, but may drop leaves. Keep soils drier during winter dormancy. Appreciates some afternoon shade in hot summer climates. Leaves are deciduous when temperatures dip below 50 degrees F. Plants will usually survive winter if temperatures do not dip below 25 degrees F. Propagate from cuttings planted in light, porous soil. Cuttings may root in water.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Pereskia grandifolia, commonly called rose cactus or pereskia, is botanically classified as a cactus, but takes the form of an evergreen to deciduous shrub or small tree with a rounded crown typically maturing to 6-16’ tall. It often develops a brown trunk (to 8” diameter). It is native to tropical areas of eastern Brazil, but is cultivated in many places elsewhere for its attractive rose-like flowers. Pereskia is the only genus in the cactus family that has persistent non-succulent leaves which are short-stalked, fleshy, elliptic-ovate to obovate-lanceolate (to 3-9” long and to 2 1/2”wide). Leaves are edible (may be added to salads or cooked). Black to brown spines (to 2” long) in groups of 1-6 rise from areolas in the leaf axils. Pink to purplish-pink flowers (2” diameter) centered by yellow stamens bloom in few-flowered terminal clusters in summer. Flowers are followed by fleshy, pear-shaped fruits (2-4" long) that mature yellow, red or green.

Genus name honors Nicholas Claude Fabre de Peiresc (1580-1637), French naturalist and archaeologist.

Specific epithet comes from Latin meaning with large leaves.

Problems

No serious insect or disease problems. For more information see: Problems Common to Many Indoor Plants

Garden Uses

Medicinal. Ornamental (attractive flowers and fruits). Edible leaves. Hedge. Xeriscape gardens. Container plant which must be moved indoors where not winter hardy.