Echinopsis chamaecereus 'Rot Violet'


Chamaelobivia 'Rot Violet' (Peanut Cactus)

x Chamaelobivia 'Rot Violet' (Peanut Cactus) is a hybrid between Chamaecereus silvestrii (now renamed Echinopsis chamaecereus) and Lobvia…

What is Echinopsis chamaecereus (Peanut Cactus)

Echinopsis chamaecereus, which is famously known as Peanut Cactus, has its origin from mountainous regions of Argentina. It is described as a mat-forming cactus which has finger-like stems which could grow to a height of 6 inches and broaden to 12 inches.

It is famous for its unique finger-like structures that are aesthetically enhanced by beautiful scarlet flowers. Apparently, Echinopsis chamaecereus genesis was from a self-incompatible clone.

Due to its reduced genetic diversity, it inhibits the formation of cultivars through selective breeding techniques. These plants are found in places like B&Q grafted onto plain thick green cacti for dependency and come in some very bright and attractive colours

Description of the peanut cactus

Echinopsis chamaecereus got its other name Peanut Cactus, from its close resemblance to the peanut plants. As the plant grows more and more the cactus length shoots and the stems develop finger-like shapes that are pale green.

These structures also form soft surfaces that are segmented to low ribs with shallow ridges in between. The cactus also has main stems that lay near to the potting that mostly have a 0.8-inch diameter and a length of up to 6 inches.

These main stems hold a number of branches which could multiply with a few years. The areoles which are closely spaced are well endowed with whitish spines that range from 10 to 15.

The areoles also facilitate the growth of the bright scarlet flowers which assume the shape of a cup and would grow up to a width of 2.5cm. During the early summer, the flowers, unfortunately, last for about 24 hours. However, the flowering process continues for up to utmost three weeks.

The blooms will grow a lot from early spring to early summer in the presence of ideal conditions.

If you do not like the sound of a peanut cactus then check out these succulents representative species.

Peanut Cactus grafted onto another stock cactus for dependancy

Peanut cactus has a yellow-flowered form and a form that lacks chlorophyll (Echinopsis chamaecereus var. lutea) and has to be grafted onto a green root-stock to survive like the picture above.

What are the ideal conditions for Echinopsis chamaecereus?


It’s advised to water the Echinopsis chamaecereus moderately during the active rest periods. The frequency of watering the plant should be infrequent but ensure the potting is well moist. Allow the water to dry up to the top centimeter before you water the plant again.

During winter when it’s cool, the plant could be left out to grow until the season is over. When introduced to higher temperatures, the water intake will gradually rise, and watering will be required to prevent the complete drying of the soil.

Houseplant care.

Peanut Cactus is an ideal plant to have at your home since it’s easy to manage and grow. The plants only demand the usual plant growing conditions for it to blossom. It also doesn’t require any special treatment so long as the conditions indoor are favorable.


In its active growth periods, the normal room temperature is ideal for the Echinopsis chamaecereus growth. Due to its easy adabtibility to certain harsh conditions it can survive in the low freezing temperatures. It can also thrive in temperatures of about 7 degrees during winter.


As with many plants, the Echinopsis chamaecereus needs direct sunlight to facilitate different processes for a healthy cactus. Depriving it of sunlight will have a negative effect on its growth where it develops thin, fragile, and elongated shoots. Position the plant close to a window that allows most of the sunlight in the room.


It would be a wonderful inclusion in your flower garden due to its unique traits and appearance. It does well in the outdoors since it has a better adaptation to harsh temperatures that may be as low as -7 degrees Celcius. Provide cool rest conditions during winter for better blossoming. The ideal landscape will be a rocky one to help in water absorption. It may take some time to spot the flowers, but during Spring the cactus will catch everybody’s attention.


To facilitate proper growth alongside ideal conditions, always introduce fertilizer, and thoroughly mix it with the soil in the potting. The fertilizer introduces valuable nutrients and minerals which facilitate healthy growth. In cases of repotting introduce the fertilizer soil mixture in the new potting for sustainable growth. The fertilizer should be added occasionally, which should be low in Nitrogen. You should also work with fertilizers that are enriched with minerals such as phosphorus and potassium.

Potting and repotting

You need to include a good soil composition which could also be peat based potting. The composition should also comprise of course sand which facilitates better drainage to avoid clogging. A wonderful trait of the Peanut cactus is the fact that it has a shallow root system that spreads. It would be better to use a wider container that is 3 inches deep to provide enough space for the roots to stretch. During Spring you could repot your plant if at all its crowded. Move it into a larger container or break the plant and replant each in their own container.


It is basically watering the plant, which should have a controlled way to ensure healthy growth. Echinopsis chamaecereus needs deep watering after a fortnight during the Spring and Summer seasons. You should allow the plant to rest during winter when there’s limited activity. Avoid watering it and give it enough space and time so long as the soil isn’t completely dry. The Peanut cactus thrives well in dry conditions it would be wise to imitate a similar growth scenario.


The cactus needs direct sunlight which should be regulated to prevent burns. The ideal positioning of the Echinopsis chamaecereus species is full direct exposure during cool seasons and controlled lighting during summer. The sunlight is necessary since it facilitates better flowering and blossoming during Spring to mid Summer.


This process is ideal for the Echinopsis chamaecereus since it doesn’t produce seeds which could be used to grow young plants. A mature plant is propagated into cuttings which are re-potted to give life to another set of the plant. The process is fairly simple since it involves extracting a branch from the main stem. Ensure that you simulate the same potting contents as in the parent’s flower pot and fix the detached part in a horizontal position. You could also work with a larger space that has the ability to hold more plants in the potting mixture.

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Echinopsis chamaecereus 'Rot Violet' - garden

Origin and Habitat: Garden origin (Nursery produced cultivar) Hybrid Chamaecereus sylvestris x Lobivia sp.

Description: The Chamaelobivia hybrids. Chamaecereus silvestrii (now renamed Echinopsis chamaecereus) is an old species widely hybridized with various Lobivias, hence Chamaelobivia (intergenic hybrid of Chamaecereus and Lobivia), but since both of those are now reclassified as Echinopsis, that makes this an Echinopsis hybrid.
Chamaelobivia are very popular hybrids that develop really amazing flowers of different colours on the original "peanut" body and many of these hybrids have cultivar names. This plants soon form spectacular clumps with 20-30 (or more) flowers at a time, and are quite a sight. They are often thicker, stronger, larger-growing than C. sylvestrii, and tend not to have the typical peanut shaped offsets. The offsets produced are more strongly attached to the main stems.
Most of these hybrids can grow outside all year and can take a lot of sun. Hardy from -4° to -12° C, depending on clone.

Subspecies, varieties, forms and cultivars of plants belonging to the Echinopsis hybrid (Chamaelobivia) group

Echinopsis chamaecereus cv. Violet Photo by: Cactus Art
Echinopsis chamaecereus cv. Violet Photo by: Cactus Art
Echinopsis chamaecereus cv. Violet Photo by: Cactus Art
Echinopsis chamaecereus cv. Violet Photo by: Cactus Art

Cultivation and Propagation: The Chamaelobiva hybrids are very easy to grow, and are the ideal plants for beginners. The parents of all Chamelobivia come from mountainous areas, so they like bright light, cool and dry conditions in the winter. The whole Chamelobivia complex has delightful flowers and the plants remain compact, and clumps can easily be managed by division. They flower freely indoors if conditions suit them.
Growth rate: Chamaelobivia is a relatively fast growing and easily flowering species that will make large clumps given the best conditions.
Soils: This species is without problems in a very open mineral mix with at least 50% sand or pumice grit and a pH slightly on the acidic side.
Repotting: They will occupy a small pot comfortably, and eventually remain a manageable sized house plant. It is better that they are repotted regularly. Repotting will increase the number and size of stems, and will increase the number of flowers produced. Repot yearly until they reach about 100 mm in size, then every two or three years will suffice. Repotting is best done at the end of winter, but can be done at other times, too. Do not water for a couple of weeks after repotting, to reduce risk of root rot via broken roots. A layer of 'pea' gravel at the bottom of the pot improves drainage. A layer of decorative gravel as a top dressing helps prevent the caking of the potting mix, which decreases the rate of water absorption. It also keeps the perlite and pumice from blowing everywhere, and looks nice.
Watering: It requires full sun or light shade and careful watering to keep plant compact, and maintain strong and dense spines and allow the pot to dry out between waterings. Keep dry in winter at a minimum temperature of 0°C. Rebutia albipilosa tends to rot if too wet. The plants can be placed outdoors in April, but protected from rain and direct sunlight. Water them thoroughly when placed out, and again in two weeks, and again in one week. After one month the plants are ready to be placed out in full sun and full rain for the summer. During dry spells the collection is watered once a week, during hot dry spells, twice a week.
Fertilization: Feed with a high potassium fertilizer in summer.
Hardiness: It is reputedly resistant to frost if kept on the dry side prior to, and during, cold weather and requires a winter rest period (hardy to -7° C, or less for short periods). They grow in nature at high altitudes, and do not thrive well at high temperatures in cultivation. They will often go dormant in mid-summer, and resume growth again when the weather cools in late August. They can tolerate amazingly low temperatures for long periods of time. All species can take light frost, even when not bone dry. It is generally accepted that plants kept at too high a temperature, or watered too much during the winter rest period, will not bloom the following year. They will be perfectly happy in pots outdoors from April to September if protected from torrential rain and hail. However some warmth throughout the year will increase the grower's success (minimum 3° C during rest season).
Exposition: The plant tolerates extremely bright situations but enjoys filtered sunlight or afternoon shade, inside it needs bright light, and some direct sun. Tends to bronze in strong light, which encourages flowering and heavy spine production, but is likely to suffer from sun scorch or stunted growth if over exposed to direct sunlight during the hottest part of the day in summer.
Uses: It is an excellent plant for container growing. It always looks good and stays small. It look fine in a cold greenhouse and frame or outdoor in a rockery.
Pests & diseases: All, especially the young, are susceptible to red spider mites.
Rot: It is especially prone to root rot, therefore, underpot in a smaller container filled with very porous compost. However rot it is only a minor problem with cacti if the plants are watered and “aired” correctly. If they are not, fungicides won't help all that much.
Propagation: By cuttings, as it branches freely from the base. It can also be grown from seeds or by graft. Seeds can be sown in the spring or summer. The seedlings should not be disturbed until they are well rooted, after which they can be planted separately in small pots. Easy to propagate from offsets. Small joints are produced in quantities (peanuts). These offsets can be detached and planted immediately, as they root easily with no assistance when they touch the ground. Just let them lay on the soil and you have a new start.

Echinopsis chamaecereus 'Rot Violet' - garden

Origin and Habitat: This species is supposed to be endemic to Argentina, occurring between Tucumán and Salta. Echinopsis chamaecereus was collected by the botanist Carlo Spegazzini and described at the beginning of the XX century. However, the plant was never found again in the area during several expeditions on horseback by expert Roberto Kiesling, who only found in the area the widespread Echinopsis saltensis.
Habitat and Ecology: Because the species has not been found in the wild, the type of vegetation it grows in is unknown.

  • Echinopsis chamaecereus H.Friedrich & Glaetzle
    • Cereus silvestrii Speg.
    • Chamaecereus silvestrii (Speg.) Britton & Rose
    • Lobivia silvestrii (Speg.) G.D.Rowley

Description: The peanuts cactus, Echinopsis chamaecereus (probably best known under its old name Chamaecereus silvestrii), is a very popular cactus with many crowded finger-like stems. Established plants can reach a height of 15 cm and width of 30 (or more) cm.
Stems: Pale green finger sized, initially erect that became prostrate up to 10 cm tall, 1.2 cm in diameter, up to 15 cm long. As cactus ages, eventually eventually become woody and spineless.
Ribs: 8 to 10.
Spines: 10 to 15 soft, white bristles, 2 mm long.
Flowers: Orange-red about 5 cm in diameter, often produced in prolific quantities from an early age.
Blooming season: In several flushes in late spring and early summer.
Remarks: Chamaelobivia hybrids: The peanut cactus is still often encountered as Chamaecereus silvestrii, and occasionally as Lobivia silvestrii. This plant has been intensively hybridized with other Echinopsis(especially Lobivia ssp.). This hybrids are sometime called "Chamaelobivia" and are pretty easy to grow and easy to get to bloom and are now available in different striking flower colours. They are often thicher, stronger, larger growing than C. sylvestrii and tend not to have the typical peanut shaped offsets. The offsets produced being more strongly attached to the main stems.

Subspecies, varieties, forms and cultivars of plants belonging to the Echinopsis chamaecereus group

Bibliography: Major references and further lectures:
1) Edward Anderson “The Cactus family” Timber Press, Incorporated, 2001
2) James Cullen, Sabina G. Knees, H. Suzanne Cubey "The European Garden Flora Flowering Plants: A Manual for the Identification of Plants Cultivated in Europe, Both Out-of-Doors and Under Glass" Cambridge University Press, 11/Aug/2011
3) David R Hunt Nigel P Taylor Graham Charles International Cactaceae Systematics Group. "The New Cactus Lexicon" dh books, 2006
4) Clive Innes, Charles Glass “Cacti” Portland House, 1991
5) John Borg “Cacti: a gardener's handbook for their identification and cultivation” Blandford P., 1970
6) RHS "A-Z encyclopedia of garden plants." United Kingdom: Dorling Kindersley. 2008
7) Kiesling, R. 2013. Echinopsis chamaecereus. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2014.3. . Downloaded on 13 February 2015.

Echinopsis chamaecereus Photo by: Valentino Vallicelli
Echinopsis chamaecereus Photo by: Carolina González
Echinopsis chamaecereus Photo by: Cactus Art
The common name comes from the peanut-like offsets that this cactus provides generously along the stems. Photo by: Cactus Art
Echinopsis chamaecereus Photo by: Carolina González

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Cultivation and Propagation: This is an easily grown cactus, suited to hanging baskets as well as pots. Grow in well-drained soil in a sunny spot. This Echinopsis needs a period of cool rest in winter to produce flowers abundantly. It flowers freely indoors if conditions suit it. The plant survives outside without protection in winter (cold hardy to -8° ) but somewhat prone to rot, then, too.
Needs moderate water in summer, none in winter Watch for infestations of mealybug, scale insects and spider mite.

Propagation:: Easy to propagate from offsets or seed. Small joints are produced in quantities (peanuts) These offsets can be detached and planted immediately as they root easily with no assistance when they touch the ground. Just let them lay on the soil and you have a new start.

Watch the video: Chamaecereus Silvestrii Cactus. Peanut Cactus

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