Hylocereus ocamponis (also called Cereus Ocamponis, Selenicereus Ocamponis, Hylocereus Bronxensis) used to be found only in Mexico. It lived in the dry parts of the states of Jalisco and Nayarita. In these states, it lives in low, dry forests, on rock outcrops, and on large rock formations. The plant is strong, but it grows very slowly. The stems are interesting because they are grayish green. The pieces of these stems are very long, thick, and have spines on all three sides.
Nowadays H. ocamponis is a cactus that also is grown in Guatemala, Colombia, Bolivia, USA and Puerto Rico. It is similar to H. undatus. Its brown-edged wings are more deeply wavy, and its spines are longer. Inside and out, the fruit is the color of wine, and the pulp is sweet.
One good thing about the plant is that it blooms. They stand out because of their bright colors and huge, up to 15-inch-wide blooms. The variety can’t make its own pollen, so it will need to be pollinated by hand. The fruit is a good size and weighs about a pound once it has been pollinated. The fruit looks like an egg and has a unique shape.
Hylocereus is best known for making Dragon Fruit, which are large, strange fruits. All of the species in the genus have fruits that can be eaten. These fruits are about the size of an orange and have green scales on their red skin.
Most people are familiar with nearly 20 species of Hylocereus. They live in the wild from southern Mexico down through Central America and into northern South America. As the name suggests, most of these plants grow in wooded areas of this distribution. On farms in other parts of the world, especially in tropical Asia, those species are grown for their fruits.
The lowest temperature (ºC) supported by this cactus is on average: 12
The plants may have many branches and grow as high as 30 feet (10 meters), making them quite big. Most of the time, the stems have three angles, wavy or prickly edges, and few short spines, if any. Hylocereus has the biggest flowers in the cactus family, with the biggest ones easily being longer and wider than 12 inches (30 cm).
The flower tubes are thick and have scales that look like leaves. They have no spines, bristles, or hairs. Most of the flowers are white and smell good. They bloom at night.
Due to their large size, these plants are not often grown in pots or greenhouses. However, because they grow quickly, they are often used for grafting. Most of the time, a short piece of Hylocereus is grafted onto a popular bright red Gymnocalycium cultivar that is sold as a “Lollipop” cactus. Most people don’t know that these don’t last long because they grow best in tropical climates and are very sensitive to cold.
Information about habits and culture
Most species of Hylocereus will cross-breed, making it hard to grow them from seeds. So, if the collector has more than one Hylocereus, the seeds could be anything.
|Synonym:||Cereus ocamponis, Hylocereus purpusii|
|Water requirements:||Drought-tolerant, suitable for xeriscaping|
|Sun exposure:||Sun to partial shade, light shade|
|Height:||Over 40 ft. (12 m)|
|Spacing:||9-12 in. (22-30 cm)|
|Hardiness:||USDA Zone 10a: to -1.1 °C (30 °F) |
USDA Zone 10b: to 1.7 °C (35 °F)
USDA Zone 11: above 4.5 °C (40 °F)
|Danger:||Plant has spines or sharp edges, use extreme caution when handling|
|Bloom color:||Scarlet (dark red), |
|Bloom characteristics:||This plant is attractive to bees, butterflies and/or birds. Flowers are fragrant|
|Bloom time:||Late Spring/Early, Summer, Mid-Summer|
|Soil pH requirements:||6.1 to 6.5 (mildly acidic). 6.6 to 7.5 (neutral). 7.6 to 7.8 (mildly alkaline)|
|Propagation methods:||From woody stem cuttings. From semi-hardwood cuttings. From seed, germinate in a damp paper towel|
|Seed collecting:||Remove fleshy coating on seeds before storing. Seed does not store well, sow as soon as possible|
|Preferred climate:||Tropical, Subtropical|
|Plants required to pollinate:||1+ beneficial (cross pollination helps with fruit set)|
|Amount of leaves in winter:||All Leaves (evergreen)|
|Suitability in pots:||Yes|
|Time to fruit/flower/harvest:||2-3 Years|
|Sun or shade:||Part (sun:50-80%)|
|Preferred soil type:||Perfect drainage (Sand/Volcanic)|
|Fruiting/harvest months:||February, March, April, May|
This specie can breed with itself. The pollen still needs to get from the anthers to the stigma, though. When the flower first opens, which usually happens around 9 p.m., the pollen is not quite ready. Between 2am and sunrise, some bugs, fruit flies, or very early morning bees should do the job. You can do it yourself, and a toothbrush is a great tool for the job.
In conclusion, Hylocereus ocamponis is an interesting cactus that is worth growing for its beautiful flowers and delicious fruit. It is easy to care for, and can be grown either in a pot or in the ground. With its unusual flowers and interesting growth habits, it is certain to capture the interest of botanists and horticulturists alike. I hope that more research will be conducted on this plant so that its potential can be fully realized.
They need more water than other cacti (approximately once every 2 weeks). Let the soil dry out between watering.
12-27ºC (54-80ºF). Keep indoors, except USDA zones 10a to 11b.
The fruit that mature plants make can be eaten.