Cereus hildmannianus subsp. uruguayanus ‘Fairy Castle’

Cereus hildmannianus subsp. uruguayanus ‘Fairy Castle’ on 7-19-16, #274-21.

Fairy Castle Cactus, Spiny Hedge Cactus, Peruvian Apple

Cereus hildmannianus subsp. uruguayanus

‘Fairy Castle’

KER-ee-us  hild-man-ee-AH-nus  ur-uh-gway-AN-us

Synonyms of Cereus hildmannianus (38) (Updated on 12-4-22 from Plants of the World Online): Cactus abnormis Willd. (1814), Cactus monstrosus Willd. (1814)(not validly publ.), Cactus peruvianus var. monstruosus DC. (1813)(nom. nud.)Cereus abnormis (Willd.) Sweet (1826), Cereus alacriportanus Pfeiff. (1837), Cereus alacriportanus var. bageanus (F.Ritter) P.J.Braun (1988), Cereus bonariensis C.F.Först. (1846), Cereus calvescens DC. (1828), Cereus childsii Blanc (1891), Cereus curvispinus Pfeiff. (1837), Cereus hildmannianus subsp. xanthocarpus (K.Schum.) P.J.Braun & Esteves (1995), Cereus milesimus Rost (1932), Cereus monstrosus J.Forbes (1837), Cereus monstrosus (DC.) Steud. (1840)(nom. illeg.), Cereus monstrosus var. minor Woodson (1891), Cereus monstruosus K.Schum. (1894), Cereus neonesioticus (F.Ritter) P.J.Braun (1988), Cereus neonesioticus var. interior (F.Ritter) P.J.Braun (1988), Cereus pentagonus C.F.Först. (1846)(nom. illeg.), Cereus peruvianus var. alacriportanus (Pfeiff.) K.Schum. (1897), Cereus peruvianus var. brasiliensis C.F.Först. (1846), Cereus peruvianus var. cristatus Graebener (1901), Cereus peruvianus var. monstrosus DC. (1828), Cereus peruvianus subvar. nanus Salm-Dyck (1850), Cereus peruvianus var. ovicarpus Hertrich (1939), Cereus peruvianus var. persicinus Werderm. (1935), Cereus peruvianus var. proferrens Werderm. (1935), Cereus peruvianus var. reclinatus Werderm. (1935), Cereus validus Haw. in Philos. Mag. Ann. Chem. 10: 414 (1831)Cereus xanthocarpus K.Schum. (1903), Echinocactus abnormis (Willd.) Paxton (1840), Piptanthocereus alacriportanus (Pfeiff.) F.Ritter (1979)(no basionym ref.), Piptanthocereus bageanus F.Ritter (1979), Piptanthocereus neonesioticus F.Ritter (1979), Piptanthocereus neonesioticus var. interior F.Ritter (1979), Piptanthocereus peruvianus var. monstruosus (DC.) Riccob. (1909), Piptanthocereus validus (Haw.) Riccob. (1909), Piptanthocereus xanthocarpus (K.Schum.) F.Ritter (1979)
Synonyms of Cereus hildmannianus subsp. uruguayanus (2): Cereus uruguayanus F.Ritter ex R.Kiesling (1982), Piptanthocereus uruguayanus F.Ritter (1979)

Cereus hildmannianus subsp. uruguayanus (R. Kiesling) N.P. Taylor is the accepted scientific name for this subspecies of Cereus hildmannianus. It was named and first described as such by Nigel Paul Taylor in Cactaceae Consensus Init. in 1998. Cereus hildmannianus was named and first documented by Karl Moritz Schumann in Flora Brasiliensis in 1890. Cereus uruguayanus was named and first documented by Roberto Kiesling in Darwinian in 1982.

The genus, Cereus Mill., was named and described by Philip Miller in the fourth edition of The Gardeners Dictionary in 1754.

As of 12-4-22 when this page was last updated, Plants of the World Online by Kew lists 25 accepted species in the Cereus genus. It is a member of the plant family Cactaceae with 150 genera. Those numbers could change as updates are made on POWO.

Some have this cactus and Acanthocareus tetragonus ‘Fairytale Castle Cactus’ confused. They are two separate monstrose forms of two species with similar characteristics. I have grown both and I could see there are differences (but sometimes I wondered…).


Cereus hildmannianus subsp. uruguayanus ‘Fairy Castle’ when I bought it on 1-28-16.

I bought this cactus from Walmart on January 28, 2016. I had been there a few days earlier and noticed they had just gotten in a shipment of cactus and succulents. They were still wrapped in plastic sleeves and drenched with water. I didn’t have money at the time, so I went back on the 28th to see what they had. Believe it or not, the plants were STILL wrapped in their plastic sleeves and STILL soaked with water.

Most cacti I buy from Walmart are small, but this one measured 6 1/8″ tall x 3 1/2″ wide.

This plant was unlabeled, so instead of trying to figure out what it was, I put photos on a Facebook group for suggestions. One of the members said it was Cereus hildmannianus subsp. uruguayanus and the common name was Fairy Castles. I checked the name out and believe that is correct.

Cereus hildmannianus subsp. uruguayanus ‘Fairy Castle’ on 7-19-16, #274-21.

The Cereus hildmannianus subsp. uruguayanus did very well over its first summer outside with very few issues.


Cereus hildmannianus subsp. uruguayanus ‘Fairy Castle’ on 5-31-17, #339-7. (Notice the baby Walking Stick?).

The ‘Fairy Castle’ did well the first summer but started getting weird over the winter. It was turning yellow and I thought it would soon die.

I just noticed the baby Walking Stick in this photo as I was updating this page… 🙂

Cereus hildmannianus subsp. uruguayanus ‘Fairy Castle’ on 9-7-17, #371-7.

When I took the above photo I noticed some critters, probably crickets, had been snacking.

According to Plants of the World Online, this subspecies is native to Northeast Argentina, southern Brazil, and Uruguay. Llifle (Encyclopedia of Living Forms) say it occurs only in Uruguay. As far as the cultivar ‘Fairy Castle’ is concerned, its origin is somewhat controversial. Apparently, it was discovered “in cultivation” which means not in the wild, such as in a nursery or garden.

Cereus hildmannianus subsp. uruguayanus ‘Fairy Castle’ on 10-17-17, #384-4.

I bought the potted plants inside for the winter on 10-17-17. I took them to the basement first then moved the cactus and succulents upstairs. As you can see, it looks like this plant is barely hanging on. Even though it looks like it does, it did grow. It measured 6 7/8″ tall x 4″ wide when the above photo was taken.


Cereus hildmannianus subsp. uruguayanus ‘Fairy Castle’ on 1-27-18, #407-3.

Well, as you can tell in the above photo, it isn’t dead yet. It is growing! It has been in my bedroom over the winter and has been looking better. You just have to overlook all the scars from the crickets.

Cereus hildmannianus subsp. uruguayanus ‘Fairy Castle’ on 7-30-18, #488-8.

We had a pretty bad Japanese Beetle invasion and I had to move the potted plants to a new location. I put the cactus on the back porch in full sun and most of the other potted plants went on the front porch.

Cereus hildmannianus subsp. uruguayanus ‘Fairy Castle’ on 10-10-18, #519-18.

Temperatures started dropping so I decided to move the potted plants inside for the winter. As usual, I measured them and this plant is now 7 1/4″ tall x 4 1/2″ wide. That’s very good! It measured 6 7/8″ tall x 4″ wide last October 17.

Cereus hildmannianus subsp. uruguayanus ‘Fairy Castle’ on 11-29-18, #534-4.

I took the cactus outside for a photoshoot on November 29. We had a couple of spring-like days and I wanted to take photos for a new blog post comparing the cactus in my collection.

A close-up of Cereus hildmannianus subsp. uruguayanus ‘Fairy Castle’ on 12-1-18, #535-3.

My plant’s stems are somewhat spineless and what spines it does have are very thin and hair-like. Its areoles also have small wooly tufts mainly on newer growth and almost absent farther down the stem. The species is found in several countries in South America while the subspecies is only found in Uruguay. The species and subspecies are MUCH taller in the wild than this miniature version…


Cereus hildmannianus subsp. uruguayanus ‘Fairy Castle’ on 6-22-19, #593-7.

The cactus are all outside on the back porch for the summer where they can enjoy the full sun. I always like taking photos of my plants, but this one is a little tricky because of the scarring from the crickets. We have had our ups and downs but it has survived and it continues to grow. I often wonder how other people’s cactus like this are doing and if they have had the same issues.

Cereus hildmannianus subsp. uruguayanus ‘Fairy Castle’ at 6 1/2″ tall x 4 1/2″ wide on 10-11-19, #639-14.

I had to move the plants inside for the winter on 10-11-19. As always, I measured the cactus and some of the succulents. This one shrunk because the top of the oldest and tallest trunk was damaged and the new growth fell off. Last October it was 7 1/4″ tall and now it is 6 1/2″ tall. It is still the same width as last year at 4 1/2″. The new growth that fell off was approximately 1″ tall. The offsets around the main stem had grown a lot over the summer.


Cereus hildmannianus subsp. uruguayanus ‘Fairy Castle’ at 8 tall x 6 3/4 wide on 10-15-20, #747-19.

This cactus did very well over the summer of 2020. I had it on the back porch last year in full sun as an experiment and decided to put it back on the front porch for 2020. It had had many battles with crickets and cats in the past and has several scars. It grew to 8″ tall x 6 3/4″ wide over the summer which is 1 1/2″ taller and 2 1/4″ wider than when I brought the plants inside in 2019. That’s pretty good. Its color is also much better now.


I had a small mealybug infestation with some of my plants over the winter. When I was putting the plants outside in the spring I noticed this plant had a few. I removed them with alcohol on a cotton swab and put it on the side porch. It started declining and died during the summer… GEEZ!

In all, I think this is an awesome cactus if well-grown. I keep my cactus and succulents outside over the summer, and they can get into a little trouble leaving them scarred. Well, it’s the way nature is. Mrs. Wagler of Wagler’s Greenhouse has a few in her greenhouse and they look AWESOME!

Family: Cactaceae
Origin: Northeast Argentina, south Brazil, and Uruguay, etc.
Zones: 10a-11 (30-40° F)
Size: 24-36” tall (eventually…)
Light: Light to full shade…
Soil: Fast-draining. Two parts of good quality potting soil amended with 1 part additional pumice and 1 part chicken grit. I now use 50% potting soil and pumice.
Water: Average to moderate during the growing period, barely during the winter.

You can read my Cactus Talk & Update and Cactus & Succulent Tips to get my opinion about growing cacti and succulents.

When you bring your new plants home from the store, you need to check their roots and the soil to see if they are wet. If so, you may want to re-pot it right away. It is advisable to re-pot them in a better potting soil more suitable for cacti and succulents. If the plant has been grown in a plug, I normally remove the wrapper.

I hope you enjoyed this page and maybe found it useful. If you have any comments, questions or suggestions, I would like to hear from you. Please click on “like” if you visited this page. It helps us bloggers stay motivated. 🙂 You can check out the links below for further reading. The links take you directly to the genus and species of this plant. You can also email me at thebelmontrooster@yahoo.com. There isn’t much online about this cactus except for sales…


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