Is a tree-like cactus which grows in a multi-branched candelabra shape. Individual stems are gray-blue to gray-green and deeply ribbed. The ‘Monstrose’ form has a twisting undulating pattern to the stem ribs which gives it a unique presence. It is slower growing and somewhat more compact than the standard cactus.

It blooms mainly in summer with large (6-7 inches in diameter), exotic, white to pinkish white flowers that open in the evening and remain open into the next day. They are pollinated by hummingbirds, bats or insects. The fruit which follows is delicious, similar to dragon fruit in structure and flavor and contains small edible seeds called pitaya. Fruits mature on the plant for a long time and are red to pinkish red when ripe. Fruit must be eaten quickly after harvesting or it will begin to ferment.

The growing tips of the branches are vulnerable to frost and on smaller plants. They are easily protected with a Styrofoam cup. Slower growing cacti are sometimes grafted on to the species’ rootstock which speeds their growth. The species is also grown as a living fence by taking stem cuttings and planting them in a row.

Very drought tolerant once established and needs to acclimated to full sun to avoid sunburn.  Root and stem rot can becomes problems in poor draining soils in wet cool weather. has occasional problems with scale and mealybugs which can be easily controlled with a water spray or with horticultural oils.

This is a beautiful specimen cactus for a large cactus or succulent garden. It can make an interesting plant for a large container and is a nice centerpiece for a warm, sunny courtyard. The plant does have a few spines therefore care should be taken in its location.