Myrtillocactus Geometrizans – How To Grow It Like A Pro!

The Myrtillocactus Geometrizans is a shrubby cactus with sweet dark purple blue berries that grow on the plant. Because of its numerous environmental and health benefits, people look all over the internet to get their questions answered on how to grow this very special cactus.

One of the problems at the time of writing this is that, there really isn’t that much information on them and the information that is out there is actually kind of sketchy.

So, we have gathered the most valuable information from dozens of sources to help you grow your Myrtillocactus Geometrizans like a pro, so that you can take care of it without having to worry if you’re  just wasting your time and effort.

What Is A Myrtillocactus Geometrizans?

The Myrtillocactus Geometrizans is a cactus of the Cactaceae family. These cacti grow up to 4-5 meters tall on large shrubby candelabra-like mother plants, they are most commonly green in color, but they also come in the colors of dark turquoise, reddish-brown, and purple.  

There are some reports that suggest people have seen them in red and dark pink, but to date these have never been formally categorized and, so cannot be confirmed.

These cacti originate from Mexico, and they are both seasonal and edible. They bloom delicate, creamy, white colored flowers in the spring which later turn into sweet dark purple and blue berries that tend to stay on the plant for an extended period of time.

Once the plant starts fruiting many have been known to continue for several months during the summer depending on the availability of water and other growing conditions.

blue candle cactus

What Is The Common Name Of The Myrtillocactus Geometrizans?

There are many common names of the Myrtillocactus Geometrizans, but the most commonly used names for this cactus are the following “bilberry cactus”, “whortleberry cactus” and “blue candle cactus”.

The Myrtillocactus Geometrizans name comes from Latin origin. “Myrtillocactus” meaning “blue cactus” and “Geometrizans” meaning “geometric” or “having formal patterns”.

The most commonly used nicknames for the cactus all refer to the cactus’ appearance and fruit. “Bilberry cactus” or “Whortleberry cactus” is refers to the plant’s dark purple blue berries that it grows.

Traditionally called “Bilberries”, bilberry/whortleberry is a fruit that is closely related to blueberries even though blueberries grow in incredibly wet bog like conditions and this succulent grows best in polar opposite arid conditions.

Not only that, but this is also despite the fact that these cacti berries taste nothing like blueberries.

The common name “Blue candle” refers to the cactus’ blue color and its natural growing form on a candelabra like plant.

bilberry cactus

What Are The Benefits Of The bilberry cactus?

The Myrtillocactus Geometrizans has many benefits, from environmental to health. The cactus helps remove toxins via its antioxidant activity.

We hunted for an ORAC (Oxidative Radical Absorbance Capacity) scale rating for the plant, and none are available in any of the limited scientific literature(s) on this plant.

This succulent may help keep your air fresh as it’s been found to process greater than normal amounts of carbon dioxide per pound of plant flesh than most other plants in the world.

It has been suggested that it actually has a plus 12 on the environmental impact rating scale of plants. This may not sound significant until you realize that the grass in your yard has a rating of between 3 and 4 depending on the variety.

The higher the rating the better.

The fruits of the cactus have been shown to help lower high cholesterol and have shown that they may be good for helping combat both obesity and diabetes and it has anti-viral and ant-inflammatory properties. Talk about good vibes from a plant!

History Of The Whortleberry Cactus

There is no known recorded information of the Myrtillocactus Geometrizans other than those stating its origins are from Mexico, with some claiming that it might also be from Guatemala.

There may be some evidence to suggest that it originated in Mexico and then because of its nutritionally packed berries was transported via trade routes to other countries one of which being Guatemala.

There is no formal literature to confirm this, so we are sticking with the Mexico origins for now and will update if other credible information emerges.  

How To Take Care Of A Myrtillocactus Geometrizans?

The best recommended soil is one that allows great drainage and aeration, go for a sandy, pebbly mix with 50 percent potting soil to let air and water go through. It’s very important that your soil and pot don’t allow for standing water as this can literally kill your succulent.

Give your cactus 1-5-1 fertilizer with a high phosphorus level or a fish dilution once in the spring just when it starts to wake up from its winter dormancy. Just one fertilization will carry your plant though it’s growth season and allow it to flower and fruit.

Avoid giving your cactus any fertilizer during its dormant period in the winter, it won’t use it and it may actually burn the root system depending on the fertilizer you choose.

In the spring and summer, leave the cactus out in direct sunlight for 6 hours per day and place it in a cooler semi shaded spot in the winter.

An area where the suns arch naturally gives 6 hours or so of sun during the summer is perfect. If kept indoors you can approximate that same arch with a window.

Ideally, keep your Myrtillocactus Geometrizans out of temperatures below 50 F (10 C), and never let your cactus go below 24.8 F (4 C).

This plant is NOT cold hardy and will die in temperatures below freezing and especially below 24.8 degrees F.

If it has frozen in those types of temperatures then the chances of rejuvenating it are slim and none and slim just left town (I.E. not good).

The Myrtillocactus Geometrizans doesn’t need much water until the summer months, during these hotter months you must regularly water your cactus but let it dry out completely before watering them again.

The dry and soak method works very well for this type of succulent as it does for most actually.

This method is easy. All you need to do is check the soil with your finger. If it’s bone dry, water the cactus, if not, then don’t water it yet and check back each week until it is.

When you do water it, soak all the soil around the plant but don’t pour water directly on top of the plant of it will collect it potentially causing rot and attracting unwanted pests.

Once the soil is soaked, just simply wait until it’s bone dry again before soaking it the next time.

In the winter, you will need to water it far less, it’s this cycle along with longer hours of sunlight in the summer that let it know it’s time to bloom and get pollinated.

If you want the plant to grow its berries and it’s strictly an indoor pant you will need to manually pollinate it yourself.

Ideally, you’d move it outdoors as the temperatures climb so that the bee’s and flies can take care of the pollination for you. This more natural method is preferred amongst the majority of gardeners that we speak too.

bilberry cactus

What Is The Best Soil To Use For My Whortleberry Cactus ?

The best soil to use for the Myrtillocactus Geometrizans is one that has great aeration and allows water drainage, along with a really good pot that provide the same. A sandy, porous, or a pebbly mix with a 50 percent potting soil base is a really good soil that’s great for letting the air flow freely through the soil to dry up excess water and helps prevent any being left which minimizes over watering risks.

How Often Should I Water My Blue Candle Cactus ?

In the summer months, water your cactus regularly and let it dry out completely before watering it again. In the winter, reduce how often you water it to prevent over watering and rotting.

The cactus will be dormant during that period and the excess water that you give it will be used super slowly and can cause root rot.

How Much Light Should I Give My Myrtillocactus Geometrizans?

Put your Myrtillocactus Geometrizans out in direct full sunlight in the spring and summer for about 6 hours per day and then move it into a spot  that has mostly indirect lighting or semi shade in the winter.

What Temperature Should I Keep My Blue Candle Cactus?

Ideally, don’t keep your cactus in temperatures below 50 F (10 C), and never let your cactus go below 24.8 F (4 C), it will cause frostbite and your cactus will die.

As we mentioned above, these cacti are not cold hardy and once they freeze they tend not to come back from that, which means you’ll lose your plant.

How To Propagate Myrtillocactus Geometrizans

You can propagate a Myrtillocactus Geometrizans from seeds and stem cuttings. It is best to propagate in the spring and summer in temperatures of 65 F (18 C) for roots to develop and let them thrive.

 You can take the seeds from the fruits of the cactus, clean and dry them, and then plant them in a pot of well-drained soil.

You can also just dry the berries themselves without any heat and plant the entire berry in the spring. This is after all the way nature really intended.

The berry around the seed acts as a natural fertilizer to supply much needed nutrients to the seedling as it begins to sprout.

Just create a depression in the soil with your finger, a stick or even a pencil, then drop the seed in, cover it up and soak the soil for the entire pot.

For stem cuttings, you will need a sterilized cutting knife and cut near the stem. Let the cactus dry out completely for two or three weeks and then plant it in some well-drained soil with aeration that was just soaked.

Are Myrtillocactus Geometrizans Poisonous?

Myrtillocactus Geometrizans are not poisonous, they have dark purple blue berry fruits that grow on the plant that are quite nutritious.

Are Blue Candle Cactus Edible?

The fruits on the Myrtillocactus Geometrizans are edible. The cactus grows dark purple blue berries that are called Bilberries, which have a bunch of positive health benefits.

Such as, they are high in cholesterol fighting compounds, they have been shown to help with obesity and even diabetes and they have anti-inflammatory properties as well.

Are Myrtillocactus Geometrizans Seasonal?

The Myrtillocactus Geometrizans are seasonal. They bloom creamy, white colored flowers in the spring which later turn into sweet dark purple-blue berries called Bilberries. In the winter, the plant goes dormant and requires far less care.

Are Myrtillocactus Geometrizans Grown Indoors Or Outdoors?

bilberry cactus

The Myrtillocactus Geometrizans can be grown both indoors and outdoors. The methods for growing your cactus won’t need to be changed drastically unless it’s subjected to quite chilly temperatures.

If temperatures get below 24.8 F (4 C), bring your cactus in to prevent it from becoming frost bitten and dying.

What Are The Most Common bilberry cactus Pests and Diseases?

The most common diseases that the Myrtillocactus Geometrizans gets are bacterial and fungal infections that are caused by over watering. Water your cactus only when it is totally dry and reduce watering in the winter.

Once it has a bacterial or fungal infection it’s quite susceptible to leaf mealybugs and root mealybugs.

Another nemesis Scales, come in two varieties, armored and soft. If your leaves are dry, you have armored scales, if your leaves a shiny and sticky, you have soft scales.

To remove them, you can use insecticide and rubbing alcohol, but it is suggested to scrape off as much of the scales as you can with your fingertips, or a Q-tip dipped in some rubbing alcohol.

Mealybugs can be identified by a white fluffy wax substance on the leaves, they like to hide in hidden places like under leaves. If you have root mealybugs, they will most likely hang around the root stem just above the soil. To remove mealybugs, you can dose your cactus in neem oil and insecticide soaps.

Sources:
1. https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Antonio_Nieto8/publication/51035549_Anti-Inflammatory_and_Cytotoxic_Activities_of_Chichipegenin_Peniocerol_and_Macdougallin_Isolated_from_Myrtillocactus_geometrizans_Mart_ex_Pfeiff_Con/links/5d8bb41ca6fdcc25549a3db2/Anti-Inflammatory-and-Cytotoxic-Activities-of-Chichipegenin-Peniocerol-and-Macdougallin-Isolated-from-Myrtillocactus-geometrizans-Mart-ex-Pfeiff-Con.pdf

2. https://www.hindawi.com/journals/ecam/2015/589350/

3.https://pdfs.semanticscholar.org/de5e/507e903d838d91dc5ce6cca38a599ffbe958.pdf