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PlantFiles: Dutchman's Pipe Cactus, Night blooming Cereus
Epiphyllum oxypetalum

Family: Cactaceae (kak-TAY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Epiphyllum (ep-ih-FYE-lum) (Info)
Species: oxypetalum (oks-ee-PET-al-um) (Info)

Synonym:Cereus oxypetalus
Synonym:Phyllocactus oxypetalus
Synonym:Cereus latifrons
Synonym:Epiphyllum latifrons
Synonym:Epiphyllum acuminatum

» View all varieties of Orchid Cactus

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Cactus and Succulents

8-10 ft. (2.4-3 m)

18-24 in. (45-60 cm)
24-36 in. (60-90 cm)

USDA Zone 11: above 4.5 °C (40 °F)

Sun Exposure:
Sun to Partial Shade
Light Shade


Bloom Color:
White/Near White

Bloom Time:
Mid Spring
Late Spring/Early Summer
Mid Summer
Late Summer/Early Fall


Other details:
Flowers are fragrant
This plant is suitable for growing indoors
Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater
This plant may be considered a protected species; check before digging or gathering seeds

Soil pH requirements:
5.1 to 5.5 (strongly acidic)
5.6 to 6.0 (acidic)
6.1 to 6.5 (mildly acidic)

Patent Information:

Propagation Methods:
By dividing rhizomes, tubers, corms or bulbs (including offsets)
From leaf cuttings
From herbaceous stem cuttings
Allow cut surface to callous over before planting

Seed Collecting:
N/A: plant does not set seed, flowers are sterile, or plants will not come true from seed

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117 positives
12 neutrals
1 negative

Gardeners' Notes:

Neutral lancer23 On May 25, 2014, lancer23 from San Francisco, CA wrote:

I've this plant for 7 yrs. I've never seen it bloom because everytime the bud forms it falls off:-( I've asked expert and they don't really have an answer except give it more fertilizer. I've gotten the oldest plant sick with spider mite and mealy bug investagtions. I spray and then let it go out for the summer and it recovered. I've started many plants from that just 1 plant but sadly no blooms for me. Still without bloods its still a very beautiful plant. I've gotten my cuttings from this shop lady's window and her plant is 7 ft tall, touches the ceiling and needs tieing up, top heavy and gets full sun inside her shop window at the coldest part of the foggy city of SF. It blooms Ok and the gigantic beautiful flower is something I wish I can have.

Positive sijanise On Mar 19, 2014, sijanise from Garden Oaks, Houston, TX wrote:

My mother got her 1st plant in 1975. I can't even guess how many plants have been made off of the original. All it takes is one leaf put in a pot of dirt, and poof, you have a new plant. Roots and grows amazingly. My plant thrives on neglect. I just put it in partial shade and water when it gets dry. Last year it had about 10-13 bloom cycles but its at least 7 years old and about 5 feet tall and 5 feet wide. I ALWAYS put it in my greenhouse for winter or bring it inside. It does not like to get cold. Its a tropical cactus after all. I have watch parties when a a bud opens...They are bigger then my hand and the smell is amazing. Its a great looking plant when not in bloom. I adore this plant.

Positive mensamom On Sep 2, 2013, mensamom from Laurens, SC (Zone 7b) wrote:

Very easy to grow in milder areas, moved mine from CA to AZ and now in SC, zone 7B. It is sensitive to extreme cold here so I move it to the garage near a window where it gets filtered light and cut back on the water for the winter. Once spring arrives, I move it to my covered porch where it is out of direct sun as it will sunburn it this humid climate. Love my NBC and have had the same plant for over 20 years. Some leaf sections were given to me and I was told to "damage" the ends of the leaves to help them establish roots. So I took the poor innocent leaves and whacked the ends of them and stuck them in a pot filled with regular potting soil. It took off (in CA) and bloomed the following fall. Beautiful blooms! Love this carefree and beautiful plant!!!!

Positive djhh On Jun 4, 2013, djhh from Bloomfield Township, MI wrote:

I have had this plant for nearly 25 years; through four residents and various window directions. I have always maintained a cuttings in water for replacing any I killed.

Last year I replanted in cactus soil and set in east facing window. I HAVE A BLOOM. (Bud actually). The bud is hanging under another another plant and was almost missed.

I am not sure when it will bloom. I do not think it is mature enough to open yet, based on other pictures. The sun is shinning this week.

Positive parrotma32578 On Apr 15, 2013, parrotma32578 from Niceville, FL (Zone 8b) wrote:

Mine bloomed 5 times last year. One bloom was very dramatic. I posted a video of my five plants blooms on You Tube. Here is the link:

Positive otter1971 On Sep 1, 2012, otter1971 from Saint Augustine, FL wrote:

I inherited my mom's plant, which I had never seen in bloom before. I did a little digging around and found that this plant likes to be slightly root bound, don't go for a big roomy pot. Upon re-potting it with some fresh rich soil in a slightly snug pot it has rewarded me with explosive growth and several blooms.
I have mine hanging on a fence under a my crape myrtle trees. The plant gets good light but not direct sun. In the spring it gets more light as the trees are bare. I do little to protect it from the cold but when the temperature is supposed to go below 40 I move it under the carport next to the house or in the garage if we're expecting a freeze. Good luck with this plant. It's not the most attractive thing, but the blooms are spectacular!

Positive hoagk On Aug 17, 2012, hoagk from Northfield, OH wrote:

I have had a cereus for several years, and am always able to bloom it if I put it out for the summer, somewhere not too sunny, where it can stay through the fall. Once the night temps start to fall, I always find a flowerbud or two, and usually have flowers on some mid-September night. I live in Ohio zone 5.

Positive Work1ders On Jul 21, 2012, Work1ders from Glassport, PA wrote:

Very easy to root, moderate to fast growth.

Positive thyme4jb On Jun 11, 2012, thyme4jb from Elgin, TX (Zone 8b) wrote:

I received a large plant about two months ago. Before I looked up info. on it, I had divided it into 5 pots, placing all in a morning sun location, and watered it every other day, keeping it moist all the time. I was surprised to see two buds, one on one plant and another on another plant, and very excited from what I had read about the blooming, etc. One of the buds fell off just days after I saw it, but the other grew and finally blossomed. I took 2 hour interval pictures of it through the night and was heady from it's intense fragrance. Can hardly wait til it blooms again.

Positive xbellatrix On Nov 29, 2011, xbellatrix wrote:

What someone said several responses below: " patient. In my experience, E. oxypetalum thrives on neglect and eventually rewards the patient gardener with an amazing floral show."

I totally agree with this. I personally had no hands-on experience with this plant, but my mother has. Two years ago, she left this plant in a pot outside (NYC) all year round, doing absolutely nothing with it. She had half a mind to dispose of it during the winter, but decided otherwise. I can't remember which month it was, but during the summer, we started to see a couple of buds! It blooms in the very same day, at night time. We brought it inside the house and took loads of pictures. By the time we woke up in the morning, it had wilted.

This summer, it bloomed again. It's very beautiful. I'll be sure to take some pictures and post it here the next time it happens! I never really appreciated how magnificent and mysterious this flower is until today.

So, regarding that quote above posted by someone here, just be patient. It'll grow on its own time and pace. I'm not aware of anything the gardener has to do to help it grow, but I'll be sure to amend this advice if I find out otherwise!

Positive MNgrow On Nov 7, 2011, MNgrow from Wayzata, MN wrote:

What makes several whole leaf tips get sick looking for about 3/4 to an inch up?

I think too much water?

I scanned very entry but saw no reference.

Positive Meehlticket On Sep 29, 2011, Meehlticket from Daphne, AL (Zone 8b) wrote:

I live on a hill five miles from Mobile Bay. I have kept my white night blooming Cereus in a large pot for the last year and a half. It was in the full sun - at least 6 hours of hot sun. For a while I thought it was too sunny for it because some of the leaves looked yellow or bleached out. Osmacote in the spring, plus it is in light rich soil.
We had a drenching yesterday, this morning about 8 blossoms popped open. There are 26 buds still waiting to open.
Someone once told me the secret to getting a Cereus to bloom is to avoid them temptation to divide the plant - it blooms on at least year old fronds. I don't know if that is true or not.
I have a red Cereus that was kept in part sun (4 hours or less of full sun) over the summers - same age - no buds or blossoms. I think that is a clue!

Positive psmmrlin On Sep 5, 2011, psmmrlin from Tucson, AZ wrote:

First cutting in 1983, hanging pots bloomed once a year, always at night. In later years my prolific "mother plant" was named Big Ugly by my family. Moved to a lake setting, Big Ugly NEVER bloomed (grew very green and lush in a huge pot under shade trees, was moved inside garage for winters in north Louisiana), although anything I broke off and stuck in other pots of (eg, bougainvillea) would bloom like crazy. Blooms on the ones I put out on the boat dock STAYED OPEN ALL DAY and bloomed all summer, swear - same plant. Gave cuttings to lotsa folks over the years, including my NWLA Master Gardener group. Left Louisiana and BU behind, went full time in our motorcoach, and recently obtained a new "baby" cutting from a plant grown from a piece of Big Ugly. She calls hers Little Ugly, and now I have Baby Ugly. Baby Ugly has put on a whole new leaf in about a month, and I am thrilled to start over with this amazing plant - thanks Susan! Sure hope the Baby likes the mobile life. I'll try to find the photos of all the blooms still open past noon out on the dock, and try to post one.

Positive mlrplast On Sep 2, 2011, mlrplast from Red Bud, IL wrote:

I appreciate all of the detailed information provided for this plant and all the posts and growing experiences.

I have had an Epiphyllum that was given to me by my father nearly 43 years. In that time, it has bloomed only 4 times (I have one blossom coming on now - which counts as #5). I grow it in a terra cotta pot and rarely, if ever, transplant. We live in S.E. Illinois.

I used to take it outside - but it nearly drowned one summer before I realized it and I had to start over - salvaging the leaves and replanting. It is now large again and occupies a corner of our sun room and has grown to ceiling height. It stays there all year long. It is too large to move and has wound itself around curtain rods and our cornice for support.

I see photos of these plants with multiple blooms and know I must be doing something wrong. Can someone share their watering, fertilizing, general growing tips with me? I would love to have multiple blooms yearly, if possible. Thank you.

Positive Bodynsoil On Aug 7, 2011, Bodynsoil from Essex Junction, VT wrote:

After having this plant for a little over a year we waiting patiently for the first blooming. We, unfortunately, never saw the single bud that formed and missed the blooming. Another year has arrive and I just came in from my morning check and noticed that the plant is covered with blossoms. I hope to chronicle the exciting process on my blog This site has been a source of inspiration, I love all the photos here and hope to add my own soon .

Negative dpostern On Apr 24, 2011, dpostern from peekskill
United States wrote:

I CANNOT get my two night blooming cereus to bloom! I have had the plant before and could not get that plant to bloom either. What am I doing wrong or what should I be doing to force the plant to bloom? I have had my plants for over 5 years! Please help!

Neutral Omar956 On Mar 2, 2011, Omar956 from Mcallen, TX wrote:

Can you plant a Night-bloomers leaf?
My professor gave us a Night blooming leaf (probably the Cactus, Night blooming Cereus). He told us that we just needed to put the leaf in water for three weeks, which will grow roots. Then plant the leaf with roots in a pot with dirt. But this is a cactus. Won't it cause the leaf to just rot away from the excess water??? I already asked him twice, and I'm afraid he might get annoyed from my lack of trust.

Also if what my teacher said is correct. Then how much water should I put for the leaf? And what kind of minerals, or plant-base can I add to help the leaf produce roots. Would aloe vera be good for the leaf? Or maybe a little bit of organic dirt?

Positive Heathcliffe37 On Jul 11, 2010, Heathcliffe37 from Largo, FL wrote:

Can anybody please suggest how I can solve a problem with my Cereus plant? It is growing rapidly.....and buds keep appearing--like it is trying to bloom--but then small ants (sugar ants) keep attacking the vulnerable buds and destroying it. I am spraying the plant with numerous plant soaps and oils but so far no success. My guess is the ants are attracted to the small banana cuttings I put in the soil to feed it. I have, however, covered up the organic material with plenty of soil. Your feedback and help here would be appreciated. Thanks.

Positive fanfare On Feb 16, 2010, fanfare from Jamaica, NY wrote:

In 2005 I got 3 cuttings of nbc and planted them in a small pot in my living room. It took a while but the cuttings grew very vigorously. It was happy because it was next to my living room window. I had repot it many times. For the first time last year I brought it outside for summer and it grew like a weed because it liked the rain water and the sun. It didnot like the slugs though. My nbc has never bloomed and after reading many of the blogs on this forum I suspect that it is because I repot it too much and in too big pots; I did not know that it likes to be root bound. When I brought in my nbc for winter it almost died. I now have it under a grow light and I think I was giving it too much water. The leaves became very wrinkled and soft with soft scales. I contacted a popular epi grower and describe the problem my nbc was having and he told to repot the plant in new soil. He told to sprinkle the top of the new soil with a plant food/protector. I followed his instructions and am very happy to say that my plant has been sending out new growth. I am so thrilled I just hope that it will reward me by blooming this summer.

Positive KhengHoe On Nov 7, 2009, KhengHoe from Arlington, VA wrote:

This plant can take a lot as an indoor plant. Little sun or water, &c. Mine has at least one round of blooms each year since it has been pot-bound. Instead of cutting off the long stems, let some of the grow out but keep them tied up.

Best of all, the flower is edible. Clean the woody/pulpy part from the middle of the flower. Then just a little egg and milk followed by some panko bread crumbs for a batter and it can be pan-fried or deep-fried. No flavor but a nice novelty food.

Positive mswestover On Oct 9, 2009, mswestover from Yulee, FL (Zone 9a) wrote:

I guess I have day blooming cereus. The flowers are completely open and fragrant at 11am in the morning. Three years old, has bloomed five or six times this year. Root bound in a pot. Started from a couple of cuttings.

Positive nikkidavis26 On Sep 25, 2009, nikkidavis26 from Delray Beach, FL wrote:

Well well well My first experiance with a bloom with this unknown plant I have been watching grow and grow for 3 years now So everynight me and my fiace go for our nightly walk around the house to see how are plants are doing So... How could you miss it It was there his amazing white flower with beautiful orange and yellow spikes I found out today what type of plant it was and I so excited to wait another year till it blooms again thank nature for these beauties!

Positive mgeno On Aug 17, 2009, mgeno from Philadelphia, PA wrote:

I was given a couple clippings of this plant by a friend who told me very little about it. It just seems happy to grow like crazy in sun and lots of waterings. It's bloomed a couple times when I neglected it more which confused me for a while.
I find it interesting that few people speak of the two varieties of this plant. Mine has long branches with finger like leaves along the length of every branch. It's in a hanging planter and looks very like an octopus. I'll have to post a picture soon. I clipped a piece off of mine and it grew in another pot as the other form of plant. This one is spear like leaves. For a while I questioned if it was the same plant after all but then the flowers convinced me it was the same. What I find curious is that most have the spear leaved plant and I havent found any images of the kind that has fingered branches. Email me if you want to share any info with me.

Positive weekiwacheekat On Aug 14, 2009, weekiwacheekat from Spring Hill, FL wrote:

I must be the luckiest grower of this plant ever! I'm reading that most of you waited years before getting a bloom and I had a bloom within 6 weeks of planting one meaty leaf in a pot.
My neighbor gave me 3 large single leaves which someone had given her. I kept them in some water for a couple of weeks. Seeing they weren't going to root in the water, I bought some light potting soil, filled up 2 very large pots and planted one leaf in each one. Because of our location on the water in central Florida, I thought the remaining one leaf would grow well planted in the ground. Several months later the leaf I had planted in a protected area (lots of light but no sun) was turning a sickly yellow and had no growth whatsoever. I dug him up and planted him in a pot and now he has caught up with the other two.
Anyway!!! About a month after planting one of the leaves in a huge pot, I noticed that it was putting out a bud. I thought about cutting it off, thinking that this one leaf couldn't even have roots yet!! And I wanted the plant to have a good start and not spend the energy of blooming. I decided to leave the bud. After all, I had 2 other leaves starting and I was anxious to see this bloom everyone was raving about on this site.
Before 2 weeks was up, I was pretty sure it was going to bloom one Sat. night. My hubby and I went out at dusk and sure enough!!! YYYEEAH!! We watched until about 1 am before we got too tired to stay up any longer. We took many pics of this silly, one leaf with a huge, white, gorgeous blossom? You are right everyone!! This plant is a blast! Now I want a zig-zag plant, which a friend is going to give me a start of. I can't harly wait!
And, this is sort of puzzling because the same leaf put out another bloom about 2 weeks ago in the month of July!! According to everything I have read, it's supposed to blossom in the winter.
I have them placed about 25 feet from the water against a stand of verigated ginger, under a porch overhang. They don't like the sun but love lots of light. All three have grown shoots and leaves and look wonderful now.

Positive cocoloba On Jul 7, 2009, cocoloba from St John's
Antigua and Barbuda (Zone 10a) wrote:

I started a cutting for a friend and the cutting bloomed when it was only about 8" high. My mother plant had been relegated to behind more interesting plants under a tree and one day we decided bring it out and hang it from a Mahogony tree - well it hasn't looked back it has bloomed about 6 times for the year, sometime just like a dozen flowers but a couple ot time dozens and dozens it is getting lots of indirect sun so I guess it like that. Will post a pic when I get home.

Positive dingulus On Jun 26, 2009, dingulus from Edwards, CO wrote:

It's great to see this plant on here! I grew up in West Africa and we had these plants around the house.

It brings back great memories of when I was a child. I recently got a clipping from a plant and am growing it again and after 4 years I have my first bud!

I'm not sure if anyone posted this but there is a hint if you want to make the flower last longer than 1 night (If you want to show friends that don't believe how great it smells or couldn't be there the night of the bloom). Anyway, when the flower is starting to bloom you can clip it and put it in water in a bowl, then keep it in your fridge. It will last several days this way. If you have a lot of blooms you can save a couple! Be careful, it will still wilt in the sun right away!

If someone already posted this then I'm sorry for the redundancy!

Positive paly On Jun 15, 2009, paly from Mandeville, LA wrote:

This plant is amazing!! It smells like Hawaii, its a beautiful experience to watch it bloom, and enjoy the fragrance. This is a MUST have plant.

Positive joegee On Sep 14, 2008, joegee from Bucyrus, OH (Zone 6a) wrote:

This plant when it's not blooming looks a little bit like Audrey II from "Little Shop of Horrors." It spent the summer outside under a crabapple tree, entwining its menacing tendrils in the tree's lower branches. It has not been fertilized, and it has been sparsely watered. It may have been snagging neighborhood pets for nourishment. Come to think of it, where have all the squirrels gone?

In any case, it took eight years, but tonight (9/13/8) my e. oxypetalum bloomed. It is worth *all* of the effort. The bloom is eight inches across, and it puts on a two hour opening show. Following JFullerRenfro's excellent example, I shot a few photographs with a flashlight which have turned out to be stunning. It ain't the photographer. This flower is an amazing subject.

The fragrance of the flower is woodsy and intense up close, but once you get a few feet away it is enchanting. The fragrance is light, spicy, and not sweet, although very pleasant. It lingers on you.

Don't be afraid, be patient. In my experiernce E. oxypetalum thrives on neglect and eventually rewards the patient gardener with an amazing floral show.

Neutral bev18 On Jun 18, 2008, bev18 from Port Alfred
Canada wrote:

We in South Africa regard this plant as an alien invader. It grows all over the place and although I admired it for many years, it was not until a friend of mine showed me the edible portion that I really began to appreciate it.

The flower, in the correct conditions, grows into an interesting fruit which when chilled and sliced, is delicious. Not unlike a Kiwi fruit.

Positive argtndgo On May 2, 2008, argtndgo from Cerritos, CA wrote:

A friend down the street would put a lamp on his plant's almost every night out by the street. He brought his plants over from Vietnam. People would stop and look to see what was going on. The next morning he would lay out 10 to 25 flowers each on a dark sheet as a form of trophy. He said to let them be and don't do anything but water them. He will trim them every other year to get them in line, but nothing else.

I asked him 10 years ago for a cutting and mine has now been growing in a 10 gallon pot since then. They flower when they want, usually with 2 to 4 flowers a night on the plant. Sometimes I get flowers all week sometimes a few weeks in between.

I never knew they would grow indoors so I will have to bring one in for the great smell! Thanks for the info.


Positive sacarvounis On Apr 2, 2008, sacarvounis from Mashpee, MA wrote:

A friend of mine gave me one of these plants when he was clearing out his mothers house. He knew that it was supposed to produce flowers but had never seen it bloom. I had it in a SW facing room and it grew like crazy and had to cut back pretty regularly to control its sprawl. A couple of years ago, I noticed an odd development which I recognized as a bud and the opening was quite an event.....the whole family stayed up to watch. Although this plant is rather low maintenance, obviously healthy (still grows like crazy when the days get longer) I have not been able to figure out how to get it to bloom.....or even why it bloomed 2 yrs ago. Any suggestions??

Positive xaia On Feb 23, 2008, xaia from Kitchener
Canada wrote:

Epiphyllum oxypetalum is an amazing plant. Much like a Christmas cactus, a mature orchid cactus can become a beloved family treasure. It is one of my favourite houseplants as its care requirements are minimal, yet its looks make for a very unique and handsome plant. My 'Queen of the Night' has increased in size year after year, it doesn't ask for much unlike some of my other tropicals which is really nice. I put it out for the summer in the shade of either my home, or move it out under a tree in the yard where it will spend the summer and early fall before coming in for the winter. It grows really fast late in the winter and puts out long cane-like stems, which I prune by half to 3/4 of their length in the spring before I transition it outdoors. Following this, the summer growth appears and develops into those lush, jade-green, flattened phylloclades. When it does bloom the flower is absolutely gorgeous, large, white and buff, and very, very fragrant (the perfume industry has their work cut out for them to duplicate this one). The process is one to witness as it's fleeting, yet really enchanting. You will never forget a Queen of the Night when it blooms. I have propagated it with ease and shared it amongst my family and friends, it's as simple as taking a cutting, allowing it to callus for an hour or two and sticking it in a moist, free draining growing medium and forgetting about it for a few weeks. Given bright, indirect sunlight, even moisture with a drier winter rest, and a good feeding during its active growing period, this Epiphytic cactus is sure to please any who choose to grow it! I'll never be without one! :)

Positive Awchid On Feb 5, 2008, Awchid from Gisborne
New Zealand wrote:

I have grown the Queen for a few years now but was always
away for the main event. A week ago I watched for 5 hrs the
life of this most beautiful of flowers. And the perfume, it's
almost impossible yo describe. I now have about 30 photos
so I can skite to friends. My plants are hanging but I am now going to try an upright one. I have enjoyed reading all the

Positive Vic77 On Nov 14, 2007, Vic77 from North Tonawanda, NY wrote:

Hello, I am giving a “positive” experience, as I don’t have any “negative” :-)
So, I got the plant, very young, I guess cuttings from this year.
It grows well, but I guess I have to wait couple (or more!) years to get the flowers…:(
Oh, well… If anyone has a little plant (maybe 1.5 – 2 years old, or older) for trade
Please let me know. I have something in my “have” list.
About the plant – I found the brown spot on some leafs after the cold night. It happened to be the spots, which touched the pot! The pot was so cold that leafs got the freeze burn from it. I took it inside, now the spots (in the middle of the leafs, as they were connected to the pot side) looks like the dry brown spots in the middle of the green good leaf.
It’s reminder for me – no cold for this plant!
Other then that – it’s OK.

Positive Flowerguy2CA On Oct 28, 2007, Flowerguy2CA from Loma Linda, CA wrote:

I was first given a Queen of the night in 1977 approx. in Riverside, CA by a fellow student at a University. She told me she learned of it being celebrated, when in bloom, by drinking sake and reading poetry in informal house parties in Japan. It moved with me to Loma Linda, CA -- the same plant -- where it finally died in 2003 when I tried adding it to a drip system and went away on vacation, returning to find it disconnected, I cried. I had given starts to my mother in LA and another friend in Portland, Oregon, and Redlands, CA. A Hawaiian friend gave me cuttings last year from another plant when I discovered it growing next to her entryway. I always guessed it was a plant eluded to on the original Dennis the Mennis show, that Mr. Wilson would claim would die if exposed to light. On the contrary my plants have been legendary, I get so excited that I take them when in bloom to "visit" friends, no matter how large a pot I have them in. They have traveled to homes, a bar, and even a New Years Party where the guest named in Solomon or Solee. I tell people the first time they "watch" it bloom they will stay up with it all night. Note: one person mentioned NBC being pollinated by bats, never heard on saw that and there are plenty of bats in my area. I am told they are pollinated by moths, which seems to be the case. Hardly mentioned also -- you can "watch" them bloom, they actually jerk a they unfold. My new cutting from my Hawaiian friend was just a leaft it bloomed a few months after planting it -- so you don't have to wait 2-5 years, I think the key is finding the right microclimate around your house. I also compare it to the aquarium Lion Fish -- for new owners the bud will look like a large white asparagus with tender pink tendrils on the outside. I can always tell the night that buds will open now, by their near bursting appearance. Like the different reports on number of blooms to when it blooms, I have found that they generally begin to bloom after first dark and will reach their peak between 12 a.m. and 3 a.m. depending on conditions (over 25 yrs. + observing them. At their peak the outer tendrils are fully flexed and the fragrance is intense -- reportedly to attract moths which I have observed from time to time. I met a man in Azusa, CA this year, that had one growing in a hanging pot under a large oak tree, in his patio, but he had never seen it bloom. On the day I visited I told him his would bloom that night based on the appearance of the buds, he was skeptical but came out and to his wonder 3 blooms had opened -- he stayed up all night photgraphing it, as I had predicted. Enjoy, it is one of the finest and easiest plants you could have in a collection , Flowerguy2CA

Positive LKL On Sep 17, 2007, LKL from Hamilton, TX (Zone 8b) wrote:

My Queen of the Night hasn't bloomed yet, but it is growing like a weed...and so interesting to watch. (2 yrs old)

I've started new plants by stem cuttings, and cutting a leaf into several segments. I also found out by accident, that if a leaf gets broken other leaves will start forming on that leaf or stem.

I love this plant!

Positive Xerses On Sep 8, 2007, Xerses from Baltimore, MD wrote:

My Queen of the Night is blooming as I type. It has been in my extended family for almost 10 years, and none of us knew what it was. I've been caring for it for almost 4 years now, and last week I noticed it was putting out buds. It had four at first, one has fallen off, and another looks like it is going the same way, but two have made it to big as cloves of garlic. It began blooming at about 8, when I could start seeing white at the tips, right now it is about halfway open (or so I gather from the photos I've seen). It is 10:45 pm. I'm taking photographs, and wishing I had a time lapse camera. It smells heavenly. It is the oddest thing, it shakes back and forth as it opens, though there is no wind at all here in Baltimore tonight. What a joy!

Positive kialex On Jul 10, 2007, kialex from Olympia, WA wrote:

Our NBC bloomed last night, for the first time! We've had it for 17 years. It was a cutting from my father's plant in Corvallis, OR, which came from a cutting originally from my grandmother's ( on my mother's side ) plant in Poughkeepsie, NY. That one was huge, growing up the side of the house. It was planted in a pot set in the ground, and brought in the winter. Who knows how long it has been in the family!

We keep it indoors, and recently moved it from an E. facing window to a S. facing window. Probably because of the extra sunlight, the leaves turned reddish, as you can see in the photo, and it put out one small bloom. We also have been using city water, rather than the well water from our old home. It's been shocked this year.

Positive saraladelfa On Jul 1, 2007, saraladelfa from Clearwater, FL wrote:

I love this plant. I have one that's been growing for about 30 years here in Clearwater, Florida. It's about 60 feet from the bottom to the top and is attached to one of the live oaks in my yard. Every year it blooms about mid-September, but this year, the weather has been so screwy that it bloomed about 200 blooms in September, and about 300 blooms a few days ago. I'm going to try to upload a couple of pictures of it to display.

Neutral ladystressout On Jun 16, 2007, ladystressout from Georgetown, OH (Zone 6b) wrote:

I got one last year from another gardener and it has some brownish stuff on the stem I can scratch it off. It has not bothered the plant from growing but just do not know what it is and what could be causing it.

Positive chlovesplants On Jun 6, 2007, chlovesplants from Murrieta, CA wrote:

I just moved to SoCal 3 months ago from NJ. Unfortunately, all my plants died relocation here because the moving van was delayed in Ohio during a winter storm.
I am looking to start a new plant because I know that it will thrive in my new location. My plants grew into 6 ft trees and, although my husband wanted to leave it behind 15 years ago when we moved from CT to Rancho Bernardo, then back to NJ and now in Murrieta. At one time in RB I had 15 blooms in one night and usually they bloomed at least 4 times in SoCal. We both really miss this most beautiful exotic plant. ch

Neutral patriotnutrients On Jun 1, 2007, patriotnutrients from Oroville, CA wrote:

I recieved my cereus cutting, about 3 years ago, from a friend.. all he knew about the plant was that it is mentioned in an elvis presley movie.. me thinks it may have been "blue hawaii"..

none the less, the cutting rooted right away, and took off very nicely in my western exposed window.. a couple of years ago i put it outside on a sunny april morning and it nearly killed it after only about 3 hours in the direct morning light.. the poor thing barely pulled thru, and really didnt grow much at all last year.. (my amazon parrot my have been a contributing factor in last years growth.. i have since moved much more appetizing flora in his way and he seems to not be too interested in the cereus any longer.. he did feel a need to trim the spike tip off this year)

so it goes pretty much without saying that it hasnt bloomed yet.. i am still a bit reluctant to take it back outside, but after reading some of the postings on this thread, i may find a nice shady spot to set it..

Positive MySharona On May 25, 2007, MySharona from Amelia Island, FL (Zone 9a) wrote:

I fell in love with this plant the moment I saw it. It was on my "need now wish list"! I was given a surprise clipping about 6 months ago during a trade. I was thrilled when I saw it in the box! It has really started to grow. I'm very excited to see how well it does here, but am sure it will do well!

8/24/08 - I have 9 buds and one bloomed last night - darn I missed it. Even the remnants of the bloom is beautiful. Hoping to see a bloom tonight.

Positive flafrench On May 24, 2007, flafrench from Largo, FL wrote:

Our Night-blooming Cereus loves being in our shaded backyard. It receives about 1 - 2 hours of sunlight each day. It has a late summer bloom. After 3 years we finally stayed up one night and watched it bloom. Fabulous.

Positive ORTransplant On May 6, 2007, ORTransplant from Silverton, OR (Zone 8a) wrote:

My mom had a huge Night-bloomer in the sunny atrium-like entryway of my New Mexico childhood home. It periodically would work its way up the iron banister all the way to the second floor, and my mom would chop it back again. I'm sure there are dozens of people in northern NM with clippings from that plant, and I know pieces have been taken as far away as Wisconsin, Florida, and my home now in Oregon.

I remember the first time we saw it bloom. I was five or six and Mom woke us up in the middle of the night to watch the single bloom. It was an exciting and rare event and I remember it being a very special treat to stay up and watch it. By the time I was in Jr High, it was a prolific bloomer -- multiple blooms a night for several nights at a time. Later, my mom began actually cutting off buds to try and prevent it from blooming so much; the fragrance of up to a half dozen flowers in a single night inside the house can be overwhelming.

Still, I love this plant. My mom brought me a leaf last year after she and Dad sold the house. It's grown quickly -- true to it's unruly nature. I'll take a leaf from it again this year to propagate "just in case" and then set the big plant outside as soon as it warms up a bit more and see if I can get it to bloom again.

Neutral BayAreaTropics On Apr 16, 2007, BayAreaTropics from Hayward, CA wrote:

I have mine(starting to) climbing a large Brugsmansia.How's that for a smellathon?

And i cannot believe in all these posts nobody-unless i missed it- has mentioned this plant will be devoured overnight by snails and slugs-be carefull.

Positive RobinEggs On Apr 15, 2007, RobinEggs wrote:

We have grown this plant for years. It's a fascinating treasure to own. Neighbors are always coming to see it bloom or stopping by to see the cool way the bud forms.
The smell of the flowers are so sweet too.
Were always growing plants or giving cuttings away to folks that fall in love with ours.

Positive rucereus On Apr 13, 2007, rucereus from Carpentersville, IL (Zone 5a) wrote:

This is truly an easy plant to grow. The only thing that upsets me is that mine has yet to bloom.The plant is very old and has produced blooms before. Since I have inherited this plant roughly 10 years ago, I have divided it,shared it with friends,and moved it out of the cold in winter and taken it outside in spring. What am I doing wrong!
8-09-07 News flash! Had one bloom about a month ago, have 3 more ready.

Positive bigpapajt13 On Mar 19, 2007, bigpapajt13 from Richmond, TX wrote:

I absolutely love this plant & just wanted to share an e-mail I sent to NEVADASKIDS after reading that he/she had one for 30 years that had never bloomed. When they are unprotected, they seem to bloom after a heavy rain for some reason, but when they are protected, some never bloom. Here is what I sent to NEVADASKIDS...

Just wanted to drop you a quick line after reading that your EPI hadn't bloomed in 30 years. I had one that didn't bloom for a couple years, and sadly asked the person who I got the cutting from WHY? She suggested using a fertilizer high in phosphorus. Nitrogen, phosphorus, & potassium are the three macronutrients you find in most packaged fertilizers. Phosphorus will be the second number of the 3 on the fertilizer. So you want to find one with a high second number like 10-52-10. I tried it & mine started blooming quite regularly. Hope this helps, I can only imagine how frustrated you must be after 30 years.

Positive itasmom On Jan 20, 2007, itasmom from Yuma, AZ wrote:

I live in the Sonoran Desert in AZ. I moved my cereus from Va with me-Igot it from a cutting from a friend of mine. It bloomed once in Va but has not bloomed since we got to AZ. The summers seem too hot for it. It grows like a maniac all winter but starts to turn brown in the summer. I've recently moved it to a pedestal over a new pond we've created. Hoping the humidity and slightly lower temp by the water will help for blooms.

Positive Doreen6157 On Dec 12, 2006, Doreen6157 from South Brunswick, NC wrote:

My plant came from Habitat For Humanity. I paid $5.00 for it not knowing what it was, for, like others, I thought it was quite an unusual plant. I did alot of research trying to find out what it was and just today, after having had it for about 3 months, I went on a home tour and the owner of the house had one and told me what it was! I was very excited to find out what it was and afterward went home and got on the internet and found this website. (Great website, by the way!) I repotted my plant and that was it. It has 5 tall stalks growing out of the base of the plant. Can someone tell me what they do? Can I use them for cuttings? Or do they just grow and grow and grow with nothing ever coming out of them? Anyway, I love this plant and it will be interesting if anything blooms on it this spring , summer or fall when I put it back outside.

Neutral blossombloom On Dec 1, 2006, blossombloom from Griffin, GA wrote:

How beautiful! I think I just feel head over heels (lol). I live in south Georgia and I wonder if I could have this beauty in my garden. I'll give everyone an update on this little project later on for us Georgians. Or if you happen to live in GA please give me details.

Neutral plantladylin On Oct 26, 2006, plantladylin from South Daytona, FL (Zone 9b) wrote:

I'm deleting my previous comments because I have found out my plant is not the E. Oxypetalum but rather the E. hookeri.

Positive QueenieBee On Oct 25, 2006, QueenieBee from Anthony, FL wrote:

I have several of these growing in my back yard. While it is a pain to stake them since they grow so long and don't stand up, it is well worth it when you see that first bloom.

I was lucky enough to witness (and video) mine a few weeks ago. It bloomed from about 2 am until about 6 am.

It has a very sweet fragrance.

Positive mickey_1 On Oct 7, 2006, mickey_1 from Brooklyn, NY wrote:

I need help with my plant. I've had it for three years and it just started growing or I should say forming new leaves. I don't know if I should replant it or leave it the way it is. Is it too young to bloom? Please help!!! I will upload it....someone please take a look at it. You can't miss it...its the little one.

Positive Ms_Apropri8 On Sep 27, 2006, Ms_Apropri8 from Saint Clair Shores, MI wrote:

Tonight is the night! I received a clipping, after admiring this crazy plant, from an elderly historian. She was only too thrilled to clue me in on this amazing plant. I watched it explode the first year and now in its second year with me it has a bud. The plant is now over 4 feet tall and 3 feet wide. I live in Michigan and it is now the beginning of fall. So I have it indoors now at night. I would like to take pictures of it , ( I think that tonight is it) but I am unsure if it is alright to turn on any lights around it.

Positive Shway9 On Sep 21, 2006, Shway9 from Philadelphia, PA wrote:

My family and I have had this plant for over 12 years and it had never once grown flowers. But this month (September), after 12 long years, the plant suprisingly grew 5 beautiful flowers. This plant is definitely unique and special.

Positive jaspersdale On Sep 10, 2006, jaspersdale from Jasper, IN wrote:

My neighbor gave me a start from his Epiphyllum oxypetalum two years ago. Last spring (2005) I moved it to my yard after danger of frost had past. It rewarded me with three spectacular blooms. In the fall, I moved it to an unheated bedroom with a northern exposure where the temperature stayed around 50 degrees through the winter.

This spring I moved the pot to my yard to a place where it had full exposure to the sun. I was disappointed that it only produced one bloom in early July while I was out of town. I thought that was going to be it for the season. Imagine my surprise when, two weeks later, I noticed at least 50 new flower buds forming! Many dropped off before fully maturing, but eighteen did survive to maturity, ten of which opened in one night.

A third blooming yielded eleven blooms, the last three of which opened last night. And now, I see some more flower buds forming for a fourth blooming.

Because of having full sun exposure, the leaves have yellowed considerably. I’m thinking of putting it on my screened porch with a northern exposure next summer to protect the leaves, but I’m afraid to mess with success where the blooming is concerned.

My watering and fertilizing was pretty erratic. I probably gave it about half as much water as I gave other potted outdoor plants. I did give it some Miracle Gro two or three times. The plant has grown to over six feet tall and is a bit unwieldy to move in and out of the house. I’m thinking of cutting it back before bringing it in for the winter and starting new plants from the cuttings.

Positive Lotus32 On Sep 4, 2006, Lotus32 from Perrysburg, OH wrote:

My cereus was a start from a large pad right after the blooming. then 2 years later... Bam!! three flowers total, two on one night, and one on the next. Right when they open the air fills with the sweet scent that it produces. It is one of my favorite plants ever!!!!!!!!!


zone 6a Perrysburg,Ohio

Positive JFullerRenfro On Aug 16, 2006, JFullerRenfro from Clarksville, IN wrote:

A Chinese storekeeper gave me a small piece of leaf from her NBC which had broken off the plant. After five years of growth, last year (2005), the plant put out two blooms which both opened on the same night ( has my pics from last year's blooms. This year, the plant has put out three blossoms (one opened 7/31 (no pics); one opened 8/14 ( for those pics); one will open 8/15). It has other "budlets" coming along; some have dropped off, others seem as if they may develop into blossoms.

One of the most interesting parts of this plant is HOW the blossoms develop--coming straight off the leaf, with the leaf developing thick veins to support the blossom. The unusual blossom placement can lead to "hidden" buds...I didn't even notice last year's bloom until the day it started to open.

The plant is hardy; needs little care (I put it on my back porch all spring through fall and on top of the fridge in the winter). This year, mine blew off the porch 5 times in strong storms before I managed to anchor the pot firmly; the plant forgave me enough to set at least three successful blooms.

Positive catzpal On Aug 9, 2006, catzpal from Port Saint Lucie, FL wrote:

I have a plant that is HUGE. I have it in a container as it has been classified as invasive. It started as a small cutting from my grandmother's plant more than 25 years ago. The cutting lived for almost two years just in water, as I never seemed to get around to planting it! It was a houseplant up north, and in Florida it has become taller than I am and as big around as it is tall. It is almost always in bloom (although the blossoms really do only open at night). The buds are unusual and my neighbor says they look like some strange alien pod. The blossoms are often the size of small dinner plates and have a sweet scent. It prefers to be root bound for blooming and size can be limited by keeping container size small.
As a succulent, it is easy to grow with minimal watering and requires only fertizling when the leaf color starts to fade from dark green to light. It is very easy to propgate from cuttings.

Positive greenbud On Jul 27, 2006, greenbud from Houston, TX (Zone 8b) wrote:

I finally got this plant to bloom this year! I've had it for probably 4 or 5 years with no blooms, but this year it's in a new big pot, and it's blooming like crazy! I finally saw two open blooms tonight! I am SO excited! I love this unusual plant.

Positive LC2sgarden On Jul 21, 2006, LC2sgarden from Bolivar, TN (Zone 7a) wrote:

I can trace the origin of my NBC back to the 1920's when a lady gave a piece of it to my grandmother. When she died it passed to my mother. When she had to go into a nursing home in Jacksonville, FL, my youngest brother took the plant. When he passed away in the mid-80's I took over the plant. It is now July 2006 and the plant is still in my possession. I am getting older (60's) and my health is failing. None of our children are interested in it so I put out an offer on a DG site. Sent some of it to WVA and told Chantall the story of this plant. One year when I was in highschool (50-s) the plant had over 70 blossoms in one night. A picture of me and the plant in full bloom was published in the FL Times Union. I still have the picture. The sweet smell drew people from 3 blocks around. It was a magical night. Of course the plant has been cut back and and pieces of it passed along around the USA. I have hauled it from Jacksonville, FL to Virginia Beach, VA, to Bolivar, TN and I guess this will be the end of it when I go. It overwinters in my greenhouse and spends summer in the shade. Had 17 blossoms this yr.

Positive RICKinNC On Jul 12, 2006, RICKinNC from Indian Trail, NC (Zone 7b) wrote:

I was fortunate to have a friend from Moshiem, Tn. give me 2 clippings from one of their plants 2 years ago. I gave one to my mother and I kept one. Hers has grown triple in size but has never bloomed. Mine bloomed 3 times last year with 2 blooms the first time, 1 the second, and 2 more the third time. I had done everything wrong as I watered it too frequently, kept in full sunlight during the hot summer days here in North Carolina and had transplanted it early on to a much larger pot to give the roots plenty of room. I have since read that all of the above was incorrect. I guess I just got lucky from what others have posted here. This year it has already bloomed once (on July 5th) but unfortunately I missed it, thinking it would happen the following evening. I have given away several clippings to friends, and one I had given away to a good neighbor just last year, bloomed just the other night during the full moon. When I think back to the first time I've ever experienced seeing its awesome blooms and smelling it's sweet fragrance in Tennessee, it was after returning from the fall Nascar Bristol Cup race around 2:00am and it happened to be a full moon that night in late August.
Has anyone else even noticed the timeing of blooms opening during a full moon? Thanks much to the owner of this very informative website I've found here from doing a google search a while back.

During the first two weeks of Sept. '06, I had my 4th blooming of the year. This time I had 22 buds of which only 5 didn't mature and dropped off. Even though they all started at the same time, and early on all were the same size, I had one single bloom on Saturday eve then another single bloom the following night. It was Thursday until the next single bloom opened but on Friday, 11 opened and on Saturday, the last 3 bloomed. My mothers plant from the same 2 year old clipping finally produced it's first 2 blooms last night.

Positive GreenEyedGuru On Jul 11, 2006, GreenEyedGuru from SF Bay Area, CA (Zone 9b) wrote:

This thing is amazing.. It lives thru our (no rain) summers, winters, everything with no care at all. It's only bloomed once in two years, but hopefully more to come..

Neutral Edit On Jul 4, 2006, Edit from Toronto
Canada wrote:

Hello dear gardening experts.We have one of the Queen of the Night plant for over 20 years. It bloomed several times and gave us many beautiful flowers. We admired this interesting plant and showed off with pictures of the beautiful flowers. We are very sad now, due to a disease of the plant. The leaves quickly getting black and paper thin, almost every day we have to remove several infected leaves. We would like to know what is the problem and how can we cure the plant. We are worried, that it is dying. However last week we discovered 3 buds on it.
Hope somebody can help us solving this problem.
Thank you

Positive mandy_Ireland On Jun 21, 2006, mandy_Ireland from co armagh
United Kingdom wrote:

I was given a leaf to grow three years ago and low and behold last year I had two blooms and this year so far I have had fourteen and awaiting another twelve, the family comes round and we all watch the blooms opening in late evening.
No real special treatment, I usually snip off the long green shoots when they reach three foot or so and this seems to bring on the tiny buds. I grow it in the sun lounge here in Northern Ireland, havent changed the pot or soil yet!

Neutral Xenomorf On May 1, 2006, Xenomorf from Valley of the Sun, AZ (Zone 9b) wrote:

More synonyms of this plant are Phyllocactus acuminatus, Phyllocactus latifrons, Cereus latifrons & Cereus oxypetalus.

Positive padme On Mar 1, 2006, padme from Plano, TX (Zone 7b) wrote:

Yes, when this plant blooms, the smell is indescribably rich, and the blooms only last for one night. And the plant's pollinator, you might have guessed it, is a night creature: bats!

My 27 year old plant started as a leaf cutting from a 20 year old plant in Boston, MA. It has been potbound in the same twelve inch terra cotta pot ever since, and has multiplied to many households. (Neglect, and very little time and energy keep it thriving. Just don't feed it too much, nor keep it too wet. The normal range of temperatures that keep humans happy will keep it happy.)

In 1992 I was living on the fifth floor of an inner city building with no air conditioning, with loose, roll down screens on the bedroom windows. Lo and behold, one warm summer's night when two blooms appeared, I was awakened at about one am with two bats scratching at the screens. I stared, amazed as they found their way under the edges, determined to get to the prize.

Since then I have moved to warmer climates in Texas, and that root bound plant spends more time outdoors in the shade of our backyard trees. I have never stayed up all night to see if the bats come now, but I can't help wondering if they do. Each time I witness the blooms unfolding, and revel in their overwhelming fragrance, I remember the circle of life, and the city bats that were so inexplicably determined to do their job. Each year's blooming is always a joy and a wonder, but that particular "bat" year was one I will never forget. Just how did those bats ever find those blooms on that one particular night of the year?

We share this world with so many plants and critters, and this intersection, on a fifth floor downtown city apartment, was a true gift. May all beings experience the wonder!

The night blooming cereus is one of those plants that has many "stories" to share with its caregivers. I highly recommend the adventure.

Positive jarrett622 On Jan 13, 2006, jarrett622 from Galax, VA wrote:

I first learned about this plant from our neighbor. Actually, we share some common rooms in an apt building. He has one of these plants and gave me a cutting from it. His plant has sent out two flower stalks so far. My plant, which is only about 3 months in the pot, is also sending out a flower stalk. Yes, this plant can be a pain to deal with at times but it's very interesting and I can't wait for it to actually flower! He has his in an aquarium with a Aloe plant. They seem to do well together and the aquarium helps to contain this plant somewhat, the walls giving it something to 'lean' on.

Positive delonix26 On Dec 16, 2005, delonix26 from 29440
France wrote:

Wonderful plant. The stem grows higher and higher. The flowers are specially big. I grow Epi oxyp in my veranda.

Positive araras On Nov 20, 2005, araras from Petropolis-ARARAS
Brazil wrote:

Our plant is blooming once a year about midnight (end December - zone 11) : tropical altitude forest (1.050 meters). The plant produces 20 to 30 flowers.

Positive singaboiz On Nov 12, 2005, singaboiz from Oakland, CA wrote:

I used to grow one when I was living in Denver but gave away when I moved back home overseas. Now, I am back to the Bay Area of California and want to restart and grow this plant again.

Positive Allison_FL On Oct 27, 2005, Allison_FL from Dunedin, FL (Zone 10b) wrote:

I was given my Night Blooming Cerus plant small in a 4 " pot two years ago by my Aunt in her 80's. It has been in my family 125 years. It was my Great Grand Mothers ! Mine grows like a weed and bloomed the first year. This is it's second year and it has bloomed at least a dozens times from Spring to fall. Mine grows outsdie year round i Florida with little care. I grow it in the same soil as my African violets and feed it the same food. I am going to plant some under a tree in my morning sun /shade garden. I have shared dozesn of cuttings and potted plants with other it just keeps growing. It fascinates me and is a true treasure.
This is the greatest plant to grow :))

Positive happygardening On Oct 21, 2005, happygardening from Fox, AR wrote:

This is one of my very FAVORITE plants! I have one that's a year old, and going strong! Exceptionally easy to grow, and beautiful, as well as interesting! As long as you control their growth, they won't get unruly. To dispel some questions I read on the forum, the plant DOESN'T need to be three years old to bloom, and to bear fruit it has to be cross-pollinated with another clone of oxypetalum, or another clone of epiphylliums.

"An easily cultivated, fast growing epiphyte. Needs compost containing plenty of humus and sufficient moisture in summer. Should not be kept under 10ºC (50ºF) in winter. Can be grown in semi-shade or full sun. Extra light in the early spring will stimulate budding. Flowers in late spring or early summer and large specimens can produce several crops of flowers in a season. This is the most commonly grown of the Epiphyllum species and known under several nick-names such as; Night Blooming Cereus, Dutchman's Pipe and Queen of the Night."

"Oxypetalum (Lat.) = with acute petals, refers to the acute tepals of this species."

"This species was originally described from cultivated material and its true place of origin has never been known."

Origin and Habitat
"Mexico to Venezuela & Brazil. Epiphytic or lithophytic. 75-2.000 m alt. Widely cultivated and escaped in many places and its true origin has never been fully understood."

"This species is closely related to E. thomasianum and E. pumilum, but quite distinct."

The below caption is from Jim Hunter's site:

"Everyone has one. Everyone wants to know what it is. It is most likely, that the plant you have, that you call "Night Blooming Cereus", is actually Epiphyllum oxypetalum. Oxypetalum is easily identified by its unique bloom. While the bud is forming, it grows pointing downward. A few days before it blooms, the bud starts to point upward. When it finally blooms, the tube resembles a "Dutchman's Pipe". This is also one of the names used for this plant. The flower is about 5- 8 inches in diameter, very white, and very fragrant. The bud opens around 10 PM and dies around 8 AM the following morning.

The growth is also unique. The stems start out either from an aureole of an existing stem or at the end of a long tubular growth that is very sturdy and can be as long as 4'. The stems are very flat, not thick, and have a slight wavy appearance to them. The aureoles are not symmetrical from one side of the stem to the other. They have a 'step' look to them in that an aureole on one side lies between two aureoles on the opposite site. It's hard to describe, but easy to recognize if you see it."

Many people ask me how to make their Epiphyllum oxypetalum bloom more. I always ask them how the plant looks and the most common reply is that it looks great. It is a nice dark green and growing like crazy, they just can't understand why it isn't blooming. Oxypetalum blooms for survival, not pleasure. If the plant is very healthy it doesn't feel threatened and won't bloom. So, to get oxypetalum to bloom, you must give it 0-10-10 fertilizer during the months of May-June-July instead of 10-10-10. I also suggest giving the plant more light. Sure, this is going to make the plant look more yellow and more 'sickly' but it will make it bloom. Find that happy medium place where the plant still looks healthy but still blooms.

Also, a drop in winter temperatures will likely make it bloom, say 50-55 degrees F. Despite what it says above, I know someone who has a twelve footer in a five gallon bucket with no drainage holes, and regular garden dirt. It blooms, and it has produces 40+ buds in the past. Oxypetalum is not fussy at all. Here is a fertilizer that is is reputed to make cacti mature 250% faster, can be used on most plants, and will not harm them. Supposedly, it really makes cacti flower very well.

Fast-Aging Cactus Fertilizer
1 can of beer
1 cup of Epsom salts
1/2 cup of ammonia
2 cups of water

Mix and put into a 1-quart container. Use 1/2 oz. per gallon of water every two weeks, when you water your cactus.

1 cup = 8 ounces; 1/4 cup = 2 ounces = 4 tablespoons
1 fluid ounce = 2 tablespoons; therefore 1/2 oz is 1 Tbsp.

I've kept this stuff in the capped bottle for two months (till it was all used), and it did not develop mold, fungus, rot, or any other profoundly negative attributes. I shake it before pouring into my big water jug, and it has smelled the same the entire time, besides maintaining its initial clarity.

Positive kulsetsiyi On Oct 4, 2005, kulsetsiyi from Franklin, NC wrote:

I grow this plant in zone 6a by overwintering in a warm greenhouse. I move it outside as soon as the area is frost-free. The greenhouse seems to supercharge the bloom potential and waves of blossoms begin in January and continue through October. It will branch prolifically in a fresh pot but definitely blossoms better when pot-bound. Mine come from cuttings from the Bronx Botanical Gardens obtained in 1968.

Positive ladyfirebird93 On Sep 15, 2005, ladyfirebird93 from Wapakoneta, OH wrote:

A friend gave me a start of this plant a couple years ago.
This is the first time it has bloomed.I didn't know it bloomed, couldn't remember the name of it until it bloomed, and I found it on this website. It now has a second one ready to open tonight. We're having a blooming party to watch it open. I took several shots at different stages last time. It is absolutely Beautiful!!!
I think this is about the coolest plant I have, and I have plants!!!

Positive siris02170 On Sep 10, 2005, siris02170 from Quincy, MA wrote:

I have a Cereus that is at least 4 generations old. There are cuttings of this plant all over PA and New England. This year we had 23 blossoms, 9 in one night! I have had it in the Boston area for about 5 years and each year it goes outside in May and back inside around the end of September. We always have a party when we think it's going to blossom although this year we missed a 2 blossom night and had one false alarm. I have found that the easiest way to share this treasure is to simply trim the plant, stick the cuttings in soil and give it away, everyone who attends our parties leaves with a cutting done that night. BTW, at least here in the Northeast, the Cereus has to be outside for the summer in order to bloom.

Positive thiapopi On Sep 3, 2005, thiapopi from Santa Fe, NM wrote:

The plant was given to me about 18 years ago and bloomed that first year. it had not bloomed again until TODAY!! I was given instructions to have a party when it bloomed, but it caught us by surprise. In fact, we missed the first one. Thank goodness there is another bud.

Here in Santa Fe, I keep it outdoors in the shade in the summer and indoors as soon as it starts getting cool (35-40s) at night. I keep it in my classroom at school. The kids think of it as an "alien", the way it twists and spirals when it reaches the ceiling ( I have it on top of a cabinet). It's definitely pot bound, as it has been in the same pot forever. Can't tell you how excited I am to see a bloom after all these years!

Positive springdawn On Aug 6, 2005, springdawn from richard bay
South Africa wrote:

This is my fav. plant. She will bloom again in December. We are now in August, and she is popping out new leaves all over. I keep her tied to a tree with ribbon in a rather shady area. I feed her nitrosol fertilizer every week. If I don't have nitrosol, I give her kelp fertilizer.

She lives in Richards Bay, South Africa. She is the original plant brought in many years ago from Mexico and still growing strong. Made babies from old leaves just popped them in a pot, no special treatment.

Positive junglegoin On Jun 25, 2005, junglegoin from Holiday, FL (Zone 9a) wrote:

This plant was cultivated from a cutting taken from a stem/leaf in the summer of 2004. No special technique is required. Simply cut off a section of leaf stalk and place in the soil. In about one year, we had our first bloom. The fragrance is wonderful yet difficult to describe! Only smelling it for yourself will you understand. I water my "Epi" on a weekly basis and feed her once a month with a standard liquid plant food (Schultz Liquid 10-15-10). This plant is easy to cutivate, a wonder to watch grow and a very delightful surprise when it blooms! As the name implies....Only at night will you see or smell this one time blossom...but it is an experience you will never forget!

Positive Vincent4eyes On Jun 23, 2005, Vincent4eyes from Olive Branch, MS wrote:

This is the most amazing flower I've ever seen, even it grows freely in Southeast Asia. I don't know exactly where and when it originally came from but it grows in Asia for centuries! It grows like "grass" in the wild!!!! This is the easiest flower one can plant without spending a lot of time and money to take care [care free].

Since it grows in the wild, my experience is not to treat it as the other luxury flowers such as rose, etc. I mean don't fertilize it too much, especially the man-made chemical one. The best one is the natural one. Besides, the chemical will be too good for the plant to grow leaves than flower! ;-) Without flower, this one is just a weird shape! ;-) Since it bloom at night, it must like the night, then it's better to live it ouside to obtain the mist of the night, unless it's too cold during the winter.

It usually blooms at around 7 pm - 8pm for a few hours. The Chinese and Vietnamese call it "Quynh" flower and there are several poem makers write poems and even songs of it, but to use it as symbol of a young beautiful country girl who is weak [she is not strong to survive long for love] but has an excellent personality [as the sweet fragrant] to leave for the surviors! [Sorry that my English is not enough to translate those beautiful meanings].

In conclusion, this flower [in Asia] stands for the simple and beautiful young virgin girl who has no dirty thoughts but great heart [personality] and die young versus rose as luxury, high maintenance, hot, sexy, and healthy woman! ;-)

Positive EmperorDragon On Jun 8, 2005, EmperorDragon from Elk Grove, CA (Zone 9b) wrote:

'Night-Blooming Cereus' is a vigorous plant during the growing season late spring to midsummer here in California. It puts out purest white, enchantingly fragrant flowers that open from evening until the following morning.

I have had this plant for a little over 5 years now, and I counted 30 blooms as the most it ever put out at once. I'm kinda responding to LadyBlueHeart's comment about not being able to get it to bloom, but it's actually pretty simple. Based on your picture, it looks like you have many new leaves and very few of the ugly, tattered, old leaves that many 'Night-Blooming Cereus' usually have. The blooms are formed on the old leaves, and you should keep them if you are trimming those off. Just fyi, the flower buds look somewhat pointed and triangular when they first form, and are different from leaf buds, which are longer and more rounded at the tip. Also, flower buds will generally have many veins extending in towards the leaf it is on, rather than the leaf bud, which only has one solid vein.

Also from your picture, it looks like you have the 'Night-Blooming Cereus' indoors. 'Night-Blooming Cereus' does not form flower buds indoors as well as it does when it is placed outdoors. I would suggest that you move your plant outdoors where it will have a greater chance of producing more flower buds. Just make sure you place it in a sheltered region of your home away from windy areas in shade to prevent the stems from snapping off. 'Night-Blooming Cereus' will not tolerate high temperatures and direct sunlight, and it will inevitably dry out and shrivel up. Keep it well-watered and provide excellent drainage. During the winter when it gets to below 40 degrees F, move it indoors where the frost will not kill it. Therefore, it is a good thing you have it in a pot. During this time, the plant stops growth and bloom to store energy for next year's display. There is not much need to fertilize 'Night-Blooming Cereus' as it does well with normal water. Mine as I have it right now is in a pot and has reached about 6 feet tall. I don't give it much special treatment and do exactly what I have just stated above. I'll try to upload a picture if I have time, but I can't guarantee that.

This may seem like a lot to do, but you just have to move the plant indoors and out when it gets cold or warms up again. I hope this was helpful to you, and you should get a few blooms by the following year. You can leave a comment on here or on my profile if you have any other questions. Good luck!


Positive ladyblueheart On Jun 7, 2005, ladyblueheart from California, KY wrote:

I love the free form and constant green of this plant. I can't get it to bloom, but still cannot imagine my home without it. I've had it for over 15 yrs and would love to experience the blooms. Sandy, ps...I uploaded a photo of mine.

Positive lindas43 On Apr 7, 2005, lindas43 from Whittier, NC wrote:

My Mother had this plant for over thirty years. When she passed away, in the late nineties, I gave it to my aunt. The week before this past Easter she gave it back to my sister and I. It's root bound and we would have repotted it except for reading all the helpful info here.
It's a wonderful plant and when it would bloom, it gave my Mother so much joy. She too referred to it as "Babe in the Manger". I'm so happy to have it home again.

Positive RLina On Jan 4, 2005, RLina from Le Morne
Mauritius wrote:

5th January 2005

My mom used to have this plant and it was passed down to her for 4 generations. I remember once 36 flowers bloomed one night & it was a big has always bring us luck. Unfortunately when she moved house it was left to the care of a gardener. I suppose this "ugly" and unruly looking plant was not given the proper care and died.

5 years ago, a friend gave a tiny little leaf to my mom and now they grew to 5 large pots. Every month there will be at least 2 flowers blooming. Its not seasonal at all! Must be the fertilizer she uses. Somehow the flowers from this plant are much smaller than the one we had before although the leaf looks the same.

I'm now in Mauritius and 6 months ago I found this plant in a nursery left unattended and half dead. I bought it immediately and nurtured it back to life! Last month, my mom came to visit & brought her fertilizer along. 3 weeks later we found 2 buds coming out. It bloomed spectacularly 2 nights ago. A sight to behold ! None of my friends and the Mauritians we know, knows of this plant. Its the 1st time for them. Now we are waiting for 16 more to bloom in 2 weeks! Guess what, its the same Huge flowers we used to have. I'm giving some cuttings to mum. I now know that there are 2 sizes of flowers....are there more??

Since it has always bring my family luck, we went to the casino that night & won BIG TIME! We bet on number 2 and 16. No. 2 came out twice but 16 never did....perhaps we should wait for them to bloom.



Positive MisongLi On Nov 18, 2004, MisongLi from Palmdale, CA wrote:

While living in a Canoga Park (91304) apartment several years ago, a neighbor gave me several of these plants. She said it was a Hawaiian cactus and that it was extremely easy to propagate from only pieces of leaves. Outside on my patio in plastic pots the plants did extremely well at all times of year, but temperatures were never freezing. My oldest plant, four feet tall and broad, with "wood" stems one-half inch thick, was left out in the hot summer sun and edges of the leaves burned and looked horrible. However, the plant put out an incredible show of flowers that summer, one night (I am not kidding) it had 11 flowers open in one night. The woman who gave me the plant took video of it.

I have since moved to the high desert, Palmdale CA 93550 and brought the biggest plant with me. It had only one flower this summer. It gets down to the 30s at night here and will have to be brought in the house, somewhere where my cat won't be able to reach it as he seems to like to eat the leaves. The plant has put out new leaves here in Palmdale, but it has not been nearly as robust in Palmdale.

I would describe the smell of the flowers as a combo between vanilla and bug spray. I have always been able to tell by about 9 p.m. whether a flower will open that night or not. The lady who gave me the plant swears that when a flower is opening she can put her hands over the blossom and feel heat radiating from it. The intricate detail inside the flowers is absolutely beautiful, obviously designed to attract insects.

New growth can occur from the leaves or the base of the plant. Buds grow from the sides of existing leaves: Reddish round ones are potential blooms; green flat buds will be leaves.

I've never fertilized the plant but have added some good potting soil. I just put broken pieces back in the soil and they grow, and thicker stems that bend don't break and keep growing.

Positive hansbean On Nov 14, 2004, hansbean from Colonial Heights, VA wrote:

Mine was given to me in 1977 by an elderly lady that I rented from. At that time it reached 9 ft. in height. Over the years, I have cut it back and it now stands at 3 ft. I give it no special treatment, other than to repot it very 3 years and remove part of the root ball (like one would a bonsai). I, personally, use Miracle Gro potting mix, keeping the potting mix moist, and I never fertilize.

Here in Virginia, I set my plant outdoors when night temperatures in spring go above 45. In mid-fall it comes back into the house where I keep it in a spare room that is not heated, watering it once a month. As of today it has never failed to bloom.

Positive dga1 On Oct 6, 2004, dga1 from Jacksonville, FL wrote:

This plant grows quite well in Jacksonville, Florida! I've had mine since 1984. I have taken several cuttings for new plants for friends. I've found that if you use that root growth hormone power stuff on the cutting, it takes off really fast.

Positive cheetah728 On Sep 25, 2004, cheetah728 from White Pigeon, MI wrote:

This is amazing plant. I've had it for years. Blooms every year now. Have 2 growing. Have given several cuttings away.

Positive pscbirmingham On Sep 6, 2004, pscbirmingham from Birmingham, AL wrote:

I received my plant several years ago and it is one of the easiest plants to take care of. I water it whenever I remember, every 2 or 3 weeks, sometimes once a week. It is pretty much root bound and sits indoors in a SW exposure window. The only problem I have with it is it's size. It is probably 15 feet tall (or long since it ran out of room to grow "up" and now grows across the ceiling).
There are two beautiful blooms on it tonight. It's a good thing the flowers are so beautiful because there is really nothing attractive about the plant itself. I probably only noticed the buds two weeks ago. They grow fast.
I have heard you can see a manger scene inside the flower but you must have to have a vivid imagination. I don't see it.

Positive irene22 On Aug 31, 2004, irene22 from Boston, MA wrote:

I just "inherited" the night blooming cereus from a friend who was moving into a smaller house in Vermont. I am surprise to find that it has a small bloom already. I was told by my friend that it had one bloom earlier this spring. I have no knowledge about growing or caring for this plant until I came across this website with so many recent contributors from all over. The small bud on my plant is about 2.5 inches long now and I'm wondering how long do I wait until it blooms. I live in a small apartment in the city and I'm wondering if anyone out there has had success growing these indoors.

Positive StewartMott On Aug 14, 2004, StewartMott from New York, NY wrote:

My parents grew N-BC in their greenhouse in Flint Mich.
I grew it in my Penthouse kitchen in NYC. I now live in Bermuda along the Railway Trail, abd there is a profusion of growth nearby. Last night the first burst forth. Tonight an abundance!

Positive RxBenson On Aug 14, 2004, RxBenson from Pikesville, MD (Zone 7a) wrote:

I must admit that I looked down on this 'epiphyte' for years, since I also own a huge 'true' Notocereus grandiflora -- the REAL 'night-blooming cereus.' I bought a rooted cutting of Epiphyllum about three years ago -- maybe 3.5. It was only about 5" tall.... then. I have repeatedly hacked off 8-foot stems the width of a pencil and in spring of 2003 I moved it up to a much bigger pot because it just needed the weight of a huge chunk of soil and a heavier pot to keep it from toppling over -- even with all the strings attaching it to the curtain rod! It is 4 x 3 feet now.

I have the intuitive knowledge that so many perennials -- like grapes and this plant -- have an internal calendar that tells them not to bloom until they are three years old. So I figured I'd pot it up whether it needed it or not and wouldn't expect any flowers yet. It bloomed that August for the first time despite the root shock. Just one flower -- and I was away on vacation at the time! And it was only 2 and a half!

But this year it is blooming its little infant heart out! Three a month ago. One three nights ago, four two nights ago and probably three more in a month -- the new buds are teeny.
Here in NJ it stays in a south window for winter and under a yellow pine with low late afternoon sun from Memorial Day through Labor Day. We have had strange hot spells and torrential rains alternating with droughts this summer, and many plants are 'acting different.'

Sorry to say, but the Epiphyllum was blooming only eight feet from the Brugmansia x insigna's 16 blooms and it got out-fragranced by that display. Next year I'll separate them more!

It gets weak all-purpose fertilizer when I remember... less than monthly, but it is potted in one of those brand name time-release-fertilizer-included soils and still has lots of root room in its 14-in ceramic pot.

The deer that tried to wipe out everything from roses to sunflowers, hibiscus, tomatoes, lilies, phlox and daylilies decided "p-tooey" after a nibble of the Queen. (I now use coyote urine to keep them away from everything!)

When I photographed the 'real' cereus bloom, it actually flinched each time the flash went off. This Epiphyllum, however, put up with my repeated shots with nary a complaint. I only wish I could have set up with time-exposure on a tripod to try to capture all those wonderful white anthers (?) and the lovely 'star.' The pot is on the ground and I couldn't get low enough for a really good shot. The heavy flowers hung only inches from the ground. I played night-flying pollinating creature and rubbed two of the flowers together, hoping to fertilize them. They never bore fruit so far, so I helped.

If I got a spectacular photo this time, I'll post it here.

Positive viola3 On Aug 1, 2004, viola3 from Titusville, FL wrote:

My uncle gave me a cutting of my Grandmother's original plant which she brought from Tennessee to Florida almost 25 years ago. In the nearly four years I've had this 'night-bloomer', it has grown tremendously and bloomed consistently from May 'til October- one to three blooms per month. Last summer, I had 15 blooms over two nights. This year, on the night of June 28, there were 21 blooms! On the 29th- 10 blooms! What a display!
When I moved the plant to my current home earlier this summer, I set the pot (a very large pot) outside in the full sun. The stems began to turn brown, but when I moved it to partial shade, it started blooming.

Positive trilian15 On Jul 13, 2004, trilian15 from Helsinki
Finland wrote:

I have known this plant with the name "Princess of the Night", although it's very obvious it's some sort of Epiphyllum. I have just learned the official name (direct translation from my language is called something like "fragrant leaf cactus"). When or where my grandmother received the first cuttings I don't know, but blossoming plants were photographed after WWII and the photos were in family album.

Geographically this is boreal zone (Scandinavia). Our winter is long and cold (under 0 degree of Celsius from October until April), and during winter period there is very little daylight. My E. Oxypetalum is kept indoors all year. It grows very big and it gets easily broken when moved. My granny's plant had 2-7 big flowers every year. My 15 year-old plant has also blossomed 2-3 flowers almost every summer, but stops flowering after I put shading curtains on the windows. So up in the North it needs direct sunlight to be able to blossom.

This is not a typical home plant (needs lots of space and grows easily ugly if you are taking care of it wrong), and you can't buy it any plant nursery or shop. It would be wonderful to see 600 flowers at the same time, but 7 flowers simultaneously is a spectacular up here. In our family I'm the only one, who still has this plant, and I have just presented several 'leaves' to other plant enthusiasts to ensure the plant wouldn't disappear if something goes wrong. (I cut off weak winter growth every summer.)

Positive R_Rubey On Jul 8, 2004, R_Rubey from Atlanta, GA wrote:

I believe this is the prettiest flower that GOD ever created! Have had 2 plants for about 10 years here in Atlanta, Ga. Take them in about 1 Nov or 1st hard freeze and put them out about 10 Mar. During winter they have restricted light, no feeding, and little water. When put out, (in a shaded area - they will tell you with the color of the leave-stems if you have too much or too little light), I use Super-Bloom every other weekend. Made the mistake of re-potting my favorite one year and it took 3 years for it to bloom again. Obviously, likes being pot bound (although the free standing, tree-climbing stories counter this).

About 3 days before it blooms the buds "trumpet" upwards and the night they bloom, they show white in the "bulb". They start to open about 9:30 PM and are fully open about 12:00 to 1:00 AM. They actuall move as they open. On a quiet night, you can smell them next door. Have had 4 bloom this year already in June. Last year the last blooming was the last week of Oct. after a cold spell, and with the shortened days, it actually bloomed during the day and we have pictures taken in the sunlight.

On a blooming night we invite the neighbors over in their nightshirts and pop a bottle of wine and turn on classical music for a wonderful 2 hour "settee". It is great fun to watch the expressions of those who have never witnessed the event before. (One engineer kept reaching out to one of the blooms because he thought I had monofiliment thread connected and was causing the movement.) ENJOY. (My son keeps one in Hershey, Pa. It got nipped one year.)

Positive padmajoy On Jul 1, 2004, padmajoy from Belvedere Tiburon, CA wrote:

I obtained a cutting of this plant from a friend. It rooted easily in garden soil, in a pot. I have kept it indoors (I live in the SF Bay area) and it has bloomed once in the last 4 years. Right now it has two small spikey bud-like protuberances (each about 1 1/2 inches long) on it. I do not remember seeing these the last time it bloomed but may have missed this early stage of bloom. I noticed them about 5 hours ago. Does anyone know how long it wil take to bloom from this point?

Positive pellepoix On Jun 17, 2004, pellepoix from Saint Petersburg, FL wrote:

I live on the west coast of Florida. In my garden, I have several trees covered with the night blooming cereus. I counted over 600 blooms at a time. In my neighborhood, a palm tree is covered by a plant, and has too many booms to count. I am surprised to see how few people are aware of this extraordinary sight.

Positive carol_okc On Jun 17, 2004, carol_okc from Choctaw, OK wrote:

I adore this thing! my largest is a piece from the plant which originally belonged to my great-grandfather! It's been a family tradition to have an open-house when we have a particularly heavy bloom - my grandmother back in Easton Pa once had 37 blooms in one night on the parent plant. I've had 27 in one night on my big piece, which I've now been growing for 35 years.
Incidently - this is very intolerant of frost (the big plant was taken by an unseasonal frost 4 years ago).. but will come back from the roots. The big one (in a 10 gallon tub) was 8' tall, about that wide, and now 4 years after that terrible frost is back to being 6' tall, though it has a way to go to fully recover. It has resumed its lovely blooming, though.
Growing hint? Minimal water, lower light during the winter, then bring out to dappled shade and feed (half strength) balanced fertilizer monthly. Just bring it back in well ahead of any frost!

Positive desertboot On May 18, 2004, desertboot from Bangalore
India (Zone 10a) wrote:

The plant's sometimes also referred to as the 'Star of Bethlehem'. 5 dinner-plate sized blooms opened late last night. The fragrance: ambrosial. There's also a pink-bloom version in the garden but we're still waiting to see it flower. How interesting to find that so many of us have sat up nights to catch the "moment" before this plant!

Positive jclin On May 6, 2004, jclin from Cerritos, CA wrote:

I have grown this plant since my childhood. It was nick- named " Beauty Under the Moon " in Chinese literature, or as it's common in Taiwan, "Night Beauty", as it blossom at night. I still grow them in the back yard in Los Angeles. They are usually care free, but foilage looks ugly if left unattented under direct sun light. I figure it must grow better when under shade because it originated in South America, rather than as a desert succulent plant.

For reference, some people picked the withered flower in the morning and boiled it with sugar or honey as a tonic drink that was said to be good for respiratory function. It was stir-fried with chicken or a pork dish, and it was used as an herbal remedy for various ailements, but not commonly used in traditional Chinese herbal medicine.

Positive foodiesleuth On Apr 25, 2004, foodiesleuth from Honomu, HI (Zone 11) wrote:

I love this plant. I have been growing it for at least 30 years. My first one was growing in a pot someone gave me when I lived in SC. The first time it bloomed it was spectacular with about a dozen huge blossoms...we turned the evening into a party and several of my friends came to see the 'unveiling'. We did this for years...

I took it with me when I moved to Miami, I planted it in the back yard against the fence, where it grew into a huge, unruly plant. I would sit outside during the night waiting for the blooms to open....when I moved to Hawaii, I gave pieces of my plant to neighbors and my sister, who still has it in her Miami home.

Now living in Hawaii, I have a small one I'm trying to get to trail down a little enbankment. There is one growing up into a very tall tree in someone's yard in the nearby town of Hilo. I love to drive by when it blooms, even though by the time I see them, they have is still an amazing sight to see.

Positive lemonboy7 On Apr 10, 2004, lemonboy7 from New Orleans, LA wrote:

We have one of these wonderful plants on our back screened porch here in New Orleans. We have had it for so many years I can't remember how many. It has been in the same pot all these years.The pot is about 12 inches wide and 14 inches high. The plant is about 5-6 feet high.We leave it on the porch throughout winter since we do not get hard freezes often,and it is close to the wall where it gets radiant heat from the house.

We love to see the buds coming,with a show soon to follow. My mother and I love to go out to the porch and watch as it opens,and then smell the fragrance that just cannot be described.It is a wonderful,intoxicating scent that is very strong. You just have to smell it to know it. The beauty of the flowers is amazing! Pure dazzling white! Huge blooms! It is a sight to behold,and as others describe,it becomes a very special event in itself! We have started several cuttings for friends and family over the years.It is easy to do. I am looking forward to the warmer weather when it starts to make buds and put on it's show.

I call it "pre-historic plant" and I think any who have seen it will agree that the entire habit/shape of the plant looks like something from pre-historic times. The buds especially have an other-worldly look to them. I would strongly recommend this plant to anyone who is looking for a really unusual addition to their collection,and to marvel at the plant in bloom. We will be enjoying the blooms again as we have for so many summer nights in the past. I love those nights.

Positive orchid_lady On Feb 10, 2004, orchid_lady wrote:

I have had my plant for five years. From what I can tell the plant is now 15 years old. It bloomed the day before it was given to me -- but has never bloomed since. It doesn't stop growing! It puts out new leaves on a constant basis and is about 7' tall. What am I doing wrong?

Positive Tianice On Jan 21, 2004, Tianice wrote:

This lovely plant also grows in Brazil, which is a tropical country. We´ve had it in the family for over 15 years. It used to be kept in the garden, but since we moved to an apartment, I´ve been keeping it in the living room, by the window.

Here it blossoms around midnight in January, which is a very hot summer month in Brazil. It's a wonderful flower. What I like about it is that on the night it blossoms, I don´t need to watch it. The fragrance it gives off while it is blossoming "warns" me. Then I sit down to observe it. The fragrance lingers on for a long time.

Positive ilovejesus99 On Jan 8, 2004, ilovejesus99 from Baytown, TX (Zone 9b) wrote:

I love this plant. I bought several 13 years ago for $s2.50. Now I trade cuttings in special trades for other colors or other plants I am interested in. Very easy to root and very easy to grow. Blooms smell like heaven. You can watch the large ones open. Highly recommended for beginner--very easy. Make sure it drains well. Loves to be root bound. The ones I bought were in regular soil, not potting soil.

Positive rachaelpratt On Jan 6, 2004, rachaelpratt wrote:

I live in Bunbury, Western Australia and recently moved into a house with a less than 8 year old Epiphyllum oxypetalum. It flowered in early December (summer) with one bloom the first time then just before Christmas many, many blooms. It is now (January 6th) and more buds are developing.

The climate is mediterranean, with average temperatures (Celsius) as listed and occasional frosts:
Min Max
January 13.94 28.58
February 14.17 28.78
March 13.5 26.9
April 11.04 23.41
May 9.54 19.65
June 8.18 16.87
July 6.9 15.83
August 6.81 16.41
September 7.91 17.18
October 8.14 19.25
November 10.33 23.42
December 12.34 26.38
The plant is planted in the ground in a protected, shady location. Our soils are alkaline and low in clay, organic matter and nutrients since we are located within 200 m of the ocean.
The plant was extremely popular at a dinner party we held, with one guest pollinating it with his nose after a few beers. No seeds developed as expected!

Positive Monocromatico On Jan 4, 2004, Monocromatico from Rio de Janeiro
Brazil (Zone 11) wrote:

This is an interesting plants. The flat, leaf like stems are interesting already if let alone. But the flowers are spectacular. My grandma sent me a rooted cutting, and after 2 months it´s preparing 2 flowers at the same time.

Positive Berdie2 On Jan 3, 2004, Berdie2 from Cincinnati, OH (Zone 6b) wrote:

I inherited my plant from mother. I had it for several years without blooms. Last fall I repotted the plant with catcus soil that had a little fertilizer in it. In the late spring of 2003, I set it outside where it got morning through early afternoon indirect sunlight (protected by a pine tree). I watered it with miracle grow twice during the summer. This fall I was rewarded with 4 beautiful blooms that started blooming around 8:30 and closed about 7:30 the next morning. The effort was well worth it. I bring my plant in when the fall temperatures begin to go below 60 degrees and winter it in a window that gets southern exposure.

Positive tori24 On Dec 13, 2003, tori24 wrote:

I have had this plant for ten years. I have never got it to bloom. Help.

Positive leeleelee On Nov 9, 2003, leeleelee from Columbus, OH wrote:

I have had this plant for years, however, it hasn't bloomed for the last 6 or 7 years. BUT, one year it had 18 to 30 blooms on it while it was outside under the maple tree. I recommend it as a once in a lifetime privilege to have it bloom. I learned that if you pluck it off and put it in a baggie and put in the refrigerator it will stay for days and days and you can take it wherever and share it with others. I'm glad it is a potbound grower and I would like to learn more of its needs. I'm glad to learn that if you pinch it off, it doesn't hurt it. I've often wondered about the long, long tendrils. Can they be pinched? I live in Columbus, Ohio.

Positive kayleebug On Oct 25, 2003, kayleebug from Elkhart, TX wrote:

I have mine in about a 14" pot. I have learned that it does better to be pot-bound, which mine is. It is about 4 feet tall, but I have cut mine back. You can easily make cuttings by cutting the stalks off into 6 to 8 inch pieces and planting them in a good potting soil mixture. They're beautiful. Will bloom till mid-morning or so if the temperature is cool enough.

Positive ford3728 On Oct 22, 2003, ford3728 from Homer, LA wrote:

I received 1 long stem or leaf from a friend and cut it in 4-inch long segments, dipped the ends in root hormone and had roots in just a few days. I planted it in a hanging basket and wintered it in the greenhouse. It bloomed the following summer late and made fruit (an oblong reddish type ball). I read in my plant encyclopedia that the fruit was edible but it had no taste, but maybe it didn't mature enough before it fell off. The wasps like it and probably injured it somehow. My plant did not bloom until after midnight and it usually started closing around 9:30 or 10:00 a m. In early fall on a cloudy cool day it stayed open all day. I've read that they must have at least 6 hours of sun a day to produce blooms. I have to put it in the greenhouse during winter as it will not survive a freeze. I have seen pictures of different colored ones but haven't seen any around in my area to purchase.

Positive scgirl On Oct 15, 2003, scgirl wrote:

I was told a plant must be at least three years old before it will flower. I drag my plant outside during the summer and put it under the Pine trees. I always keep it watered here in South Carolina (U.S.) It is in bloom right now with 2 flowers; last week it had 9 flowers.

I take the plant inside on my enclosed porch for the winter. It is in a big pot and very tall. I have had it for about 20 years, and it's still in the original pot. If a piece breaks off, I just stick it back into the soil. I too think it is the most beautiful flower I have ever seen or have smelled.

Positive NEVADASKIDS On Oct 10, 2003, NEVADASKIDS from Cincinnati, OH wrote:

My mother had several Epiphyllum oxypetalum, the whitest white color we have ever seen, started from one plant that was given to her by my grandmother sixty years ago. These plants bloomed every year while we were growing up.

When all of us married, we were each given one leaf to start our own plants. I have had mine for thirty years now and it has NEVER bloomed. I do not know why and neither does anyone else. My brother, however, has two plants now and one of them has bloomed five times this year alone. They normally bloom once or twice a year. Night before last, his oldest plant had nine blooms open at the same time and the younger plant had six open. Last night, the oldest plant had four more blooms to open and the youngest plant had three. What a sight and fragrance that filled his entire house!!! We have never seen this many blooms on one plant before. My mother had seven one time but that was the most we had seen. This was such a beautiful sight. I spent a couple hours taking pictures to share with others.

We have been trying to find out what the plant is called. Even though we have had these plants for years and years, Mother had always called them "Babe In The Manger" plants because of their blooms looking like Baby Jesus in the Manger with the star at his feet. We did not know the scientific name or even what family the plant was in until just recently. Thank goodness for the internet and all the information out there. We love this plant. Now if only I could figure out what to do to make mine bloom.

Positive Connie243 On Oct 9, 2003, Connie243 from Ashland, KY (Zone 6b) wrote:

My Mother was given this plant when I was 8 years old. I now have the plant and have divided it several times. I have 2 that are in pots and stand about 5 ft. tall. If given some care, they do not get long and gangly. When it starts producing new shoots, and as soon as the shoot gets as tall as you want, pinch the tip end of the shoot off. This will stop the growth of the shoot and force it to produce more leafs.

I live in Southern Ohio, so I can't leave mine outside in the winter. I put them out in early Spring, under shade, and leave them out until Fall when the nights start to get cold here. Mine are inside now with 15 more buds that will open soon and fill my house with their "heavenly aroma".

Positive flowergirlkimba On Oct 1, 2003, flowergirlkimba from Saxonburg, PA wrote:

I had the experience of seeing what all the fuss was about when I saw this plant in action last night at the home of my grandmother. She had told me stories before of her grandmother having an article written about her magical "Night Blooming Cereus" and how they set up extra chairs and had guests over to sit all night to see it. Many, many years ago, this was quite an event in Saxonburg, Pennsylvania. My family, too, described it to others as the "Dennis the Menace" plant, but Gram knew the name, making it easy for me to find here. I hope the pictures I took last night will be as good as the ones you show here!

Positive debrat On Sep 5, 2003, debrat wrote:

I acquired my "Night Blooming Cereus" several years ago from a neighbor who has sinced moved. She was a religious lady and called it the "Madonna Plant". I never knew the true name of it until I went online in search of "night blooming plants" and there it was.

Before I knew the name, I would always explain the plant as one similar to the one on the movie "Dennis the Menace", and that it's in the succulent family. I am glad to know the true name and history. One of my co-workers experienced a bloom; now everyone is waiting for their blooms. It is a strange but lovely plant when blooming. Everyone who did not take a piece of this beauty the first time now wold like to share in its fragrent beauty here in Louisiana (U.S.)

Positive darius On Aug 26, 2003, darius from So.App.Mtns.
United States (Zone 5b) wrote:

I love this scrawly, unruly plant, but love it more when it blooms. The fragrance is unreal, and this year I had to beat off a horde of slugs heading for the bloom!

Easy to start from a leaf, prefers to be pot-bound.

Positive suncatcheracres On Aug 12, 2003, suncatcheracres from Old Town, FL wrote:

This is a most unusual and beautiful plant. I lived next door to an old, huge Queen of the Night in St. Petersburg, Florida, zone 9b, for about 10 years. This plant has been living in a large sycamore tree in my neighbor's front yard since the 1950's, and every Summer in July this scraggly, climbing cactus plant, which you wouldn't ordinarily notice, puts out huge, dinner-plate-sized blossoms that became the attraction of the neighborhood in the early evenings. The owners sit outside in their lawn chairs in their front yard and greet all the neighbors and the teenagers who come around to see this spectacular sight.

This plant receives no supplemental fertilizer or watering other than rainwater, and it is growing about twenty feet high into the large tree which supports it. It has survived 18F degree cold, tornados, hail storms, drought, and flooding rains, and always puts on its mid-summer nighttime show. If I could grow it here in Northcentral Florida, zone 8b, I would be delighted to wait for the show--kind of like waiting for Fourth of July fireworks.

January 3, 2004: Just took a Holiday trip down to St. Petersburg, Florida, and went by my old neighbors house. I told her I had posted a description of her plant on the PDB, and she offered me some cuttings! I debated about 10 seconds, because I have to greenhouse this plant here in Northcentral Florida, zone 8b, but then said yes, so I now have a big brown grocery bag full of cuttings. My former neighbor said I can cut the long stems into small pieces and put them in potting soil and each will grow new roots. I'll cut the potting soil with my sandy soil for good drainage. I'm thrilled to have some cuttings from this plant, as I have admired it for years, and I know it is super healthy, as it is growing out of it's range even in St. Pete, which is zone 9b.

Positive Phaltyme On Aug 10, 2003, Phaltyme from Garden City, MI (Zone 6b) wrote:

How nice to see pictures and comments about this plant. Many years ago, I had one (can't remember where I got it), it put on buds and we watched carefully. At the right time, we brought it in the house, set it up special and set up the camera facing it and ready to photograph. I spent 4 or 5 hours taking pictures of the blooming progress until it finally opened in all its glory. The next morning I followed its demise. What an experience.

Positive mcromer53 On Aug 10, 2003, mcromer53 from Spartanburg, SC wrote:

I am so glad to finally find out what this plant is. I have three large plants in pots. I can't wait each year to see if I have a bloom. One year I had 18 blooms in one season. I received the plant from my father in west-central Georgia (U.S.) He and his wife have four large plants and each year they make cuttings for family and friends.

Positive City_Sylvia On Jul 16, 2003, City_Sylvia from Dallas, TX wrote:

I grew this plant for years, after someone brought a long leaf into my office, placed it in a jar of water and told me to watch it grow. Eventually it started sprouting roots and developing more leaves and long skinny tendrils.

Not knowing what it was, I continued letting it grow in the water. I eventually took it home and decided to put some of it in some soil. I ended up with a big pot of it out on my patio.

One morning I discovered dead blossoms and I was very confused because I never saw a bloom on it. I havent seen it bloom yet, but one of my friends happened to catch it blooming and took a picture of it. I left my plant out in freezing weather and lost it. [I've since learned] there are people who sit up all night waiting for this plant to bloom - it's some sort of celebration!

Positive pdkrones On Jul 12, 2003, pdkrones from Monroe, NC (Zone 7b) wrote:

I had these off and on for years; not in a long time. In Los Angeles, California (U.S.), they grew freely in the backyard, and the fragrance with multiple blooms was unreal! It was unruly in the pot for me, but not enough to bother me. I kinda like untidy plants. They do great transferred outside for summer bloom here in Zone 7a/b.

Positive kinderteacher On Jul 11, 2003, kinderteacher from Miami, FL wrote:

My grandmother had a big plant when I was a child, and she always made it an event of blooming time and the aroma of the flowers. The fact that the flowers only lasted one night was not important when compared with the wonderful experience of admiring this beauty.

Positive IslandJim On Jul 10, 2003, IslandJim from Keizer, OR (Zone 8b) wrote:

I have no idea why anyone would call this an ugly plant...

Neutral olive2 On Jun 1, 2003, olive2 from Kewaskum, WI wrote:

I have just purchased a small plant at a rummage sale. I don't kow what kind of soil should it have or how old it will be before it blooms.

Positive cgkathy On May 9, 2002, cgkathy wrote:

When the night bloomer blooms, you forget how ugly and unruly this plant is to grow in a pot. It shoots out long runners that do not stand up by themselves, there is no set pattern of growth, it just goes here and there when and where it wants. But just wait for that first bloom and all your trouble seems so worthwhile!

Neutral Dinu On Jan 25, 2002, Dinu from Mysore
India (Zone 10a) wrote:

The flower opens up after dusk, is at its maximum bloom by midnight and fades off by sunrise. It has a sweet fragrance.


This plant has been said to grow in the following regions:

, (3 reports)
Arley, Alabama
Boaz, Alabama
Daphne, Alabama
Gurley, Alabama
Jones, Alabama
Trinity, Alabama
Vincent, Alabama
Anchorage, Alaska
Goodyear, Arizona
Phoenix, Arizona
Scottsdale, Arizona
Yuma, Arizona
Belvedere Tiburon, California
Burbank, California
Carlsbad, California
Cerritos, California
Clayton, California
Clovis, California
Concow, California
Downey, California
Elk Grove, California
Encinitas, California
Fairfield, California
Hayward, California
Lancaster, California
Loma Linda, California
Lompoc, California
Long Beach, California (2 reports)
Los Angeles, California
Mission Viejo, California
Oceanside, California
Riverside, California
San Diego, California (4 reports)
Santa Rosa, California
Spring Valley, California
Tulare, California
Union City, California
Denver, Colorado
New Haven, Connecticut
Anthony, Florida
Bartow, Florida
Big Pine Key, Florida
Brandon, Florida (2 reports)
Brooksville, Florida (2 reports)
Clearwater, Florida
Cocoa, Florida
Daytona Beach, Florida
Delray Beach, Florida
Dunedin, Florida
Dunnellon, Florida
Edgewater, Florida
Englewood, Florida
Fernandina Beach, Florida
Fort Lauderdale, Florida
Fountain, Florida
Gainesville, Florida
Jacksonville, Florida (2 reports)
Key Colony Beach, Florida
Lakeland, Florida
Largo, Florida
Maitland, Florida
Miami, Florida
Miami Beach, Florida
Niceville, Florida
Ocala, Florida (2 reports)
Orange Park, Florida
Orlando, Florida
Palm Bay, Florida
Pensacola, Florida (2 reports)
Plant City, Florida
Port Orange, Florida
Port Saint Lucie, Florida
Punta Gorda, Florida
Safety Harbor, Florida
Saint Augustine, Florida (2 reports)
Saint Petersburg, Florida
Sarasota, Florida
Spring Hill, Florida
Tallahassee, Florida
Tampa, Florida (2 reports)
Venice, Florida
Wellborn, Florida
Yulee, Florida
Zephyrhills, Florida
Albany, Georgia
Colbert, Georgia
Jesup, Georgia
Lawrenceville, Georgia
Norcross, Georgia (2 reports)
Honomu, Hawaii
Chicago, Illinois
Red Bud, Illinois
Clarksville, Indiana
Columbia City, Indiana
Columbus, Indiana
Jasper, Indiana
Marion, Indiana
Davenport, Iowa
Baton Rouge, Louisiana
Benton, Louisiana
Bogalusa, Louisiana
Covington, Louisiana
Deridder, Louisiana
Duplessis, Louisiana
Gretna, Louisiana
Hammond, Louisiana (2 reports)
Homer, Louisiana
Kenner, Louisiana
Mandeville, Louisiana
New Orleans, Louisiana
Shreveport, Louisiana
Sulphur, Louisiana
Zachary, Louisiana
Lewiston, Maine
Baltimore, Maryland
Cumberland, Maryland
Quincy, Massachusetts (2 reports)
Wayland, Massachusetts
Bloomfield Hills, Michigan
White Pigeon, Michigan
Minneapolis, Minnesota
Florence, Mississippi
Gulfport, Mississippi
Leakesville, Mississippi
Long Beach, Mississippi
Mendenhall, Mississippi
Natchez, Mississippi
Pontotoc, Mississippi
Tupelo, Mississippi
Roca, Nebraska
Sparks, Nevada
Neptune, New Jersey
Oaklyn, New Jersey
Spring Lake, New Jersey
Whiting, New Jersey
Albuquerque, New Mexico
Santa Fe, New Mexico (2 reports)
Brooklyn, New York (2 reports)
New York City, New York
Calabash, North Carolina
Fayetteville, North Carolina
Indian Trail, North Carolina
Leland, North Carolina
Oak Island, North Carolina
Raleigh, North Carolina
Shallotte, North Carolina
Whittier, North Carolina
Cincinnati, Ohio (2 reports)
Ironton, Ohio
Perrysburg, Ohio
Wapakoneta, Ohio
Wheelersburg, Ohio
Zanesville, Ohio
Panama, Oklahoma
Corvallis, Oregon
Grants Pass, Oregon
Silverton, Oregon
Coal Center, Pennsylvania
Ford City, Pennsylvania
Glassport, Pennsylvania
Greensburg, Pennsylvania
Mc Keesport, Pennsylvania
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Wilkes Barre, Pennsylvania
Williamsport, Pennsylvania
Charleston, South Carolina
Columbia, South Carolina
Conway, South Carolina
Florence, South Carolina
Fort Mill, South Carolina
Laurens, South Carolina
Murrells Inlet, South Carolina
Santee, South Carolina
Spartanburg, South Carolina (2 reports)
Summerville, South Carolina
Bolivar, Tennessee
Brentwood, Tennessee
Hendersonville, Tennessee
La Follette, Tennessee
Lenoir City, Tennessee
Readyville, Tennessee
Sevierville, Tennessee
Speedwell, Tennessee
Austin, Texas (3 reports)
Bay City, Texas
Baytown, Texas (2 reports)
Beaumont, Texas
Brazoria, Texas
Dallas, Texas
Dickinson, Texas
Elgin, Texas
Elkhart, Texas
Fredericksburg, Texas
Hamilton, Texas
Harlingen, Texas
Houston, Texas (5 reports)
Manor, Texas
Mc Kinney, Texas
Mcallen, Texas
Mont Belvieu, Texas
Nederland, Texas
Plano, Texas (2 reports)
Richmond, Texas
Rockport, Texas
Rosenberg, Texas
San Antonio, Texas
Spring Branch, Texas
Tomball, Texas
Galax, Virginia
Leesburg, Virginia
South Boston, Virginia
Staunton, Virginia
Olympia, Washington
Shelton, Washington
Tacoma, Washington
Fairmont, West Virginia
Neenah, Wisconsin
Oshkosh, Wisconsin
Twin Lakes, Wisconsin

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