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Epiphyllum Oxypetalum - Fragrant, Night Blooming Orchid Cactus
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Epiphyllum Oxypetalum - Fragrant, Night Blooming Orchid Cactus

Queen of the Night | Night Blooming Cereus | Fragrant Orchid Cactus

The extraordinary Epiphyllum Oxypetalum is an orchid cactus that goes by many names such as Queen of the Night, Night Blooming Cereus and Lady of the Night. Each pays homage to the spectacular white blooms (8"-10" across) that open in the late evening, releasing an exquisite perfume all night long, to close down at dawn. This display is so magical that people around the world host parties for friends to gather and experience this flowering. Though each Epiphyllum Oxypetalum bloom lives but one night, a healthy, well grown plant can produce up to a dozen blooms at a time, with several flushes throughout the summer.

Despite it's exotic nature, this fragrant, night blooming orchid cactus is one of the easiest and most forgiving plants to grow. Happy outdoors in the ground or in a container in zones 10 - 12, it will cheerfully grow indoors in any climate year round, or with outdoor excursions spring through fall. A true cactus, Epiphyllum Oxypetalum have no spines, and indeed, no true leaves. What appears to be long leaves are actually long, wavy, flattened stems. These can be tied to a lattice to grow vertically, or allowed to trail, and frequently large plants will do both.

To make a cutting or to encourage branching, simply cut a stem at a node. Let the cutting air dry, then put it into soil, cut side down, and soon you will have a new plant rooting and growing. Easy! Provide your orchid cactus full sun to bright filtered light, and plant in a 50/50 blend of good quality potting mix and cactus mix. Though a very tough succulent that withstands months without water, your Epiphyllum Oxypetalum will grow and bloom its best given weekly waterings (or when its soil is dry) spring through fall. Apply a half strength 10-10-10 fertilizer once a month spring through summer. Come winter, protect from frost and cut back on the water to just once or twice per month.

A memorable gift for gardeners, "brown thumbed" friends or yourself! :)

1 well rooted Epiphyllum oxypetalum in a 4-inch pot