Friday, June 26, 2009

Especially for Night Owls

Gardening has something for everyone, even night owls! Here's a plant that doesn't bloom until after the sun sets.
I think this is a Epiphyllum oxypetalom - more commonly known as Night Blooming Cereus, Dutchman's Pipe, or Queen of the Night. Most of the pictures of Epiphyllum oxypetalom that I see show a flower with wider petals. I would be happy for anyone to correct my identification of this plant.
My dad has this plant climbing up some of his mesquite trees. They aren't actually climbing as they don't attach themselves to a support; they are just supported by the branches and tied to the tree. It's quite a floppy plant. Anyhoo, Dad gave me a cutting years ago. You can tell from the actual plant that I abuse it terribley. It's rarely watered and grows in heavy, heavy clay. Wikipedia says that it needs rich compost with lots of humus and lots of water in the summer. What do they know?

These blooms are only open at night and for a few hours in the morning (that's when I see them) - then the bloom dies. It usually has blooms that open for 5 or 6 days in a row. Then a few weeks later, we get another evening show.
So, if you are a night owl, this Night Blooming Cereus might be a plant to consider.


Jan said...

I love this plant and look forward every summer to its blooming even if I do have to go out in the middle of the night in my jammies.

Always Growing

Mary Beth said...

Jan - I'd love to see a photo of yours! - my plant looks so pitiful, I'd love to see a healthy specimen.

Kathleen said...

ooh, this is definitely a plant for me. Night time is my time to shine! We could hang out together. :-)
I haven't been by for a while so I took a little time catching up on your blog. So many good entries. I have had an Angel's Trumpet for three years now and it's not doing well at all. I'm thinking (horror of horrors) of composting it at the end of the season. Isn't it terrible to baby a plant along only to discover it really isn't working for you? It's always a treat to see what you're growing in your warm climate. We are still waiting for heat up here!

Annie in Austin said...

It's gorgeous Mary Beth, but you're right- doesn't look exactly like the photos of Epiphyllum oxypetalum that Carol of May Dreams posts each year.

I found a different, more cactus-ey looking plant in a little pocket guide to the desert bought at Big Bend called Cereus greggii. When I looked that up I was redirected to Peniocereus greggii. What do you think?

Annie at the Transplantable Rose

Mary Beth said...

KATHLEEN - I can so relate re: your Angel's Trumpet. After babying mine for over 5 years, I've decided I don't like the paleness of the blooms! (plus it gets too much wind where it is planted so the leaves and blooms are always tattered. I say, feed the compost pile!

ANNIE OF AUSTIN - I've put off responding because I haven't done any research to help me decide what night blooming cactus I actually DO have! I don't think the one I pictured in this post is the same as Carol's. I wish the plant was also pictured. This one has flat branches. I have another that has branches that are three sided and blooms that are HUGE! Guess I need to do a little reading!