EpiphyllumOxypetalum - Queen of the Night

The Epiphyllumoxypetalumis popularly known as the queen of the night. The beautiful white flowers bloom at night. This is a tropical epiphyte to lithophyte and the flowers are huge showy ones that generally close up by the dawn. You might not find true leaves but the flattened stems look attractive and they can be easily rooted. The plant generally prefers a well-drained average succulent soil mix. Grow them in partial shade or bright and indirect light and they would bloom perfectly. They need frequent watering, so you might need to soak the soil with water. Do let the topsoil get dried out before you water them again. When the temperature is cool, you gotta bring them inside. The phonetic spelling would be ‘ep-ih-FE-lumks-ee-PET-al-um’.

The plant is native to the Southern part of Mexico. They cover a wide area in South America too. They are generally grown as houseplants and they tend to grow on the surface of other plants. That doesn’t mean that they are parasitic, they just derive nutrients from their surrounding like air and rainwater. The flowers would leave a beautiful fragrance and they grow quite large. There are other names associated with it like the Orchid Cactus, Dutchman’s pipe cactus, and the Night-blooming cereus. To provide enough support to their long branching stems, plant them in some hanging basket.

Like said, they can be grown both indoors and outdoors as per your preference. They would need a bit of your time, but believe us when we say that it is worth the effort. The sweet smell of the epiphyllumoxypetalum flower would cover your whole room or backyard. Growing this plant is indeedslightly more challenging than other cacti or succulents, but with the proper guide, you can grow the plant in no time.

We know that people are often scared of the fact that the plant might be poisonous or toxic – well there’s no known source to verify the same. Rather, the tribes in the rainforest regions use the flowers of the plant for their healing rituals. The epiphyllumoxypetalum flower is often referred to as the flower of gods and holds a lot of medicinal value.

Night queen flower

Queen of the night Soil

The Epiphyllumoxypetalum plant has its soil requirements. They aren’t like other cacti and need a little bit of moisture content in the soil they grow in. It might be because of their native habitat that is the rainforests – the climate there is humid and much wetter than any semi-arid desert region. Don’t let the whole soil dry out completely between waterings, they need frequent waterings, so just when the topsoil dries out, water them again.

The plant needs well-draining potting soil. You can visit any local gardening store for the soil, ask them for the best mix available for cactus. You can also try making your own soil mix – just combine peat moss and ground fir bark equally and you’d have your potting mix. Mix two parts of the base potting mix with some more ingredients like a part of coarse builder’s sand with a ratio of 2:1. Keep mixing them until they are mixed properly. Using coarse sand instead of fine sand is the key. Fine sand can just muddy up your potting mix and make it more compact – this can make it harder for the soil to drain the excess water out.

One more thing you can try is to mix about 2 parts of your mix with perlite or what we say pumice with 1 part of orchid chips. If you don’t have the orchid chips, try fetching fir bark per pot with a ratio of 2:1.

EpiphyllumOxypetalum Care

As said, they can be grown both indoors and outdoors. Growing indoors and outdoors would have different light requirements. Let us just try and understand their requirements so that we can give them all they want –

Indoor light requirements

To grow the plants indoors, you need to make sure that you place them in such a position where they get sufficient bright light. Ensure that they don’t get burnt in direct sunlight. The best position would be near a south-facing window. Even if the plant is from the cactus family, they show more of their tropical nature. So, temperatures above 38 degrees Celsius might not be good enough for their growth. The optimum temperature of the oxypetalum flower is 10 degrees to 32 degrees Celsius. Give them about 6 hours of indirect sunlight.

Outdoor Sunlight Requirements

The best part about the oxypetalum is that they can grow both indoors and thrive the outdoor conditions just fine. It can get a bit tricky to manage them outdoor sometimes. We would advise you to plant them in a container just so that you can move them to suitable locations depending on the situation. They don’t like direct sunlight, so planting them on the ground would need a bit of partial shade. Ensure that they get the proper filtering from the sunlight. Something like bedsheets, umbrellas, or other big trees would work.

If you have a canopy tree in your garden, just plant them on the ground under the shade of the tree. The tree would protect the plant from the intense afternoon sun. This can help them stay safe from sun damage.

Frost Tolerance

Apart from the lighting requirements, you need to keep this factor in mind as well. Temperature below 35 degrees F can cause a lot of harm to the plant. If planted inside, keep them away from vents, or drafty windows. Bringing the plant inside when the temperature goes below 40 degrees F is recommended.

If you have planted them on the ground, you need to provide them with essential coverings during the cold spells. Adding frost clothes would be the smarter way. Just ensure that the cover somehow doesn’t touch the cactus, placing a support structure can help prevent this. Put the cover in the late afternoon and remove it the next morning.

Water Requirements

As said, don’t allow the plant to get completely dried. This can stop the roots from developing further. They need a little moisture in their soil to grow the best. That’s why you need to water them thoroughly. Also, ensure that the soil has a good drainage system just so that the water doesn’t sit on the soil for a long time. This can promote root rot.

Choose a pot with a sufficient amount of drainage holes in them. The excess water needs to be drained out. Cut back on your watering schedules, in the spring and the fall season, resume watering every 10 to 14 days. Water the plant once every 2 or 3 weeks in the winter season. Remember that the younger plant would need more watering than the mature plants.

If you live in a dry climate area, you need to water the plant more than the average requirement. Just prevent the soil from getting dried up to maintain their moisture requirement. Adding humidity in the air by using a saucer is also anotherway. If planted indoors, use a humidifier.

Queen of the night propagation

The best way to propagate this plant is by using the method of lead cutting. First, cut a few mature leaves from a mature plant and store them in a cool and dry place. Make sure that the cutting is about 4 to 6 inches long. the cutting would form calluses after a few days -  these calluses would protect the oxypetalumcuttings from rotting. Dip the leaves in a rooting hormone, you can avoid this step, rooting hormones just speeds up the process. Place the cuttings in well-draining potting soil, keeping the cut end in the soil. Keep them away from direct sunlight. Water every week whenever you feel the soil is getting dry. The cutting would form roots. Give your cuttings a slight tug and if the roots are formed, you would feel a slight resistance. This can take about 2 weeks or sometimes more. Place the plant in a new area that meets the above-mentioned requirements.

Epiphyllumoxypetalum fertilizer

The plant prefers being root-bounded. One can try amending the soil by using fertilizer. The best idea would be to use organic matter to replenish the soil. Apply a balanced 20-20-20 liquid houseplant fertilizer, you can get it from the nearby store. You can also get a fertilizer with less nitrogen. Apply it once a month from spring through fall.

Epiphyllumoxypetalum fruit

The fruit of the epiphyllumoxypetalum queen of the night is edible. The fruits look similar to that of the pitaya fruit which is from the closely related genus Hylocereus. The fruits are generally around 3 to 4 cm long.

Queen of the night pollination

The epiphyllum queen of the night flowers is generally pollinated by sphinx moths, bees, beetles, and often by bats. The blooms generally occur during the end of May or the end of June.

FAQs

How often does the Queen of the Night bloom?

The flower generally blooms during the summer. The flowers bloom during the night usually after 8 pm and would stay until 10 am the next morning.


How long does it take for Epiphyllum to bloom?

Anepiphyllum cutting can take about 3 years to bloom, if grown from seed it can take up to 5 years.


How do you get Queen of the Night to bloom?

With proper care as mentioned throughout the blog, one can get the gift of sweet fragrant flowers. Give them frequent watering, indirect bright light, and proper fertilizers.


Is Epiphyllumoxypetalum a succulent?

The Epiphyllum is a cactus from the genus of epiphytic plants in the cactoideae subfamily. They are native to Central America and Mexico.


 


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