Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Illuminating Epiphyllum oxypetalum

Last night happened to be one of those nights of garden excitement when Epiphyllum oxypetalum graces the greenhouse with fragrant spicy blossoms.

You may know it by different names: Night Blooming Cereus (it isn't a cereus), Dutchman's Pipe Cactus because of the pipe shape of the bud or Queen of the Night. If you live in south Florida, it may grow upward for several feet into a tree. Cold-tender, we grow it in pots. I set mine close to a carport post in summer for support so strong winds do not blow over the top-heavy pots. In the greenhouse  the long stems lean on a structure I fashioned and dubbed my Epi tree.

Last night's show featured only two blooms. Another bloom will open soon and numerous tiny buds are present that will open in October. The rest of the winter we will deal with this gangly plant by mostly ignoring it except for occasional watering.

Note the tiny bud at left.

I could smell the heavy, spicy fragrance before
I reached for the light switch as I stepped inside.

Pictures taken near midnight required the use of a flash for illumiation.
Geenhouse walls reflect the security light outside.

Join the fun of Illuminating the Garden here:
Illumination at Garden Walk, Garden Talk

Secrets of a Seedscatterer         


  1. I agree...magical! And quite illuminating...beautiful!

  2. You are the first one, that I saw, that approached illumination from darkness first. I did too because I feel like there is a lot to be found if you look when and where you might not at first. And like you showed, there just might be a surprise awaiting in the darkness - only waiting to be illuminated. A what a grand surprise, (but one you smelled first). Those two blooms are gorgeous and worth the wait of the straggly rest of the year. I always look at my orchids like that. Ugly ducklings that become swans. Your flash did a nice job, the first image is really pretty, and the forth (tiny bud) looks like it came from the pages of a magazine. Thank you for joining.

  3. What an interesting but beautiful bloom! I wish I could smell its fragrance. It sounds enticing.

  4. I have never saw one before. The blooms are so pretty on their own. I wish I could smell the fragrance.

  5. Wow that in mine and Autumbelle's plant of fancy! I wonder if it's also you who have posted it earlier? If so, i am glad they are staggered in blooming. In my case, since i am always out of timing when our neighbor's plant blooms, i already planted mine this year hoping in two years i have my own bloom. Regarding illumination, i never thought of darkness when i contemplated on mine, nice post!

  6. An extraordinary, pure white blossom, photographed at night, with a flash, in front of glass. I'd say you're a miracle worker!

  7. It's blooming again! I'm so jealous, but I am also enchanted.

  8. With my sleep habits,poor night bloomers would be lost on me!

    Wait, I could see it at 3 AM in the morning...

    I can imagine the smell.

  9. I would also be excited if I had a plant such as this one in my greenhouse, very beautiful.

  10. I'm taking some time to catch up with favorite blogs and just got to this; it's magical! -Jean


I look forward to comments and questions and lively discussion of gardening and related ideas.

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