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If you are a gardener or plant enthusiast who wants to grow something exceptional that is more of an experience than a houseplant, you should consider increasing queen of the night plant.
Even though it is a plant that can only produce flowers once a year, it is still an easy-to-grow plant and only tricky to catch blooming. In other words, if you fail to check the plant during the spring season, it may not produce the lovely fragrant blooms that it has once every year.
However, to deliver continuously, you must provide it with the right growing conditions like full sun, well-draining soil, minimal watering, 50 °F to 90 °F temperatures, etc.
This article highlights some practical queen of the night flower care and growing strategies!
Facts About Queen of the Night Flower
|Common Names||Queen of the Night, Night Queen, Night Blooming Cereus, Dutchman’s Pipe Cactus|
|Scientific Name||Epiphyllum oxypetalum|
|Plant Type||Succulent, jungle cactus, and Epiphytic Plants|
|Mature Size||10 feet tall outdoors; 6 ft. tall indoors in containers|
|Sun Exposure||Bright, indirect light|
|Soil Type||Aerated soil that drains well|
|Soil pH||5.5 to 6.5 (slightly acidic)|
|Bloom Time||Late Spring into Summer, Night Blooming|
|Flower Color||White, Red, Pink, Purple|
|Hardiness Zones||10 to 11|
|Native Area||Mexico and South America|
|Toxicity||Non-toxic except in large quantities|
There’s no way you will stay up late at night without enjoying the unveiling of this stunning cactus with a majestic waterlily shape.
In other words, if you rise early and often early to bed, you cannot enjoy this plant as the Queen of the Night flower blooms between dusk and dawn; hence, a perfect prospect for party season.
Also known as Dutchman’s pipe cactus, the Queen of the night flower is a tropical plant native to the jungles of Central America, South America, and Southern Mexico. Outdoors can reach about 10 feet tall when fully established.
Even though this plant is technically a cactus specie, it will thrive in the same environment and growing conditions as a tropical plant.
Again, the plant is epiphytic. In other words, it is an air plant and can grow on other plants or objects for physical support. It doesn’t attach itself to the ground and produces beautiful white, yellow, pink, and cream flowers and petals.
Its white-colored blooms will make a perfect addition to a moonlight garden.
See Also: Easy Yucca Palm Care
What Is So Unique About Queen of the Night Flower?
The Queen of the night flower has many notable features, but its beautiful fragrance stands out amongst other plants. Most people will argue that many flowers are known for their scent, but this flower possesses a rare, unique scent.
What sets it apart from all others is that it is a cactus species.
Again, this plant is unique because of the rarity of how it produces its flowers. It flowers only at night like its name suggests, and has a sweet smell that shows its growth. Given that the plant is a succulent specie, it will need help from fellow plants to grow.
Queen of the Night Flower Care & Growing Guide
In its natural habitat, the Queen of the night is an epiphytic cactus that originates from tropical rainforests of Mexico, grows in the tree tops, and dwells on the surface of other plants.
It hitches a ride up out of the gloomy jungle under-story. This plant derives food from its environment rather than the host plant and feeds from fallen leaves, bird droppings, and dead insects.
Many cacti species are sun-loving plants, including the Queen of the night. However, the ideal light requirement for this unique plant is bright indirect light. In its natural habitat, certain bigger plants and trees block the scorching sunlight on this plant.
Indirect light comes when an object diffuses sunlight. Diffuse sunlight via tree leaves or a sheer shade over a window; hence, you must position your plant 3 feet away from a window with direct sunlight or diffuse the light.
However, please keep it close to the window, as light also plays a vital role in the Queen of the night’s blooming.
Before growing the Queen of the night flower in your garden bed or indoor space, ensure you prepare your soil to enable the plant to flourish as well as you would have ever desired.
Choose the ideal soil type, like pine bark, peat moss, and sandy soil, or prepare it yourself by mixing perlite & orchid bark with a sour mix. This blend works perfectly for your night queen.
Almost all plants require water to survive, including the Queen of the night flower. Therefore, you must not let the soil get too dry to avoid hindering its root growth. Again, ensure you provide it with well-drained soil to prevent root rot.
Depending on the area, water the plant every week in the summer, especially in severely dry and hot weather conditions.
It would help if you water every two to three weeks in the winter season, yet it depends on your region. Also, remember that in its tender age, the Queen of the night flower requires more water, but once it is established, reduce the watering routine to avoid killing the plant.
Almost every cactus specie will not survive freezing conditions, including Queen of the night flowers. Therefore, if you live in a cold gardening region, take the plants indoors in the winter season, but ensure you keep them away from any windows or doors.
However, in their outdoor conditions, the reverse should be the case. In other words, if you are growing them outdoors, you must build a simple structure and put some fabric on top of the plant.
In doing so, your plant will not be affected by the frost temperature of the winter season.
Tropical species like the Queen of the night flower do best in temperatures between 50°F and 90°F (10°C and 32°C). In other words, the least it can tolerate is 40°F (4.5°C).
It would be best to expose this plant to cooler temperatures in the winter season. But any temperature less than 35°F (1.7°C) will destroy its growth.
As a houseplant, the ideal temperature for the Queen of the night flower is an average room condition of around 65°F to 75°F (18°C to 24°C).
During the winter, bring them inside to a cooler place where the condition is around 60°F to 65°F (16°C to 18°C) during the day and 45°F to 55°F (7°C – 13°C) during the night for two months to help develop flower buds.
Humidity-wise, Queen of the night thrives in average household humidity. As long as the indoor relative humidity is around 40% to 50%, this Epiphyllum oxypetalum specie will do well.
But you can increase humidity by placing the plant on a pebble and water tray if the air is too dry. But, when growing in the ground, you’ll hardly encounter any humidity issues.
Regular fertilization throughout the year is essential to the growth of the Queen of the night flower. During spring or fall, it needs a balanced diluted fertilizer with an NPK ratio of 10-10-10.
In February, you can opt for a low-nitrogen fertilizer with an NPK ratio of 2-10-10 to enhance flowering. However, stop fertilizing during the summer, when it is blooming, and ensure its potting soil stays moist but not too wet.
Pruning & Maintenance Needs
If you want your Queen of the night flower to grow healthy, you must prune off its yellow or dying leaves and plant debris. When you are pruning, use clean tools or shears to reduce any chance of bacterial and fungal attacks.
Avoid cutting through yellowed tissue to avoid causing further damage, such as diseases or bacterial infections.
Remember to take clean incisions, as making too many mistakes and creating unnecessary wounds can shock your plant and result in weakened growth and deteriorating health.
Potting & Repotting
Queen of the night flowers needs a well-draining pot to prevent your cactus from getting waterlogged. The best medium is a clay pot since it can breathe and adequately drain out water, unlike a plastic pot.
The pot must be manageable as this plant is an epiphyte; therefore, a 6-inch pot should be ideal.
Avoid any repotting of Queen of the night during its flowering season. If you must repot your plant, it must be in the spring when the plant is going through a rapid growth stage.
Common Queen of the Night Varieties
Apart from Epiphyllum oxypetalum (Queen of the night flower), other species and varieties have similar looks and features.
However, even though they are of the same genus or family, there must be one or two things that make each of them stand out, but they all require a similar kind of care.
They include the following;
- Red Orchid Cactus – These cacti feature deep red blooms and are ideal in a hanging basket.
- Vanilla Cactus – It is a potted variety with lily pink blooms that produce flowers at night.
- Peruvian Apple Cactus – This variety is a giant cactus specie featuring pinkish-red flowers that develop into edible fruit.
- Hooker’s Orchid – It is a spindling cactus featuring blooms with razor-thin petals.
- Dragon Fruit Cactus – This cactus specie is a variety that grows large white blooms with a yellow center and produces neon pink edible fruits.
Note: Most of the flowers from the Cereus family are fragrant and produced at dusk.
Propagation of Queen of the Night Flower
It is easy to propagate the Queen of the night flower, and you can do so using two propagation methods: stem and leaf cuttings. Below are the most straightforward steps you need to make new plants from the parent queen of the night flower specie;
- Prune off a growing stem of a healthy plant and allow it to dry out for four or five days in a cool, dry place. Then, put the cut end of the stem inside a little pot of well-drained potting soil
- Or prune off leaves and compress them into small pots of moist potting soil. (This strategy needs more moisture than growing the Queen of the night flower from stem cutting)
- Whichever way you choose, it can take a long time to produce a new queen of the night flower plant with this method. However, these vegetative propagation strategies are a way to clone plants with stunning colors that you will hardly find in any nursery. (Growing them from seed takes longer.)
- Ensure your Queen of the night flower stays dry in cold weather and water it more frequently during the summer. Meanwhile, you can fertilize it only during the growing season until the plant starts producing flowers
A Queen of the Night flowering plant will only produce flowers during the late spring when it fully establishes. Its white star-shaped bloom will only unveil for a few hours during the night, even though it will take some weeks to develop.
Once the inflorescence starts wilting, it becomes edible. Ensure you take pictures of your specimen in bloom, as the show will last for six hours or less.
As long as the Queen of the night flower is concerned, it is not a poisonous plant. However, it does not mean you should allow your kids and pets to consume it because when it is eaten in large quantities, it can cause them to vomit and encounter issues like nausea and loss of appetite.
Common Queen of the Night Flower Diseases And Pests
The Queen of the night flower is one of the cactus species requiring less watering, as overwatering can cause root rot. However, it doesn’t mean you should starve it of water, as underwatering is an accessible invitation for several pests and disease attacks.
One of the most common diseases of the night queen is the fungal leaf spot, especially in the spring. When attacked, it will develop fuzzy, mold-like patches on its leaves, which are hardly treatable. However, if a few spots are present, you can control them with a fungicide spray.
But in a massive case of spots appearing all over its leaves, the only feasible solution would be to prune off a healthy portion of your cacti and begin a new plant by clipping at least a few feet from its parent plant.
Frequently Asked Questions
How many times does Queen of the Night bloom?
The Queen of the night flower blooms once every year and only overnight. It is especially thrilling, considering that it is a plant that consumes every reproductive energy within a short period.
Why is my Queen of the Night Flower dying?
Several reasons could cause lead to the eventual death of your Queen of the night flower, but the most obvious reason is that you are exposing it to prolonged, direct sun.
Does Queen of the Night Flower like to be rootbound?
Yes, the Queen of the night flowering plant like to be root bound, so there’s no need to repot it. But if you must report them, choose a container just one or two sizes bigger than the initial one.
Why does Queen of the Night only bloom once a year?
Queen of the night only blooms once a year because the flowers are not self-fertile; hence, they need cross-pollination. Generally, an individual flower can only produce blooms once or twice a season and only last one night.
Therefore, it needs to bloom at the same period as others in the area to be pollinated and produce viable seeds.
How long does a Night Queen specie last?
Once the night queen starts blooming, it will unveil after 8 or 9 at dusk, expand fully, and ultimately unveil around midnight. At sunrise over the horizon, the blooms will wilt and die. The blooming time frame during the year is between July and October.
The queen of the night flower is a trendy flower amongst plant enthusiasts and is a favorite of most gardeners thanks to its beautiful colors, including pink, white, purple, and red.
However, for optimal conditions, you must provide it with the right growing conditions, including moderate watering, ideal soil needs, good lighting conditions, etc.