Learn how to grow Epiphyllum Oxypetalum or Queen of the Night Cactus. It grows without any fuss, but you’ll need the provide the best care for it to bloom.
Scientific Name: Epiphyllum Oxypetalum
Common Names: Queen of the night cactus, Orchid cactus, Jungle cactus, Night-blooming cereus, Dutchman’s Pipe, Nishagandhi, Brahmkamal
Blooms of Epiphyllum Oxypetalum are revered in the flowering world and not without a reason as there aren’t many people who have witnessed it bloom. Wondering why? Well, ‘Queen of the night‘ cacti is a fascinating plant that blooms only in the night and that too rarely. The large, fragrant, and beautiful flowers are worth the wait and effort as when it blooms its the sight of a lifetime. Funnel-shaped flowers are white and bloom in late spring to early summer, followed by purplish-red oblong fruits. Go through this post to know everything about growth and care requirements for Epiphyllum oxypetalum. Doing everything right will ensure that your Epiphyllum Oxypetalum cactus blooms!
How to Grow Epiphyllum oxypetalum
Propagating Epiphyllum oxypetalum
Epiphyllum oxypetalum can easily be propagated from leaf-cutting and is the most common method of propagation. To propagate it from leaf-cutting, take a cutting that’s about 4-6 inches in length and place it for 2-3 weeks in a relatively dark area. This step is crucial as if the cut-out part doesn’t dry out and callous, there is always the chance of rotting. Plant the cutting in a pot about an inch deep and ensure that the leaf-cutting is well established and does not fall over. Water sparingly in the initial growth phase while keeping the soil on a drier side till the cutting develops root system and becomes well established.
TIP: Dip the cutting in the rooting hormone to speed up the rooting process and facilitate propagation.
Choosing a Container
Initially, when you propagate Epiphyllum oxypetalum, a pot that’s 4-6 inches in depth provides enough space. It loves to remain a little root bound, so don’t go for a pot that’s too big as it can affect blooming. Even when you repot go for a container that’s only one or two sizes large than the last one. Go for terra cotta or ceramic pots as they are heavy and won’t topple with the plant’s weight. Ensure that the pot has drainage holes at the bottom, so that excess water drains out!
Although some of you might think it’s a cactus, so it’ll be used to high-temperature ranges, but that’s not the case with Epiphyllum oxypetalum. Temperature ranging from 50 to 90 degrees F is ideal for the growth of Queen of the night. It won’t do well if the temperature rises above 100 degrees F. So you must think of it as more of a tropical plant!
Ideally, you should place the plant at a spot where it receives bright indirect light for best growth. Place the pot at a windowsill, patio, balcony, or any other spot where it receives filtered light. It can also grow in the outdoor space as long as you keep it protected from the direct afternoon sun.
Well draining loose soil that’s rich in organic matter and holds moisture to some extent is suitable for growing Epiphyllum oxypetalum. Either buy a good quality potting mix from the garden center or prepare the potting mix on your own. You can make the potting mix by mixing two-part peat moss and two-part ground fir bark with one part of coarse sand.
Treating it like a tropical plant goes for watering it as well, as it isn’t drought tolerant. Keep the soil consistently moist, and don’t allow the soil to dry out between watering cycles completely. Allow the soil to dry an inch below the surface before watering as too much watering is also problematic and can cause root rot. Watering once to twice a week is enough depending on the climatic conditions; it can go up or down.
NOTE: Here is a study that suggests that Epiphyllum oxypetalum possess healing properties!
Epiphyllum oxypetalum Care
Epiphyllum oxypetalum sends out long shoots, which help it move around in the natural growth habitat. You can prune back these shoots if they take up too much space. Don’t worry; it won’t affect the plant’s growth as new shoots will develop from the cut. Also, cut back the plant’s dead and decaying parts to redirect plants’ energy towards healthy growth and bloom.
Fertilizing with a nitrogen-rich fertilizer can affect the blooming adversely, so go for low nitrogen fertilizer. Choose a houseplant fertilizer that’s made for cactus as it’ll work well for the Queen of night cactus. Fertilize once every 2-3 weeks during the blooming phase to promote the blooms that are in the spring or summers. Do not fertilize in winters as it becomes somewhat dormant during that period and won’t need fertilizing.
Pests and Diseases
Apart from common garden pests there isn’t much to worry about! Root rot can occur due to overwatering when the plant stays in water for prolonged periods. Do not overwater!