Today Lynn Crawford is sharing a very special plant with us.
Here are some photos of my night-blooming cereus (Epiphyllum oxypetalum, Zones 10–11 or as a houseplant). I have had the plant for numerous years, and it has never bloomed. It is a very unattractive, ungainly looking cactus. I put it outside this summer, back by the shed, only a few steps away from the compost pile. To my surprise about three weeks ago, I noticed that it had two buds coming out of a leaf (very strange). I watched it get larger and eventually brought it inside to watch the process. I have attached some pictures at several stages.
Last week it bloomed! People have been known to have parties to celebrate this “Princess of the Night” event. The night before I had an engagement of dinner and a movie, and I had to have a plant sitter who had my number on speed dial should it have decided to bloom that night.
Nevertheless, it waited until the next night. The process began about 8:00 and continued opening until 10:00–11:00. The fragrance was delightful, and the bloom was spectacular, approximately 8 inches across. The plant only blooms once a year for only one night, and the flower is wilted by the next day. It was certainly worth the wait.
Developing flower buds. Looking promising!
Close-up of the flower buds. They’re beautiful even at this stage.
The flower fully open, beginning to spill rich fragrance into the night.
Two flowers twisting together. This beautiful and unusual cactus is native to Mexico and parts of Central and South America. The huge flowers with their powerful fragrance lure in bats to pollinate the blooms.
A close-up of the spectacular bloom. Usually we think that a plant that blooms all summer long is the best, but there is a lot to be said for a plant that gives just a brief, but very special, display. The drama of anticipating the one special night that these bloom can give a special excitement to the garden that not much else can replicate.
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