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Night-blooming Cereus

The night-blooming cereus makes an interesting flowering houseplant.

We asked garden bloggers for their favorite "high-maintenance" plant—that plant they'll bend over backward to keep healthy. Here's what Carol Michel of May Dreams Gardens, had to say:

My night blooming cereus, Epiphyllum oxypetalum, owns a corner of my sunroom, where it lives year-round. Because it consists mostly of long strappy stems and flat narrow leaves, few would consider it an attractive houseplant.

night blooming cereus

It is an epiphytic cactus, known by several other common names, including queen of the night. In USDA Zone 10 and higher, it can be grown outdoors. In other climates it should be grown indoors as a houseplant. Water it sparingly from fall until spring, then water more frequently and thoroughly from spring through summer. Like most houseplants, it can be taken outdoors when temperatures are reliably above 50˚F.

Sometime in early summer, if one is lucky, one or more flower buds may form and after several days will begin to slowly open up beginning at dusk, going from a bud to a fully open, heavily scented bloom in a few hours. By morning the flower is spent and the plant returns to its normal awkward-looking state. But even one flower, once a year, makes it worthwhile to own a night-blooming cereus, and let it take up an entire corner of one room.