Epiphyllum Oxypetalum (Queen of the Night)
Queen of the Night, also known as the Orchid cactus, are popular in the whole world for their ephemeral beauty. They are also known as Kadupul, Tanhua, epiphyllum oxypetalum, and more. Queen of the Night is a very easy to grow plant and they develop fast.
The flower only blooms for a single night and shuts itself off before dawn. So, catching sight of an epiphyllum oxypetalum flower is a rare pleasure not attained by all. The fragrance of the epiphyllum oxypetalum flower is sweet like gardenia flowers.
Characteristics of Epiphyllum Oxypetalum
Position: The epiphyllum oxypetalum plant is an indoor plant but it can also be grown outside. To be able to smell its modest fragrance you need to provide it with an environment in which it can thrive.
Flowering: For optimum flowering, the plant should be placed in a position where they are able to receive the rays of the morning sun and remain shaded in the afternoon.
Long shoots: When the Queen of the Night plant grows you are going to notice a number of long shoots coming out from your plant. These long stems are designed to latch onto the nearby trees so that the epiphyllum oxypetalum can grow in the wild. This helps them in getting a better light.
Size: These are of the perfect size for your windows, pots, and courtyards as they are of the size of 2m.
Origin: The natural habitat of the oxypetalum is the tropical rainforest of Mexico. It grows in the treetops and takes the nutrients from the environment. It derives its nourishment from dead insects, fallen leaves, and more.
Price: You can buy the epiphyllum oxypetalum plant online on amazon and other places at a very reasonable price ranging from ₹600-800.
How to Care for Epiphyllum Oxypetalum Plant?
Season: The plant starts flowering buds from late spring to early summer. You will notice new leaves and branches this time. They are stagnant in winters.
Lighting: Epiphyllum oxypetalum grows well in shade but they require sunlight when they are in the period of growth. It requires bright light so that the flowers can bloom properly. If any of your windows are in the South, it would be a perfect location to place the plant. But too much direct sunlight can burn out the leaves or the bud. So, if you are living in an area where the temperature is above 38 degrees celsius you might need to find a shady place in your garden.
Flowers: The beautiful white petals of the circular epiphyllum oxypetalum flower start opening up after sunset and completely bloom at night. The flowers bloom only once at night and the petals start closing by the time it is morning. After that, they die in a period of a few days.
Fertilizer: According to the sources the epiphyllum oxypetalum plant can be fertilized with a mixture of liquid fertilizer and banana peels.
Watering Requirements: As most succulent plants, oxypetalum epiphyllum does not require much water. Always check the soil before watering the plants. Watering these plants once in two weeks will be sufficient. In the hotter months, water them once a week so that they do not run dry. If that happens, then the plant might be damaged and the roots would not be able to develop. These are not like the desert cactus plants that like to remain dry. Also, if you live in a dry climate you surely need to water the epiphyllum oxypetalum more often. Mature plants often need less water than younger plants. You can also add humidity in the air by placing a humidifier in the room to improve the moisture level.
Sun damage: If you placed your plant in direct sunlight and the leaves have been destroyed, they cannot come back. This does not mean that the plant won't grow any longer. If you replant the dried-out leaves of the parent plant, it would result in the growth of new leaves.
Soil Requirements: Epiphyllum oxypetalum plant requires a little moisture in the soil. The simple reason is that in their natural habitats i.e. the rainforests the climate is humid and wetter. So, to grow an epiphyllum oxypetalum, it is recommended that the soil must be kept moist between waterings. A good draining pot will do the job for you. Do not use fine sand in the pot as it might not let the water drain from the pot.
Repotting: There is no requirement to repot this plant often. It is not required until it has been in the same place for a couple of years. The epiphyllum oxypetalum plant likes to grow in the same pot. This also encourages beautiful blooms. After you have repotted the plant make sure that you give the plant the required rest so that the disturbed roots can begin to repair.
Blooms: Even though it is a cactus, the flowers of this plant are aromatic and a treat to the eyes. You should consider yourself lucky if your epiphyllum oxypetalum flower blooms. It is also believed to be of medicinal value in some cultures and is also used to cure illnesses. The flower has a spider-like appearance and is very fragrant. The large flowers can grow up to 6 inches. These night blooms start opening up around 8 to 10 pm and open fully at around 12 to 3 am and then they shut themselves off immediately. It is a trick to catch them in full bloom.
You need to put in some extra effort for the Queen of the Night flower to bloom. You are also required to maintain a controlled environment and keep it at the apt temperature for its growth. It needs to go through a cooling process in the winters so that the flowers can bloom.
Queen of the Night Propagation
Epiphyllum oxypetalum plant has easy propagation which means it is easy to grow and does not require much effort. You can use a large or small cutting or leaves to grow it into a new plant. If you propagate the plant in water then the roots will be able to grow quickly. You can later move the plant to succulent soil. The cuttings of the plant can be directly planted in the soil. The best part is that the plant grown from the cuttings can produce flowers within a year, which is quick in comparison to it producing flowers within three years.
Follow these Simple Steps to Grow and Root a New Plant.
Step 1: Cut a few mature leaves of the cactus plant and store them in a cool and dry place. Do not plant the cuttings before they become dry into calluses.
Step 2: This step is completely optional. You can dip the plant in rooting hormone which could help your plant grow faster.
Step 3: Prepare a well-draining potting soil. Be sure that the pot is not huge for the cuttings.
Step 4: Now, you need to place the cuttings in the soil with their cut ends in it. Make sure to keep it away from direct sunlight.
Step 5: Water the epiphyllum oxypetalum plant once a week or whenever you feel that the soil is dry.
Step 6: Leave the plant as it is until it starts forming roots. This process would take at least 2 weeks or more.
Step 7: Position the new plant anywhere there is light but prevent it from direct sunlight or it will burn.
Queen of the Night Pollination
The flowers of one of the most famous species, epiphyllum oxypetalum only open at night so it is not possible for them to be pollinated during that time. They are unavailable for the daytime pollinators like bees and other insects. Since they are only open in the nighttime, only creatures like moths and bats are able to pollinate them.
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Is Epiphyllum Oxypetalum Poisonous?
There is no evidence scientific or otherwise to prove that these plants are poisonous or dangerous for health. For a fact, people in the rainforest regions use the epiphyllum oxypetalum plant for medicinal and healing purposes. They believe it to be God’s flower. They are considered a remedy for rashes. These plants are also used to treat diabetes, edema, and hemoptysis.
The epiphyllum oxypetalum ‘Queen of the Night’ is more challenging than the other cacti or succulent plants but this makes them more appealing. Just take care of a few needs and these plants will give you perfect and beautiful night blooms.
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