Ask a Question forum: Night blooming cereus

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Name: Jen
Roanoke, Virginia (Zone 7a)
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jherriot
Aug 11, 2018 9:24 AM CST
I have an Epiphyllum type of night blooming cereus (I think). It was started from a random cutting that I sat in a pot with a hibiscus and totally forgot about. At the end of the outdoor season my cutting had turned into a full blown plant Smiling Now it's 3 years old and very happy and healthy.

The hibiscus in the pot gave up the ghost at the end of the 2017 growing season but I haven't pulled it out because I'm afraid of disturbing the roots of the cereus. Should I just leave the cereus be and allow the decomposition of the hibiscus to occur on its own? Also this is in potting soil, not a succulent mix. However the cereus is clearly thriving. It has bloomed a few times and is about to bloom again (5 blooms :D). Side note, the cereus is not centered in the pot but off to one side.

What should I do?
Name: Lin
Southeast Florida (Zone 10a)

Region: United States of America Deer Region: Florida Charter ATP Member Million Pollinator Garden Challenge I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database!
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plantladylin
Aug 11, 2018 9:37 AM CST
Hi jherriot, Welcome!

Can you upload a photo of your plant, including the pot that it's growing in? We may be able to identify your exact plant (Cereus or Epiphyllum).

I'm one of those who always say "If it ain't broke, don't try to fix it." If the plant has been healthy and happily growing since the hibiscus died a year ago, there's probably no reason to disturb it. You could probably just prune the hibiscus trunk to the level of the soil.
~ Playing in the dirt is my therapy ... and I'm in therapy a lot! ~


Name: Jen
Roanoke, Virginia (Zone 7a)
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jherriot
Aug 11, 2018 9:53 AM CST

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This is my Laralei Smiling
Name: Jen
Roanoke, Virginia (Zone 7a)
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jherriot
Aug 11, 2018 10:05 AM CST
I agree about if it ain't broke don't fix it but I should also note that when I touch the soil, the mass seems very dense, like it's a big root ball, if that makes sense. Confused
Name: Lin
Southeast Florida (Zone 10a)

Region: United States of America Deer Region: Florida Charter ATP Member Million Pollinator Garden Challenge I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database!
Garden Procrastinator Birds Butterflies Bee Lover Hummingbirder Container Gardener
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plantladylin
Aug 11, 2018 10:25 AM CST
Very nice! Are the flowers white? It reminds me of one I used to grow, Queen of the Night (Epiphyllum oxypetalum) which is a nocturnal bloomer with very fragrant white flowers.


I'm sure some of our more knowledgeable members will be along soon to offer advice and suggestions on whether you should disturb the Epiphyllum roots and remove the dead Hibiscus.
~ Playing in the dirt is my therapy ... and I'm in therapy a lot! ~


Name: Jen
Roanoke, Virginia (Zone 7a)
Image
jherriot
Aug 11, 2018 10:35 AM CST
The blooms are white and but are 100% spiky like the outer petals in that picture and don't smell very strong. I found a pic from last year...
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Name: Lin
Southeast Florida (Zone 10a)

Region: United States of America Deer Region: Florida Charter ATP Member Million Pollinator Garden Challenge I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database!
Garden Procrastinator Birds Butterflies Bee Lover Hummingbirder Container Gardener
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plantladylin
Aug 11, 2018 11:29 AM CST
Green Grin! If it isn't E. oxypetalum, it might be Hooker's Orchid Cactus (Epiphyllum hookeri)
~ Playing in the dirt is my therapy ... and I'm in therapy a lot! ~


Name: Jen
Roanoke, Virginia (Zone 7a)
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jherriot
Aug 11, 2018 11:35 AM CST
I just saw the pictures. That's what my girl must be! Thanks! Hurray!
North Central TX (Zone 8a)
Million Pollinator Garden Challenge
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tx_flower_child
Aug 11, 2018 12:18 PM CST
Yep, it's E. Hookerii. I have several pictures of mine in our Plants Database.

Yours looks extremely healthy and happy. Whatever you're doing — keep on doing it.

Yes, it makes sense about the rootball. At least it does because mine is like that. Is that a good thing? Don't know. I keep thinking maybe I should repot mine but never do. I've heard that epis don't like to be repotted very often. I'll leave that for others to answer. I do know that you shouldn't repot it until it's finished blooming for the season. But forget about the hibiscus. Consider it an interloper. Cut it back.


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BTW — I re-read some of what you posted. Did you say it wasn't fragrant? Have you ever stood at eye nose level when a bud pops open? That's when the fragrance can overwhelm you.
[Last edited by tx_flower_child - Aug 11, 2018 12:26 PM (+)]
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Name: Jen
Roanoke, Virginia (Zone 7a)
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jherriot
Aug 11, 2018 5:45 PM CST
Tx_Flower_Child... I've sat right beside it trying to video as it blooms and to me my blooms only have a mild fragrance. My corn/cane tree smells MUCH more fragrant. Strange. Shrug!
[Last edited by jherriot - Aug 11, 2018 5:46 PM (+)]
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Name: Lin
Southeast Florida (Zone 10a)

Region: United States of America Deer Region: Florida Charter ATP Member Million Pollinator Garden Challenge I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database!
Garden Procrastinator Birds Butterflies Bee Lover Hummingbirder Container Gardener
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plantladylin
Aug 11, 2018 5:52 PM CST
When I grew Epiphyllum hookeri, although my husband said he could detect a tiny bit of scent, I could never detect any fragrance at all.

Corn Plant (Dracaena fragrans) has very fragrant flowers.
~ Playing in the dirt is my therapy ... and I'm in therapy a lot! ~


North Central TX (Zone 8a)
Million Pollinator Garden Challenge
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tx_flower_child
Aug 11, 2018 6:31 PM CST
A number of years ago I was living in Austin and driving home from somewhere. I saw an elderly man having a plant sale (didn't appear too successful) so I stopped, figuring I'd find at least one thing to bring home. Nothing tempting. But then he handed me a little plant in a 4" pot. He said he thought I'd like it and it bloomed at night. So I bought it and it grew faster than any I've ever had since. (I used to swear that my ex must have been feeding it every day.) Eventually the 4" plant grew big enough to be in a hanging basket. Only problem was that it was too high for me to watch it pop open. So my ex put up a ladder right next to it so I could watch as a bloom slowly popped open. And not only was that in itself awesome, the fragrance was too. Sorry that I can't describe it but I would have loved to have bottled it.

Now that I'm at my desktop I can get a better look at your plant. It doesn't look like it needs a bigger pot. I'd just ditch the hibiscus. And it's not unusual for them to be off-centered. A lot of people will plant cuttings around the edges of the pot so they will eventually drape over it.

Don't worry about the soil. Everyone has a different recipe. Besides, your plant is happy. And has given you a lot of blooms.

As far as the name, there is so much confusion among lay people like me. The old man said it was a 'night blooming cereus'. I told others that was what it was. Later someone said it was 'Queen of the Night'. And I forget what else. Eventually I learned that it's an 'Epiphyllum hookeri.' However it's in our Plants Database as 'Epiphyllum hookeri subsp. hookeri'. I don't know taxonomy so I don't know the difference between the last two names. I just know that I'm bad, bad, bad. I gave a cutting to a friend who is in no way a gardener and I told her its name was 'Hooker'. She's been telling all her curious friends that it's a hooker. (oh slap me!)

Lin - that's a beautiful bloom you've got there. I have an oxy. but it hasn't bloomed for me yet.

Matt of Matt's Landscape has a lot of videos on growing and potting epis and what I probably inaccurately call their kissing cousins. Looks like his site is being worked on a little but you can still check it out here http://mattslandscape.com/abou...

EDITED to correct the link.
This is the link to where his videos are.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?...

So I see someone else has posted while I've been rambling on. Maybe they've totally contradicted me.:)
[Last edited by tx_flower_child - Aug 11, 2018 6:42 PM (+)]
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Name: Jen
Roanoke, Virginia (Zone 7a)
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jherriot
Aug 11, 2018 6:37 PM CST
TX_Flower_Child...when you say ditch the hibiscus, do you mean cut it off at the soil line or should I attempt to pull it up roots and all?
North Central TX (Zone 8a)
Million Pollinator Garden Challenge
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tx_flower_child
Aug 11, 2018 6:53 PM CST
Jen — I don't really know. I think I'd follow Lin's advice and just cut it down to the soil level. If it's dead, you won't hurt it. If it's not dead, that's a different story. You would want to gently try to remove it.

Another good source of info is from Chris at Pacific Epiphyllum. He's got a good video (trust me that there are a lot of bad ones) here:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?...

Lin — I had no idea that corn plants have fragrant blooms. Guess I've never had one long enough.
Name: Lin
Southeast Florida (Zone 10a)

Region: United States of America Deer Region: Florida Charter ATP Member Million Pollinator Garden Challenge I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database!
Garden Procrastinator Birds Butterflies Bee Lover Hummingbirder Container Gardener
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plantladylin
Aug 12, 2018 9:08 AM CST
@tx_flower_child I no longer grow Epiphyllum and sometimes miss those pretty blooms. I agree that it can be very confusing when so many totally different types of plants have the same exact common names! "Queen of The Night" seems to be a common name for many plants that are not related and require entirely different needs, one from the other! Epiphyllum (which is more of a jungle/rain-forest type as well as Cereus, Hylocereus and Selenicereus (which are more desert like) ... entirely different types of cactus, needing entirely different care. And doing a search of our database, I see that even Four o'Clocks (Mirabilis jalapa), Night Blooming Jasmine (Cestrum nocturnum) have that as a common name also!! Blinking

Our database has listings for both Hooker's Orchid Cactus (Epiphyllum hookeri) and the subspecies Epiphyllum hookeri subsp. hookeri

I used to have a couple of large "Corn Plants" (Dracaena fragrans) and the fragrance was really nice. When we bought our last home, we cut down, dug up and discarded a huge corn plant growing in our yard. I should have rooted some of it but I'm still trying to downsize ... a project that has been ongoing for the past 7 or 8 years. Rolling on the floor laughing I do admit though, I've done a good job and don't have nearly as many potted plants as I did in the the 80's and 90's. Green Grin!
~ Playing in the dirt is my therapy ... and I'm in therapy a lot! ~


North Central TX (Zone 8a)
Million Pollinator Garden Challenge
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tx_flower_child
Aug 12, 2018 12:50 PM CST
Lin — Four o'clocks are among the plants called 'Queen of the Night'? Don't people know why Four o'clocks are called Four o'clocks? Ok. Some of the plants might not be exact (like most of my watches) but they generally bloom at four o'clock.

I hear you about downsizing. Salvation Army and other such places love me and I bet the trash collectors hate me except that I'm giving them job security.
Name: Jen
Roanoke, Virginia (Zone 7a)
Image
jherriot
Sep 1, 2018 7:43 PM CST
My girl is blooming this week. And these blooms are more fragrant than previous blooms have been they also look healthier as she's blooming outside.



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