The Queen of The Night Flower Plant (Epiphyllum oxypetalum), also popularly known as Dutchman’s pipe cactus, is a part of the cactus family. It originated from the tropics of Mexico. This unique plant belongs to the genus Epiphyllum and It’s well known for its white-colored flower and intoxicating fragrance capable of filling the entire area when it blooms.
Now, except you’re a night owl, there’s a high chance you’d be lucky enough to catch the plant bloom. It only blooms at night and wilts by dawn. Hence its name. And on blooming, the plant releases an amazing white flower with an equally fantastic scent. To make it even more exciting, you could invite a couple of friends over for a glass of wine to capture the blooming moment.
In this article, we’ll take a deep dive into all you need to know about the best way to grow a queen of the night flower plant in your home or garden, from their care and growing tips to how to manage pests and diseases. So if you struggle to get your Queen of the night flower plant to successfully blossom, this is the best guide for you.
Let’s jump in!
Propagation of The Queen of The Night Flower.
The propagation of a queen of the night plant is a simple technique as it doesn’t require much expertise. You can easily propagate your Queen of the night using its stem segments.
Start by selecting fresh stems with no visible signs of spots or damage from your garden. Then cut it into two while the plant is actively growing. Allow to callous over for a period of 3 to 5 days. Afterward, you get your pot and fill it up with dry soil. Keep in mind that your soil needs to be super-rich and compost-like, though, as cactus plants only thrive in those conditions.
Ideally, about 2 to 3 inches of the stem cutting should be buried facing upwards into the potting mix, well-watered, and kept away from direct sunlight.
Another approach you could adopt is to leave the cuttings in water until roots start to appear before transferring them into the potting mix.
Whichever option you choose, within a week or two, you’re sure to see the sprouting of the tiny buds from the leave margins.
How To Grow Queen of The Night Flower.
Understand that growing your Epiphyllum oxypetalum can be a pretty tricky path, especially when you need it to grow to the point of bloom. But when grown successfully, the aftermath can no doubt be utterly gratifying.
As much as it’s a relatively simple plant to cultivate, without certain conditions in place, then it might be a good waste of time and resources. In other words, your plant will only grow for years without producing blooms. To avoid that, check out the following best gardening practices below.
Pruning and Maintenance
Like any other plant, pruning is also needed to take good care of your Queen of the night flower flower. Pruning is best done during its active growing season.
Being epiphytic plants makes them depend on trees for support as they can grow super long stems up to 20ft long, enough to reach as high as the tree tops. The main reason why you need to prune them regularly with properly sterilized secateurs to contain them.
Start by cutting off stems at the base to avoid regrowth or cutting from the damaged part. However, be careful not to cut off any stem with Flower bud.
Don’t worry about the open cuts after pruning; they will heal and sprout back up in no time. But during its healing period, try as much as possible to avoid water being splashed on them while watering as this may result in stunted growth.
You can as well grow outdoors in a large hanging basket and let it hang casually over the head. Or instead, support them with stakes. Either way, they won’t be able to take up so much space.
Cultivars To Select
If you’re planting the Queen of the night, the best varieties to plant include Red orchid Cactus (Epiphyllum ‘Fifty Grand’), Pink Orchid Cactus (Epiphyllum ‘Thousand Pinks’), Hookers Orchid Cactus (Epiphyllum hookeri), Deer Horn Cactus (Peniocereus greggi) and Vanilla Cactus (Selenicereus grandiflorus).
Light and Soil
Like most species, the Epiphyllum oxypetalum equally doesn’t need direct sunlight. However, putting them in direct sunlight will not only stop them from flowering but could also get sunburnt most, especially during the intensely hot summer months. So, keep your Queen of the night in filtered light or partially shaded location. But you might want to be sure they aren’t lacking light either. Otherwise, they would develop diseases or, even worse, die off.
It’s also worthy to note how well these plants adapt outdoors. The plant shoots naturally pop up, climbing the trees right up. Aside from the support, it gives to the plant, these trees act as shade and protect the plant from indirect light to allow it to thrive.
In addition, the Queen of the night does well in well-drained, airy soil. Be sure to load the soil with a mixture of chicken manure. Another way is to make a sandy perlite mix containing one-third potting mix, one-third perlite, and one-third sand. Or even mix 50% inorganic materials and perlite. Whichever option would be just as fine.
Although, take into account the level of the warmness of your climate. For the most part, the level of organic material you use in your mix depends on your climate. Keep in mind that plants dry out faster in summer areas. Therefore, the warmer your climate is, the more organic material you should include in your mix.
These plants also prefer to be root bound. In other words, a smaller pot should be your go-to to grow your orchid plant successfully.
Water them in the morning or early afternoon. And If you keep your plant indoors, water more frequently during late February.
However, keep in mind to ensure the soil dries out completely in between watering. So you don’t hinder the chance of your plant blooming due to excess water.
For this reason, your soil must not be soggy. Otherwise, your plant won’t do too well.
Ideally, a smart idea will be to use a pot with drainage holes at the bottom to grow a much healthier plant.
In a bid to successfully grow your plant to blossom, they need nutrients. Therefore, you must nourish the soil with appropriate fertilizer to provide your plant with these required nutrients. Apply the fertilizers to your soil from early spring every two weeks till autumn.
You can use a well-balanced liquid fertilizer. There are a lot of options to choose from. However, when purchasing one, look out for the nitrogen level.
A lot of nitrogen could harm your plant. More reason to check that the nitrogen concentration in the fertilizer is 10% or even lesser so that they grow well.
Also, dried banana peels are pretty good fertilizers as well. However, it comprises calcium, phosphorus, and potassium with little to no nitrogen. So to make up for the deficient nitrogen, add a little bit of nitrogen-containing fertilizer to the soil.
Plus, the best news is that dried banana peels break down faster than most organic fertilizers, making it your go-to option.
Also, cactus fertilizer is another great feed alternative that your Queen of the night plant would love.
Although, keep in mind to limit your usage of these fertilizers as they can have their downsides, from affecting their growth to eventually killing the plant.
Temperature and Humidity
To grow your Queen of the night to the flowering stage, it’s best to keep them at an optimum temperature of 65 to 90°F. If you’re keeping yours indoors, keep it in a location with excellent indirect sunlight. It also requires at least 50% humidity. Regardless, ensure that you don’t expose your plant to a high or low temperature or humidity, as this could kill the plant.
Common Pests and Plants Diseases
Like many other plants, the Epiphyllum oxypetalum is prone to infestations from various pests and diseases. As a result, you’d regularly find pests such as mealy bugs, slugs, gnats, and mites eating away your Queen of the night to their heart’s extent.
Also, it’s worthy to note how prevalent fungal leaf spot or black rot diseases are among the Queen of the night plants. They’re often indicated with the presence of black or brown spots on the leaves with fuzzy, mold-like patches.
Common Problems with Queen of The Night Plant
No doubt, there are some common problems peculiar to the Queen of the night. Most of which could be no cause for alarm as they can be easily taken care of. On the other hand, some stay permanent. Common problems you’d see with your Queen of the night are:
● Limpness: Fret not when your plant looks rather limp. It’s majorly just an indication that your plant is lacking water. In this case, you should gradually introduce water to the plant’s root to bring it back to its usual condition.
● Presence of Leggy Stems: On some occasions, you might take note of your cacti plant taking on a leggy or weak appearance. This happens when your plant isn’t exposed to a considerable amount of light. Thus, taking it to a brighter position should do the trick –leaving your plant healthier.
● Spotting: Ever inspect your cacti and see an abnormal black or brown spot on the leaves or stems of your plant? This is another common problem with the Queen of the night flower plant. Similarly, there is no definitive cause for their appearance, but studies show that it could result from fungi infestation from excess moisture.
● Red Tint on the Leaves: Too much exposure of your orchid cactus to sunlight also redden its leaves. Which is only normal when you leave them out in direct sunlight. So it’s best to moderate their exposure to light by ensuring it’s filtered.
Managing Pests and Diseases
To get rid of these unwanted pests and stop them from harming and feeding off your plant juice, you can handpick them or use pesticides to keep them at bay.
Another option is the use of a DIY neem oil solution. You can easily make this at home. You dilute neem oil and liquid castile soap with water and spray once or twice a week on your Queen of the night flower plant till those tiny bugs are gone.
As I said earlier, root rot disease primarily arises from excess water, which causes fungus to build up. For this reason, the spots appear prominent on the foliage. Use a fungicide spray to tune it down, and make sure to water the soil only when you’re sure the top appears dry. Also, use pots with drainage holes on the underside as well.
On the other hand, if the spots are quite beyond control, chop them off and propagate a fresher leaf using the method described above, only a few feet away from the unhealthy one.
Either way, separating the infected plants from other healthier plants is ideal for preventing the spread of infection.
Best Uses of The Queen of The Night Flower Plant
The Queen of the night flower plant is a statement houseplant with many uses. Most of which are medicinal. The Asian cultures strongly believe that these orchid cacti lower the cholesterol level in the body and increase blood circulation.
Likewise, the stem also helps treat diabetes, pain, inflammation, and severe respiratory tract infections.
Some parts of India believe that capturing this plant’s blooming moment gives rise to good luck and prosperity.
You can even use the plant to kill bacteria as they have high antibacterial activity and are equally edible.
CONCLUSION: Queen of The Night Flower.
The Queen of The Night Flower Plant is undoubtedly an attractive plant you want to add to your home garden collection. But, of course, you only have to be patient enough to get them to bloom. But as long as you follow the tips above, then best believe that getting your Queen of the night to grow and bloom will be pretty attainable. And worth it!
With all you’ve learned, you can go on to grow yours today. The scent is enough to fill your garden area (or home) with a stellar sweet floral scent when it blooms. Although it’s quite unfortunate that the Queen of the night only flowers at night only put an end to the show in the morning, wilting and dying off.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
How often does the Queen of The Night Bloom?
Queen of the Night blooms only at night from 7 to 10 pm; the firework-like display comes to an end in the morning around 4 to 9 am. Depending on your climate, the plant could bloom once or twice a year. But only when your plant is over 2 to 3 years old. However, there’s no guarantee that these plants will bloom yearly.
Which Flower Is Queen of The Night?
The Queen of the night flowers is eye-catchy, with large white-colored petals and a super sweet, floral scent. The flower initially pops out as a bud. Then after a month, the flower develops into full soccer-size blossoms. You can easily predict the night they’ll bloom when the petal tips loosen up that morning. So be prepared to stay up straight for a few nights, so you don’t miss out on the show.
How Do You Take Care of A Queen of the Night Plant?
- Periodically inspect your cacti for dead or damaged leaves and cut them off.
- Ensure you keep your Queen of the night away from direct sunlight or dark locations at the minimum temperature of 60°F.
- Never allow your orchid cactus to sit in water. If you must, use drainage hole pots and water them at least every 10 to 14 days in winter and 7 to 10 days during summer.
- Keep your cacti in rich, airy soil and feed them with fertilizer once or twice a month.
- Repot them a month after blooming.
- Since they’re large and unwieldy plants, ensure you store them in terracotta pots to avoid tipping over.
What are the Benefits of Queen of The Night Flower?
This Epiphyllum oxypetalum creates a spectacular display of beauty when placed indoors or outdoors, coupled with the incredibly intoxicating aroma it leaves on blooming.
The plant has several medicinal properties, from relieving respiratory disorders such as asthma to strengthening the heart muscles and reducing pain and inflammation.