Queen of the Night Cactus – Care Guide 101

The Queen of the night is a succulent perennial that can grow up to 10 feet tall. It is famous for its unique features of producing sweet-smelling flowers at night. Are you interested in increasing this nocturnal plant?

Here is a care guide to help you grow this succulent and enjoy the fragrance.

What is the queen of the night cactus?

Queen of the night is a tropical flowering cactus that originates from the forests of Mexico in southern North America. Also known as the night-blooming cereus, it is not related to the other species of the cereal, which are also night-blooming cereus.

The plant is called the Queen of the night because its flowers bloom at night, so if you want to see its white circular shaped and sweetly scented flowers, Queen of the Nights typically have large white-colored flowers that are usually 12 to 17 centimeters (5 to 7 inches) in diameter that bloom in summer.

Common Names of the Queen of Night Cactus

Other names also know the Queen of the night. The terms are used to describe its unique nature of blooming in the evening through the night, and by morning the flowers are spent. This is one of its main attractions; hence it’s classified as a nocturnal plant.

Some of the most common names used to refer to this sweet-scented plant are empress of the night.

  • Orchid cactus
  • Epiphyllum oxypetalum
  • Princes of the night flower
  • Epiphany flower

So don’t be surprised when you hear somebody using any of the names above to describe the plant. Now that you know the different names of the Queen of the night cactus, let’s dive into understanding how to care for it.

How to Care for the Queen of the Night Cactus

This plant can be grown in hanging brackets and don’t need a lot of attention for them to grow. This makes it suitable for a beginner to grow and tend to them. Also, the plant is easy to manage since they don’t like water and light.

In the morning sun, the Queen of the night increases the number of flowers, but too much light will cause yellowing of the stems. Remember to keep slightly dry in the cool weather and water more often during summer. So as a beginner, how do you take care of your plant?

Caring for the epiphany flower or the midnight lady is not as difficult as taking care of other flowers. So how do you ensure that your nocturnal flower grows well and blooms to its fullest in the proper seasons?

Let’s find out:

Cultivation

The Epiphyllum oxypetalum grows best if allowed to grow among other shrubs. However, if you do not have shrubs, you can grow them in pots and hang them around your house. You can also grow them close to other flowers and direct them to climb on them. Since they enjoy a little heat and some shade, propping them on other plants will help them grow well.

Watering

The Queen of the night cactus requires water for it to grow well. And the lady of the night is a succulent plant. So it does not need a lot of water to survive. However, be very careful not to underwater it. So how is the best way to water your plant?

Water the Queen of the night ones every week at first to ensure that you check the soil moisture levels before watering it again to avoid overwatering. Always let the topsoil dry an inch or two before adding more water. Avoid letting the plant stand in water because it will not grow well.

Watering frequency depends on the season of the year; hence you should water more during the dry seasons, like every week, and let it be or reduce the number of times you water your plant to two to three weeks apart in the wet season.

 Also, when they are young, they need more water than when they are older.  So water the plant more frequently in their more immature stage and reduce the watering frequency as they grow older.

Overwatering your plant will cause the leaves to turn brown and get fungal infections that can kill the flower if not treated. On the other hand, under watering will cause the plant to dry. Therefore allow the soil time to dry before watering again.

Light Requirements

The Queen of the night needs light for photosynthesis. Usually, the plant grows better in shadier parts of the jungle; therefore, you must ensure that it is not exposed to intense sunlight if you are planting it at home. Also, be most careful to protect them from the afternoon sun.

But for them to bloom, they will need some sunlight, or else the flowers will not bloom properly. Therefore, ensure that your plant is placed in a location where it will grow well with temperatures of 50 to 90 degrees Fahrenheit. Anything less or more than these temperatures will be detrimental to the plant.

On the other hand, if your Queen of the night plant is planted, extra outdoor care should be taken to ensure that it does not affect direct sunlight. If it is in a container, you will have to move t to a shade, but if planted on the ground, you will have to come up with ways to protect it from the sun.

You can use umbrellas or pieces of cloth material to filter direct sunlight from reaching your plant. Alternatively, plant your cactus under trees or shades in your garden. This way, your plant will get the exact light requirement to bloom well.

Frost Tolerance

As much as the Queen of the night does not need a lot of direct light, it also does not tolerate frost well. Temperatures below 35 degrees Fahrenheit can cause hart to it. If your plant is potted, they can always bring it in the house when the temperatures get so cold. Please keep it away from the window or vents. As for the cactus planted on the ground, ensure that you cover them during cold seasons. Just like you do when it’s scorching, cover them with a sheet of cloth when the temperatures drop to ensure that the cover does not touch the plant.

Humidity

For the Queen of the night to absorb nutrients well from the soil or enjoy air circulation, humidity must be at proper measurements. Too much moisture will cause a reduction in air circulation, and this can cause the rotting of the plant. Also, as the cactus transpires, the humidity around it infiltrates the leaves with water vapor.

Therefore if the humidity is too high, the leaves cannot make water evaporate or absorb nutrients from the soil. If this process continues for long, then the Queen of the night will start rotting. On the other hand, deficient humidity levels translate to a high rate of transpiration in the plant, thus reducing the need to add fertilizer to your plant.

Temperature

The Queen of the night reacts to temperature differently. It grows well in temperatures of 50 to 78 degrees Fahrenheit. That is why it can be grown in summer, though, in a sheltered place. However, it does not tolerate low temperatures well and also scorching temperatures.

Ensure that the temperature around it is down by five degrees compared to summertime, or move it to a room with temperatures of between 13 to 16 degrees centigrade. You should never keep your plant at temperatures that are more than what is needed because this will lead to death or yellowing of the plant.

Cover your plant to minimize the direct heat from the sun and move it to warmer locations in case of low temperatures. The high temperature will cause the plant to dry or be dehydrated.

Propagation

For you to grow a high-quality queen of the night plant, you have to propagate it well. And the best way is through leave cuttings. Below are steps on how to successfully reproduce the Epiphyllum oxypetalum:

Identify and cut mature leaves of the cactus 4-6 inches long and store them in a cool, dry place. Let them dry until they form calluses. This should take a few days. The calluses are responsible for protecting the leaves from rotting.

You can dip the leaves in rooting hormones though it’s optional. This dipping exercise helps speed up the rooting and propagation process. After dipping in the rooting hormone, it’s time to prepare the soil. Well-drained potting soil is what your plant needs to grow well. Put the soil in a container with drain holes. Ensure that the pot is not too big for the cuttings.

Now place the cuttings in the soil, with the cut end being the root. Keep the plant away from direct sunlight.  At this stage, you may water once a week or when the soil is dry.

Let the cuttings undisturbed for at least two weeks until they start to form roots. To know whether the cuttings are developing roots, give the cuttings a slight tug if it’s tough, then the roots are formed as intended. After the roots are well developed, place your cactus in a bright location but away from direct sunlight; direct sunlight will burn the plant.

Note that you are not required to change pots every time. Instead, give your plant a few years before repotting them. Leaving the plant in one pot for a long time encourages it to bloom.  And in case you repot, ensure that you leave the plant undisturbed so it can recover before you start watering it again.

Pruning

Pruning the Queen of the night flower encourages better growth. Remove all yellow and dying leaves and plant debris often. Use clean utensils to cut off unwanted leaves. The use of clean-cutting tools protects the plant from getting bacterial or fungal diseases.

While pruning does not cut through the yellow tissues, this may cause further damage to the plant or even diseases. Instead, make clean cuts to avoid sending the plant into shock because of damaged wounds, resulting in weak growth.

Care for the Flower (When Blooming)

It’s a difficult task to make the Queen of the night bloom. After you have done all the required steps to ensuring that it grows well, you will need to be patient as you wait for the sweet-scented flowers to bloom. For your plant to bloom:

Please keep it in a small pot to prevent it from expanding too much. Next is to apply fertilizers to help your plant bloom. The best time to add fertilizers is in January and October since that is when the plant is most likely to bloom. Use fertilizer with low nitrogen.

Is Queen Of The Night Plant Poisonous?

Is the Queen of the night poisonous? The Queen of the night plant produces sweet-smelling flowers, and you’ll be lucky if you will succeed in making your plant bloom. Therefore it cannot be classified as poisonous. In fact, in some cultures, it is used for medicinal purposes.

However, if consumed in large quantities, it can cause nausea and vomiting. In addition, it is incredibly poisonous to pets such as dogs and cats. If ingested, it causes nausea, vomiting, and dilated pupils. Be alert in case one of your pets shows the symptoms.

Conclusion

The Queen of the night cactus is not difficult to plant and care for. Just follow the correct procedures as stated, be patient, and wait to enjoy the sweet fragrance of its flowers. To fully enjoy the sweet smell that the flowers produce, you have to wait till night to pluck off the flowers since that is when the plant blooms.  

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