Is the Queen of the Night Cactus an Epiphyte?

Is the Queen of the Night Cactus an Epiphyte?

Epiphyllum is an epiphytic plant belonging to the cactus family although without leaves or thorns.
Its stems are wide and flat, up to 10 centimeters between their ends. 

SCIENTIFIC NAME: Epiphyllum oxypetalum
OTHER NAMES: Spanish: “Novia de la noche” or “Enamorada de la noche” “Lady of the night”
In El Salvador it is known as “Galán de Noche”.
English: Dutchman’s-Pipe Cactus

In addition to the peculiarity of being a cactus without thorns and with stems in the form of very particular leaves, with irregular edges, a very soft texture, and slightly adherent to the touch, what is predominant from the ornamental point of view is its flowers that emerge from the night, large and white, up to 25 cm in diameter, highly scented with a large number of petals, very complex and star-shaped. 

They have a short duration, one or two nights, and only produce fruit if the flower is fertilized by another plant.

Epiphytic or epiphytic plants are plants that grow on another plant that they use only as a support, they do not require soil or substrate and do not affect the plant on which they are installed since they do not feed on them or parasitize it. They are also called air plants because they do not grow on the ground like the rest.

Common names

This plant has obtained different names depending on the region it is in, here are its common names:

  • Afrikaans: Queen of the Night
  • Chinese: Shé Bian Zhu (Snake-Shaped Rope Column)
  • Checo: Queen of the Night
  • Danés: Queen of the Night
  • Holandés: Queen of the Night
  • English: Queen of the night, night-blooming cereus, large-blooming cactus, sweet-scented cactus, vanilla cactus, moonflower, large-flowered cereus, large-flowered torch thistle, large-flowered night cactus
  • Estonia: Ookuninganna
  • Finnish: Yonkuningatar
  • Inglés: queen of the night, princess of the night, a candle with large flowers, virgin with large flowers, a creeping candle with large flowers, the flower of love
  • Inglés: Queen of the Night
  • Italian: cacti Grandiflora, queen of the night
  • Japanese: Gekka Bijin (Beautiful woman under the moon)
  • Polish: Queen of One Night
  • Portuguese: flower-de-dance, cardeiro trepador
  • Romanian: Cactus from the Netherlands Antilles
  • Russkij: Queen of the Night
  • Serbian: Upload nocji
  • Cingalese: Kadupul
  • English: Queen of Flowers, Giant Queen, Cardón, Giant, Organillo, Queen of the night.

Who is the Lady of the Night?

This is how things are in nature. From a plant that we did not expect even a sigh we received the most exquisite fragrance and flowers, although they only lasted open one night.

 The lady of the night or queen of the night, as it is commonly called, is a type of cactus that grows naturally in the tropics. Many place their origins between Mexico and Brazil.

Its botanical name is Epiphyllum Oxypetalum. It is also known as the Dutch bagpipe due to the shape its cocoons take when they swell just before opening. 

In their natural habitat, these plants live hanging from trees as epiphytic plants usually do, just like orchids. 

Its flower -which measures approximately 25 cm. in diameter- lasts only one night, and that is why this is one of the species known as “Queen of the night”.

Climate and Care

It is a tropical species, so it likes humid climates. Although it can be grown indoors, the humidity factor must also be taken into consideration.

It prefers indirect light or filtered sunlight. Direct sunlight can cause leaves to burn. It is best to keep the leaves in a basket. It should be somewhere that crawling pests such as snails and limpets cannot reach it.

It likes mild climates but will flower in colder areas. Let’s say it blooms between November and February in tropical climates.

You should keep it indoors if you live in an area that experiences a lot of cold in the winter and fall.

In order for it to generate good blooms, oxypetalum epiphyllum, it is convenient that it receives cold temperatures during the winter, although frosts can dry up its shoots and kill it, that is, they require cold temperatures without excess and must be protected in winter if they are in the ground.

Land, Irrigation, and Fertilizers

The soil must be able to drain well. It should also be well fertilized with organic material. Mature compost is extremely beneficial.

When you are ready to plant, make a basket with metal grids. Cover it with coconut wadding or other organic material. Pour gravel into the bottom for drainage. Fill the bottom with the soil (or special substrate) for succulents or cacti. It is important that the substrate/medium is a mixture of soil, mature organic matter, sand, and other materials.

More than irrigation, the lady of the night likes humidity. She makes sure to water it every week, but also avoids strong winds, air conditioners, and other places that can dry out heat. Rainwater can be used to spray the plant from time to time.

How is it spread?

Propagating this plant is super easy. Cut a very healthy leaf and plant it in a pot with cactus soil. Make sure the soil does not create puddles because these new growths can rot. To make it develop roots faster, you can add any commercial product that promotes the development of new roots to the cut.

For the rest, this plant is not very demanding. What’s more, just like an orchid, the lady of the night knows how to take advantage of space limitations and lazy gardeners. I assure you that you will not have to give it much attention. Except on those nights of the year when she decides to explode in flowers. From there it will stop being a mere cactus to become the queen of the night. 

Epiphyllum oxypetalum Fruits

Like many of botanical Epiphyllum, Epiphyllum oxypetalum is self-sterile, that is to say that the formation of the fruit and grains can only be obtained by fertilization of flowers from two different clones. 

Well, you have to have two different clones of the same plant to get fruit. As for cutting (vegetative reproduction), it produces plants that are one and the same clone and therefore not suitable for fertilization since it is a self-sterile plant.


What Kind of Plant Is the Queen of the Night?

The epiphyllum oxypetalum, which is also called the “Queen of the Night” cactus, is a perennial that can grow to be up to 10 feet tall. It grows in hardiness zones 10 and 11, and it is a succulent plant that uses other plants for support.

The Queen of the Night comes from the Epiphyllum genus, which includes about one hundred species of cacti native to Mexico. The plant’s scientific name is Epiphyllum oxypetalum, or “sharp-leaved” oxypetalum. Oxypetalum comes from two Greek words that mean “sharp leaves.” This particular species got its common name because its large white, fragrant flowers open at night, sometimes staying open until dawn. The bloom usually lasts only one night, making it incredibly prized by collectors.

The Queen of the Night has fleshy, succulent stems with flattened oval-shaped leaves that are green and yellowish-green in color. The leaves are elliptical and range from four to eight inches long on mature plants.

Are Epiphyllum Epiphytes?

Epiphyllum is a genus of over a dozen cactus plants, many of which are epiphytic, meaning they use other plants (like trees) as hosts.

It’s easy to see why these plants have such a wide range of common names—the huge flowers are stunning to behold. The flowers tend to be on the smaller side (about five inches in diameter), but they come in an incredible number of colors: red, orange, yellow, green, pink, purple, and many shades in between. They’re often fragrant and bloom at night when most other plants are sleeping. This makes the epiphyllum an excellent night-blooming plant for your porch or patio if you live in a warm climate.

Is Queen of the Night an Indoor Plant?

When deciding if a Queen of the Night Cactus is an indoor or outdoor plant, one must first understand what the plant needs to thrive in its environment. The Queen of the Night plant grows in partial shade with indirect light, and thrives in well-draining soil. This type of cactus is also known as Santa Maria Cactus.

If you are hoping to grow a healthy and happy Queen of the Night Cactus indoors, there are a few things you need to know. First and foremost, you will want to ensure that your plant is getting the proper amount of light required for it to thrive. Along with that, you will want to make sure that your plant is not overwatered. If it is overwatered, you may see your leaves begin to fall off, and your plant will not be able to grow properly. It is vital that you also use potting soil specifically designed for cacti and succulents. If you do not use proper soil, your plant’s roots will rot and this can cause them to die as well.

The Queen of the Night Plant can be grown both indoors and outdoors in the correct climate zones. If growing this plant outside, it needs full sunlight but needs to be protected from frost.

How Many Times Does Queen of the Night Bloom?

The Queen of the Night blooms only one night a year, an event that captivates the senses and creates a festive atmosphere.

The flowers are large and fragrant, shining white like a full moon and inspiring awe in those who witness the spectacle. But this is no ordinary spectacle; it is a performance, and one with a strict schedule.

This is not to say that the Queen of the Night must be viewed at dusk, but rather that it must be viewed at dusk or after.

How Long Does the Queen of the Night Flower Last?

The Queen of the Night is a fragile flower that opens in only one night.
Queen of the Night has an unusual type of pollination that makes it only open at night


Anwar Hossain

My name is Anwar Hossain. I am a cactus lover, researcher, and cactus blogger.

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