The Selenicereus Grandiflorus is a night blooming cactus species with large white flowers that produce an intoxicating fragrance from the petals. The beautiful night flowering cactus is a beloved houseplant for many collectors due to its rare flowering habit.
As a cactus that blooms at night, the Selenicereus Grandiflorus often has a nocturnal audience eagerly awaiting its floral display.
What Is a Selenicereus Grandiflorus?
The Selenicereus Grandiflorus is a large-flowered cactus succulent that perfumes the air with its aromatic night flowers and, as a result, has become one of the many desirable indoor plants for growers. The magical night blooming cereus is one of the most highly-anticipated yearly events for many cactus collectors.
Selenicereus Grandiflorus Care
The Selenicereus Grandiflorus is a special succulent that is extremely popular with cactus collectors. Due to its rarity in flowering frequency, aside from the exquisite beauty of the fragrant flower, many growers treat the blooming as a special event. This makes caring for the undemanding succulent plant a prerequisite to enjoying its blossoms.
The Selenicereus Grandiflorus prefers the watering amount and schedule of typical succulent plants. The ideal watering method is the “soak and dry” method, which is to water around the soil of the plant.
Once excess water starts to drain, watering should be stopped and resumed only after several days when the soil is dry.
Soak and Dry Method
The Queen of the Night does not tolerate wet roots and overly wet soil. The “soak and dry” method ensures that excess moisture is drained quickly while providing the roots of the plant with moisture.
When grown indoors in colder regions, the watering should be reduced in the wintry seasons for the Selenicereus Grandiflorus.
The Selenicereus Grandiflorus thrives when the plant is grown in full sun. As it has adapted well to warm climates with extended periods of sunlight, the succulent plant may tolerate some shade but will not develop to its optimal growth.
When exposed to extra sunlight during the spring season, the additional exposure will stimulate the budding development of the plant’s flowers. The Queen of the Night grows best outdoors where sun exposure is optimal.
When grown in colder regions, it is recommended to keep the Selenicereus Grandiflorus potted and placed indoors during the winter seasons.
The Selenicereus Grandiflorus can grow as a lithophytic plant, as well as an epiphytic plant. The plant does exceptionally well when grown in light sandy soil, where any excess water can be quickly drained away from the roots.
When placed in containers, the Queen of the Night thrives in well-draining soil such as cactus soil mixes. For gardeners who prefer to make their own mixes, equal parts of garden soil, light garden sand, and pumice are sufficient to create a soil mix that can drain and provide ample aeration to the roots.
Gardeners normally repot the Queen of the Night every three to four years, or when the roots of the plant show through the container.
The Selenicereus Grandiflorus is a warmth-loving succulent plant that has grown accustomed to high temperatures in its local habitats. The plant can tolerate temperatures from 45 to 105 F, although the ideal temperature to grow this plant is somewhere in the range of 50 to 75 F.
Temperatures below 41 F can cause the plant to perish. When grown in colder regions, the potted plant is recommended to be taken indoors once temperatures start to go down.
The Selenicereus Grandiflorus can benefit from high humidity since it has aerial roots. However, a high humidity level is not a prerequisite to its overall development.
The Selenicereus Grandiflorus loves to be fertilized with cactus fertilizers during its active growing period. The succulent plant requires a lot of nutrients during this stage in order to grow and produce flowers and fruit. Mature plants will require more nutrients than juvenile ones.
– Rest Period
The Selenicereus Grandiflorus thrive well in its native habitats, where winters are not an issue. When grown in colder regions, the plant may undergo a relatively slight dormant period. During this stage, watering should be reduced, and fertilizing should be completely stopped.
The Selenicereus Grandiflorus can be propagated in several ways, just like many cacti.
The best propagation method is through offsets and cuttings. Planting the offset growths into new soil or containers has proven quite as successful as using calloused stem cuttings.
The second-best alternative to propagating Selenicereus Grandiflorus from scratch is using mature fruit seeds. This method may yield lower viability and yield count in contrast to other methods.
The Selenicereus Grandiflorus is relatively problem-free since its main issues tend to be lack of or excessive watering, which can harm the plant. Other issues, such as mealybugs, spider mites, and fungal infections, can be easily remedied.
A solution of soap and water has been found to be quite effective, as have been diluted neem solutions and fungicides.
Features of the Selenicereus Grandiflorus
– Name Origins
The Selenicereus Grandiflorus is so named due to its peculiar blooming characteristic, which is at night. Selenicereus is a combination of two words, with the word “Selene” referring to the Greek goddess of the moon and “cereus,” which is Latin for candle.
The epithet grandiflorus is Latin, meaning “large-flowered.” The species was first described by Carl von Linné (Linneaus) in 1753, although it was already in cultivation previously.
The Selenicereus Grandiflorus is known by several common names, most popularly as the Queen of the Night. Other notable common names include the Cactus Grandiflorus, the Large Blooming Cereus, the Large Flowering Cactus, the Large-Flowered Torch Thistle, the Night Blooming Cereus, the Sweet-Scented Cactus, and the Vanilla Cactus.
The Selenicereus Grandiflorus is a sprawling, clambering cactus with branching stems that can tangle. It is a prolific grower and can reach up to 30 feet tall and 12 inches wide. The whole plant is stiff and normally has fine thorny areolas all over the succulent.
Stems with mature areolas are smooth and lack fine spiky hairs, while juvenile ones have shorter and fewer spines.
The Selenicereus Grandiflorus has large leaf formations compared to all leaf cacti species. Each leaf formation can grow up to over 11 inches. The cactus stores its water in its leaf formations, making the whole plant highly efficient in dry conditions.
The leaf stems of the Queen of the Night are round with short spines and can grow up to a length of 16 feet or more. The ribbed stems are angled or flattened. Protected by fine, hairy spines, the succulent thrives even in the harshest conditions as long as the damage is not inflicted by animals.
The roots of the Selenicereus Grandiflorus are fine, long, and fibrous. The succulent nature of this plant makes the roots both lithophytic and epiphytic, although some species have been known to grow terrestrially.
The Queen of the Night can produce aerial roots that cling to trees and other objects for support. The size and weight of the entire plant may cause the plant to collapse if it remains unsupported.
The Selenicereus Grandiflorus produces sweet-scented flowers that are its main attraction. Normally, the succulent plant does not begin flowering until it has matured for four to five years. The plant produces one or two flowers in its initial blooming period but may increase its number of blooms as it continues to mature.
The flowers of the Queen of the Night are creamy-white with a bright yellowish-green center. The multi-petalled flower can grow up to 17 inches across, producing a sweet, heady, intoxicating scent. The flowering period normally spans from late spring to early summer.
The most interesting part of the Selenicereus Grandiflorus is that its flowers only bloom at night and last through the whole night. Once the morning sun starts its ascent, the flowers of the plant begin to wilt.
Another reason why the blooming of the Queen of the Night is so highly-anticipated is that the plant only flowers once a year.
Eventually, the Selenicereus Grandiflorus produces a medium-sized edible spiny red fruit. When this spiky red fruit matures, the seeds are eventually dispersed to create new plants.
The Selenicereus Grandiflorus is native throughout the Caribbean islands of the Greater Antilles, Cuba, the Cayman Islands, the Dominican Republic, and Jamaica. The plant can also grow naturally in Belize, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, and other South and Central America regions.
The Queen of the Night can be found clambering freely on trees and rocks with aerial roots clinging on to these for support.
The Selenicereus Grandiflorus is a magnificent cactus plant that, once a year, produces incredibly beautiful flowers that only last for the night. Let’s review what we’ve learned about this wonderful succulent plant:
- The Selenicereus Grandiflorus has typical cactus requirements, such as high temperatures, quick-draining soil, and low watering needs.
- The Selenicereus Grandiflorus is a large scrambling plant that produces sweet, fragrant flowers and spiky edible fruits.
- Given the right growing conditions, the Selenicereus Grandiflorus can be easily propagated and thrive quickly.
The Selenicereus Grandiflorus has a special place in the hearts of many gardeners. Renowned for its rare flowering, The Queen of the Night is indeed a royal plant among cactus collectors!
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