How to Get A Night Blooming Cereus (Epiphyllum oxypetalum) To Flower

I bought a Night Blooming Cactus as a houseplant because I saw my friend’s plant flower. It was sensational even though the bloom quickly faded. Sadly, I have never been able to get mine to produce flowers. Any tips on what I can do?



Hi Charlotte,


Blooms generally occur during the summer, usually from about May or June through October. The plants must be old enough, about 2 years, before they can bloom. When they do flower, it will be at night since in nature that’s when the moths, bats and other night feeding insects pollinate them. You have to pay attention since they usually only bloom for one night and it happens quite late at night. By dawn, most of the flowers are in the process of dying. Pick an open flower and put it in a glass of water in the refrigerator; that way it will still be beautiful in the morning.

Fertilizer is not that important. Feed once a month during summer with your favorite plant food. More important is providing the right light. Try putting your Night Blooming Cactus outside for the summer, some place where it gets morning sun but shade the rest of the day. If the cactus gets too much sun, the leaves turn a yellow with a red or pink tint. If you put your plant in total shade without any morning sun, it won’t bloom as well. Leave your plant there there through the fall. Once the night temperatures start to drop, bring it back indoors.

Use a well-drained potting soil or a cactus/ succulent mix. Be careful not to over water; always wait until the soil becomes dry. A Night Blooming Cactus grows better when it’s root bound in small pots. This really is a plant that thrives on neglect. A little water, a little food, and some morning outdoor sun is all it needs to produce those magnificent flowers!