Queen of the Night Cactus – How to Grow Care Guide

I’m hoping you can help me identify this plant. It’s growing well, but only stems with shoots off of that – no new leaves yet. I was told it will bloom a very fragrant flower sometimes. This plant was started from a leaf on a larger more mature plant. I was planning on repotting it in the spring, but just not sure what to do with it. Should I trim it back? Thanks!

Hi Christy,

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Your plant is a Queen of the Night Cactus (Epiphyllum oxypetalum) It is also called a Night Blooming Cereus Cactus or Orchid Cactus Plant. Here are some care tips for growing a Queen of the night cactus.

Water: This is a Succulent PlantLearn the definition of a succulent plant and why they are called a "fat plant." so water well and then allow the top 25% of the soil to dry out before watering again.

Light: bright indirect lightVery few houseplants should be placed in direct sun. High light refers only to bright indirect light since direct sun often burns the leaves of indoor houseplants. An area that is too hot and dry encourages Spider Mites and causes blooms to quickly fade. A northern exposure really doesn't provide enough light for high light plants. These plants need to be placed directly in front of an east-facing window, within 1-3 feet of a west-facing window, and within 5 ft. of a south facing window. A high light area has over 300 ft. candles of light., even some morning sun

Winter Rest: A Queen of the Night Cactus needs to rest for 6-8 weeks during the winter for the flower buds to set in March. Keep the soil dry and do not feed the plant during this period. Place the plant in a cool (not below 40°F -4.5°C ) dark area during this time.

fertilizerPlants need fertilizer only when they are actively growing. Slow growing plants in low light require very little plant food. Too much fertilizer is worse than not enough. Most plants prefer a water soluble plant food at 1/2 the recommended strength. Plants that are in bloom or dormant should not be fertilized. Houseplant food contains nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P), and potassium (K). A fertilizer containing these elements in equal proportion is considered a balanced plant food. Nitrogen helps in photosynthesis and encourages the growth of leaves and stems. Potassium and phosphorus also help in photosynthesis and aid in root and flower development. Most fertilizers have trace elements of other minerals that are lacking in the soil but are necessary for good plant growth. Fertilizers have a high salt content. If a plant is not producing new leaves and doesn’t absorb the fertilizer, salts build up in the soil. These salts can burn the roots, discolor the leaves, and cause new growth to be small.  : Feed a  Queen of the Night Cactus monthly in the early spring through the fall. Use a  plant food high in potassium to encourage more flowers.

Pot Size: This plant likes to be root-bound in smaller pots. Re-pot in the spring when the plant is not blooming.

Flowering: A Queen of the Night Cactus produces large white flowers in spring or early summer, but only at night. Here is a picture of the flower.

White Night Blooming Cereus (Epiphyllum oxypetalum)

Regular pruning encourages the plant to become bushy and full. Spring is the best time to prune, right before it starts growing again. You can use the cuttings to start new plants. Around the middle of March, the thorny long leaves start producing beautiful flowers. Some leaves can reach 2ft. in length and be covered in flowers.

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