Epiphyllum oxypetalum (DC.) Haw.
Dutchman's Pipe Cactus, Jungle Cactus, Lady of the Night, Night-blooming Cactus, Night-blooming Cereus, Orchid Cactus, Queen of the Night
Cereus latifrons, Cereus oxypetalus, Epiphyllum acuminatum, Epiphyllum grande, Epiphyllum latifrons, Epiphyllum purpusii, Phyllocactus acuminatus, Phyllocactus grandis, Phyllocactus latifrons, Phyllocactus latifrons, Phyllocactus oxypetalus, Phyllocactus purpusii
Epiphyllum oxypetalum is a profusely branched epiphytic cactus with a cylindrical, woody at the base, erect or semi-erect primary stem that bears leaf-like scalloped dark green branches. It is one of the most cultivated species in the genus. Branches are up to 16 inches (40 cm) long and 2.4 inches (6 cm) wide. The large white flowers are funnel-shaped, up to 12 inches (30 cm) long, and up to 5 inches (20 cm) in diameter. They are nocturnal and fragrant, appear in late spring or early summer, open in the late evening and close again at sunrise. Fruits are purplish-red, oblong, angled, up to 6.4 inches (16 cm) long, and 3.2 inches (8 cm) in diameter.
USDA hardiness zones 10a to 11b: from 30 °F (−1.1 °C) to 50 °F (+10 °C).
How to Grow and Care
Epiphyllums are hardy to about 50 °F (10 °C) but require at least 60 °F (15 °C) during the growing season, so they are best grown in a heated greenhouse or indoors. Place the pots in bright, filtered light with moderate to high humidity. To increase the humidity, position the pot on a tray filled with gravel and keep this topped up with water, but not enough so that the water reaches the surface. These cacti require sharply-drained growing media. Grow them in standard cactus soil with added grit or perlite. Alternatively, mix three parts loam-based compost with two parts grit or perlite and one part peat-free multipurpose compost.
Overlong stems can be cut off or shortened. New shoots will usually develop just behind the cut. However, be careful not to overwater after pruning, as the plant's water requirements will be reduced. Large Epiphyllums can become unstable in their pots. Either repot into a heavier pot, such as terracotta, or a wider container, such as a pan. Alternatively, try using canes and tying the stems up, but this can look unsightly.
Learn more at How to Grow and Care for Epiphyllum.
This species is native to southern Mexico and extensive areas of South America.
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