Night Bloomer

“Night Bloomer”, a copyrighted post, was written for my WordPress blog called Always Growing by Jan in Covington, Louisiana

I missed the first one.  I had been watching the buds develop on the night blooming cereus in the side garden for several days.  Sure enough, on Saturday night the first one bloomed, and I forgot to go outside that night and check.  But I did check on Sunday night and was rewarded with five blooms.  This was a perfect way to celebrate the Summer Solstice – tramping around late at night taking pictures of flowers.  I hope the neighbors didn’t see me.

I could have gotten more sleep last night because the photos I took at first light this morning turned out better than the night shots.  This plant is just about the most unattractive and gangly plant around, but the flowers it produces are about the loveliest.

Night Blooming Ceris Profile (redu)

Night Blooming Ceris Five (redu)

I don’t think I have ever had five blooms at one time before, and was excited to see so many.  When it is night time and you see these flowers standing out in the darkness, it is a spectacular sight.  As this plant gets bigger, I am hoping for even more blooms.

I remember my mother had a night blooming cereus, and we would often go outside on a warm summer night to see this mysterious flower.  So beautiful, yet no one around at night to appreciate its beauty.  It does deserve its common name of Queen of the Night.

This is supposed to be hardy only to zone 11, and while I do bring this particular one inside if a freeze is predicted, I do have several around the garden that make it through the winter in my zone 8b garden.  These are pieces that have broken off the main plant that I just stick in the ground here and there in protected areas.  These may be nipped back by the cold, but they put out new growth in the spring.  I have lost very few of these “inground” cereus.

The plant pictured above was a gift from a neighbor.  My mother gave me cuttings from hers which has a different shape flower.  That one isn’t blooming yet, so I have something to look forward to.  These night bloomers certainly show that a garden can be interesting even after the sun goes down.

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22 Comments

  1. Janet said,

    June 22, 2009 at 8:56 pm

    I love these plants…. well the flower. I have an epiphyllum oxypetalum – the bloom is just a little different but blooms at night. Mine is setting some buds now, last year it bloomed mid-July. I have a photo of mine in the sidebar on my page. I keep it wintered in the garage, then bring it outside once the temps warm up. Incredible!!!

    • Jan said,

      June 23, 2009 at 5:17 pm

      Janet, the one I have from my mother has a different bloom that is more elongated than round like this one. It also blooms a little earlier in the night and is not open in the morning like this one, so you definitely have to photograph it at night. That one doesn’t have any blooms yet. I looked at your photo, and my mother’s might be that one.

  2. June 22, 2009 at 9:49 pm

    Those are beautiful flowers. My night bloomer has to stay inside year around, so I’m excited to get ONE bloom on it each year. It also has a different flower shape than yours pictured here. But it is exciting to see it bloom, and inside, their fragrance is almost overpowering!

    • Jan said,

      June 23, 2009 at 5:22 pm

      Carol, yours may be like the one I have from my mother. I like both, but the one that has just bloomed has flowers that will last until about 9 AM, so if you don’t want to stay up late at night, you still get a chance to see the flower. The fragrance is wonderful, though it is not as concentrated when they are outside.

  3. Racquel said,

    June 23, 2009 at 3:06 am

    Gorgeous bloom!

    • Jan said,

      June 23, 2009 at 5:24 pm

      Thanks, Racquel, it is always exciting when this blooms. It was especially nice that it happened on the summer solstice.

  4. donna said,

    June 23, 2009 at 4:27 am

    Jan, those flowers are spectacular! What a wonderful gift from your neighbor.

    • Jan said,

      June 23, 2009 at 5:27 pm

      Donna, these flowers truly are dramatic. It is a shame that they only last one night. I was so glad to get this variety from my neighbor. Their plant was huge and would often have 15 to 20 blooms.

  5. Randy said,

    June 23, 2009 at 6:12 am

    We have a small one, Jan. I wonder how large it has to be to bloom?

    • Jan said,

      June 23, 2009 at 5:28 pm

      Randy, mine started giving one or two blooms when it wasn’t too very big. I hope you don’t have to wait too long for yours to bloom.

  6. June 23, 2009 at 9:45 am

    A friend of mine gave me one of these, but I really have not taken care of it…shame on me, I know. I just forgot about it. It is not dead. I need to nurse it back. I just have NO where to put it during the winter

    • Jan said,

      June 23, 2009 at 5:30 pm

      April, I find these don’t really need a whole lot of care, and this may be the earliest mine has bloomed. I am sure yours will come back in no time.

  7. Chandramouli said,

    June 23, 2009 at 10:55 am

    Whoa! That’s so gorgeous! Even the Jasmines bloom at night but this one – I’ve never seen a night bloomer so gorgeous before. I think my Jasmines would hide their blooms beneath their leaves if they see these lovely photos.

    • Jan said,

      June 23, 2009 at 5:32 pm

      Chandramouli, I have to admit these flowers are spectacular. I wish everyone could see them in person to see how delicate and lovely they really are. My pictures don’t do them justice.

  8. Phillip said,

    June 23, 2009 at 11:19 am

    Someone just gave me one of these. I can’t wait to see it bloom.

    • Jan said,

      June 23, 2009 at 5:34 pm

      Phillip, these are rather ugly plants, but the flowers certainly make up for the rangy growth of the plant. I know you will enjoy yours when it blooms.

  9. Sweet Bay said,

    June 24, 2009 at 7:55 am

    Those blooms truly are spectacular! You could frame both of those shots.

    • Jan said,

      June 24, 2009 at 9:07 am

      Thanks, SB. My photography skills are slowly improving. I was pleased with that first shot.

  10. June 26, 2009 at 10:31 pm

    I will only say that these flowers made me jaw dropped – so beautiful, OMG.

    • Jan said,

      June 27, 2009 at 11:31 am

      Thanks, Ewa. I thought these were pretty special, too.

  11. George said,

    May 2, 2010 at 6:05 pm

    I now Have Three Fruit on mine…I wonder If I could propergate

    • Jan said,

      May 3, 2010 at 4:34 am

      I don’t see why not. What is is going to hurt to try? You can also propagate by cutting off part of a stem and sticking it into the ground. It will root. I do this all the time if a piece breaks off accidentally.


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