One Night Stand. ‘Queen of the Night’.

I have had a prickly Selinicereus grandiflorus for some years now. It grows long rats tails which snake everywhere and it gets very difficult to accommodate. It would look good climbing a tree or cascading over rocks but it has to live in my greenhouse annoying all the neighbouring plants. A bit of it has become attached to a nearby Epiphyllum and is now growing from it. I have been tempted to get rid of it because it takes up so much room and is not very attractive to look at. But a while ago I noticed a little furry wart growing on it. It got bigger each day and I realised that at last it was going to bloom. The prickly plant in the picture is the Selinocereus and the flat one behind it is an Epiphyllum.


I have several epiphyllums and they have large, showy flowers but I have never seen any flower as huge and gorgeous as as this before. ‘Queen of the Night’ is a good name for her. The flowers only bloom for one night and so each night I have been going into the greenhouse before I went to bed to make sure I didn’t miss it. This evening I knew it was the big night at last because the petals were showing at the top of the furry bud.

I brought it inside so I wouldn’t miss a moment. I even toyed with the idea of an impromptu party, my best frock and champagne. The bud opened so quickly that within two hours the huge flower was fully open. It is incredibly glamorous and exotic, rather like a giant sea urchin from the side. And the vanilla scent is richly tropical. The plant decks itself out in such gorgeous finery and perfume to attract moths to pollinate it.

Selinicereus grandiflorus ‘Queen of the Night’

Selinicereus grandiflorus ‘Queen of the Night’

It seems rude to go to bed and leave her alone in all her glory. So I have brought her upstairs and now I don’t want to turn the light out because I know that tomorrow she will have collapsed. All this glory for one night only and sadly there have been no moths to pollinate her. I will have to wait until next year for her next performance, and I really will have to arrange a party for her.

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43 Responses to One Night Stand. ‘Queen of the Night’.

  1. Truly a Queen! Just gorgeous!💕

  2. Kris P says:

    You DO have a wide and varied collection of plants! I have 3 Epiphyllums in my lath house, all in pots that are too small with insufficient head room. They need to be moved but I’ve no idea where. When my husband and I lived in a rental in Santa Monica, the landlord had a huge Cereus (at least 9 feet tall) which also bloomed infrequently and only for a single night but the neighbors always took a stroll to see it in its glory.

    • Chloris says:

      But how on earth did your landlord accommodate a 9 foot high prickly Cereus? Epiphyllums are a problem too, they get so leggy. I have to bring them in for winter and keep them on the spare rooms’ window sills. It’s fine as long as I don’t have any guests to stay. Nothing like a huge prickly cactus sprawling all over your room to make you feel unwelcome.

      • Kris P says:

        Ha! The Cereus was planted outside the communal laundry room in a backyard space between the 2 buildings she managed. Her parents had owned the property forever and I suspect the plant was small when it went in.

  3. Pauline says:

    Oh yes, definitely worth staying up for and certainly worth a party!

  4. How fabulous! Wow…

  5. These are stunning, C.

    It should be called the ugly duckling cactus

    • Chloris says:

      It is ugly until it flowers but then it is magnificent. This is one that you could try as you already grow Epiphyllums.

      • I’d love to but I am banned from buying any more cacti or succulents… maybe I could sneak one home when oH is not looking… like the NEW dress you’ve had for absolutely AGES 🙂

  6. pbmgarden says:

    Aren’t plants thrilling?

    • Chloris says:

      Indeed, and it is lovely to have fellow bloggers to share it with. I think the Pianist got a bit tired of my obsession with it, specially when I wanted to take it upstairs at bedtime and keep the light on so that I could keep admiring it and then blogging about it long after it was time to go to sleep. It’s a good thing it is only once a year.

  7. snowbird says:

    That’s what I call a blossom and a half! WOW!!! She’s certainly worth throwing a party for! I’d have taken her to bed

  8. Chloris says:

    Next year, she will get a party; champagne and party poppers.

  9. rusty duck says:

    Now that is rather special. A party seems quite appropriate.

  10. Liz, amazing job of capturing this elusive queen. These grow wild in my backyard and I rarely see the flowers – the lizards stepped on the last one I trained to my fence. Many people train groups of these to grow on their palms resulting in a spectacular late night show..sooner or later I may try this.

    • Chloris says:

      How marvellous to train them up a palm. Do try it. They need to climb, but as they have to live inside here I am at a loss as to how to let them do what they want to do.

      • I will look into this further, they tend to ramble on the ground here and have to be trained to go up. I am not sure if they are native. I see 20 vines trained up Sabal Palms here and there-but I am never there at 2 AM! The pictures are spectacular.

  11. tonytomeo says:

    One of mine just finished, but was a disappointment this time around. The flower was small, opened limply and without much fragrance, and then was already sagging by the second night! I don’t know what happened. Another specimen out there has five buds coming on, so I hope they do better. There is another small cutting of a red one out there that already has two big buds coming on too.

    • Chloris says:

      It sounds as if yours was Epiphyllum oxypetalum ‘Queen of the Night’ rather Selinicereus grandiflorus ‘Queen of the Night’. Epis come in a range of colours, I have red, yellow and pink. The flowers last a few days. They are gorgeously flamboyant. Selinicereus blooms last for one night only.

  12. Oh wow! I have only seen these flower in Mallorca at a place we rented. How marvellous!

    • Chloris says:

      They are easy with a greenhouse. They can’t take any frost. I bring them inside in winter along with epiphyllums but they do take up a lot of room and cause a lot of grumbling from the non-horticultural members of the family. Ok, I admit the ones on the landing window sill have a tendancy to grab you. And yes, they are prickly.

  13. Cathy says:

    A fleeting beauty – definitely worth a party next time. Does it only produce one flower per year?

    • Chloris says:

      This is the first time it has flowered but apparently they only bloom once a year. The plant isn’t enormous because I keep breaking its legs off, it is prickly and gets in the way. If I could find somewhere to let it grow bigger I suppose it would have more than one flower at a time.

  14. Such a poignant story!

  15. Great post Liz. It does look a phenomenal flower. So glad that you caught it. Looks like it would lend itself to time lapse photography. Webcam next time?

  16. Chloris says:

    Oh what a good idea, it opens incredibly quickly.

  17. bittster says:

    Cactus can be such fantastic bloomers. That flower is amazing!

  18. Cathy says:

    What an amazing bloom and an amazing experience to have, watching it unfurl – a web cam sounds like a good idea, particularly for when her timing is even more anti-social. It was good to read about her habits in hotter climes too

  19. Wonderful! She truly is a Queen, just beautiful. 🙂

  20. That could be quite the party! I like your headline, too.

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