What is an epiphyte?

". . . a plant that grows upon another plant (such as a tree) non-parasitically or sometimes upon some other object (such as a building or a telegraph wire), derives its moisture and nutrients from the air and rain and sometimes from debris accumulating around it, and is found in the temperate zone (as many mosses, liverworts, lichens and algae) and in the tropics (as many ferns, cacti, orchids, and bromeliads) — called also air plants."[1]

From wiki

Monday, October 5, 2009

Night Bloomers, The sweet Queens of the Night.


You may have heard of the illusive Queen of the night cactus,

which may bloom only one night a year ,if your lucky that year,
and only for a few hours.
That would most commonly be Epiphyllum oxypetallum, Queen of the night,
Moonflower cactus, Christ in the manger, she has many names, and most people go
their entire lives without ever seeing one blooming, or having the pleasure
of breathing in that intoxicating ,sweet heavy nectar that fills the night air through
the neighborhood, drifting in the windows and teasing at your nose to go and take another
deep,long,breath of this magical scent.
Mine Bloomed twice for me this year, I missed the first one, but i caught the second!

Epiphyllum Oxypetalum

Another Epiphyllum species i keep is the epiphyllum Strictum, also
known as the queen of the night(in fact,any night blooming cactus ,you will find,
is quite ambiguously called "queen of the night".
She bloomed for the first time this year,and also gives off an amazing
scent , this one took 3 years from cuttings to bloom, well worth the wait.
You can sometimes find either of these at the garden center of any giver big box
stores, although most people overlook them in their non blooming, messy mass
of flat tentacle like stems.
Epiphyllum Strictum

Here is another species,photo from wiki commons. This one is very inportant
in creating hybrid epiphyllum because of its diurnal blooms(day blooming)
Epiphyllum Crenatum.

There are many many species of Epiphyllum,all native to south and central america,
where they cling to rocks and trees ,growing as epiphytes in the jungles.

There Are even more hybrid epiphyllum than you could want to remember!
they come in many colors and forms, and contain parentage of epiphyllum
crossed with other epiphyllums or another closely related epiphytic cacti,such as
disocactus, hylocereus, selenecereus,et.c. Thousands of named hybrids are registered
and many more unknowns , please watch the epiphyllum slideshow at the top of this post
but beware,you are about to start a serious plant addiction with epiphyllums,
there is something incredibly alluring about these over the top blossoms, and once you have one
you won't be able to stop, i have known people to order hundreds of cuttings at once from an epiphyllum supplier.

Here is a hybrid that bloomed from the cutting itself, though allowing it to
do this usually kills the cutting, as it did in this case.

Epiphyllum hybrid "miss america,red form"

And if you're not totally hooked on looking at epi photos ,
or worse on the way to eBay or the nursery to look for cuttings,
here are a few more up close pics of epiphyllum
hybrids, photos from wiki commons.

This beautiful yellow is named for the man who hybridized it,
"George French". George recently passed away and the epi-community
continues to mourn him, he brought us so much knowledge
and so many beautiful things, rest in peace George, and thank you!
wiki George French

This beauty is named for the fabled King Midas of Macedonia, Greek mythology.

King Midas
And another showing the multivariation in flower form
among epi hybrids, a sad looking pink,what a beauty.
Anton Gunther

We'll now you've seen what many believe to be
the worlds most beautiful flowers, flowers so fragrant,
so gorgeous, some just plain gaudy,even tacky, you want to tell them they look like
french prostitutes from moulin rouge, and they should take it down a notch, then you want to stick your nose in for another
deep breath of their sticky sweet aroma.

If you need any help getting your collection started, let me know!lol!


  1. I grow E. oxypetalum, not a collection, just pots of the thing. I gave a neighbor one to take home, urged him to tell his wife to look at it by 11 p.m. they put it on the porch and forgot. I've had as many as a dozen blooms at once, which I did not miss. Like you, I sometimes forget to check and they bloom alone.

  2. That would definitely be the advantage
    of the hybrids ,NellJean, they stay open for as long as 3 days,although the scent isn't as nice as with the night bloomers, you know the one i mean!

  3. You have posted pretty shots of Epiphyllum that made me bloom here for a very long time. keep it up the good work. Iflorist.co.uk

  4. Whoa. 'King Midas' is incredible.

    I mean, they're all incredible, but 'King Midas' is the one I'm drooling over.

  5. Come in to the Epiforums site and look through the galleries there, thousands of named hybrids in many colors, even a species that blooms blue!
    Remember, The first cutting is always free,hehehe.

  6. I found your blog through Blotanical. I have one Epiphyllum oxypetalum and love it. I am moving this coming summer and of course will take it with me. Your photos of the hybrids are incredible!

  7. Thanks for reading Janet! I love my oxy too,
    Many of the photos i use from wiki commons
    because i haven't had the luck of owning a blooming specimen, but i put as many of my own as i can!

  8. Magnifique !!!


  9. Incredible! thank you for also sharing your hoya. Mine is just starting to bloom!
    I' sorry to say, but I did go to ebay and buy a bunch of epi cuttings. I'm so envious of the gorgeous plants. I need help; I stuck the clippings in small pots over 8 weeks ago, and there they sit, looking like 8 sad soldiers. No roots, nothing. Any suggestions for me?