A Queen of the Night flowers

Selenicereus - Queen of the NIght cactus
Selenicereus – Queen of the NIght cactus

The bud has been forming for a few months, starting as a small brown furry nub. In the run up to flowering a tiny bead of nectar sat under the tip of the beaky bud. Yesterday at around 5:00pm the first strap of the outer bud loosened and by 10:22pm she was fully open.

Even when the bud was closed yesterday there was a subtle scent, almost primrosy, the fully open flower scent was not as expected but sweet and greeney with a touch of cocoa. Today all is over, a brief burst of glory overnight. Sadly whether pollinated by bats or moths its only companion last night was a stray Green Veined White butterfly.

I think I bought it as S grandiflorus and have had it probably for 10 years.  It’s awkward in growth, the thin cactus ‘branches’ it puts out sprawl and when they detect a wall (or surface) develop white ‘feelers’ to help it climb like ivy, after a while they dry off rather than continue to cling to the surface.  Originally this plant along with the other Queen of Night the Epiphyllum resided in a west facing bathroom. Neither were particularly happy.

Now the cactus stays in the largely unheated conservatory all year (it doesn’t drop below 5C in winter) but temperatures can go up to 40C plus in spring and summer. The other queen goes into the greenhouse with the tomatoes through the summer and then back to the conservatory for the winter.

Some say this cactus flowers at full moon, according to the Metoffice we are waxing gibbous, 4 days to go before the full moon.

I presume propagation is by cutting a bit of branch leaving it to callous for a couple of days like opuntia? before popping into compost and keeping moist but not soggy.

This picture gives an idea of scale.

Seleneicereus larger than hand-sized